My wife bought me my Yashica-Mat for my birthday almost a year ago. It quickly became my favorite camera. It forced me to slow my photography down, I had to think about the shot before I did anything. The Yashica is not made for quick action shots, like I had been taking with my DSLR. It works best in slow thought-out shots, like portraits, landscapes, and streetscapes.
The Yashica is a twin lens reflex (TLR) medium format (120mm) film camera. The negatives, and photographs, are square, which gives the pictures a unique look. And because the negatives are so big, the finished product has a lot of detail.
The whole experience of taking a photograph is different with TLRs. First, the top opens up and the person taking the photo looks down into the camera.
The top view finder is the same size of the negative, which makes it easy to frame the photo. The only thing I had a hard time getting used to in this process was that the camera shows the image backwards. If you want to frame the potted plant more centered, you would have to move the camera in the opposite direction than the actual plant. The only tip I can give is to look through the camera, do not look at the item you are photographing.
The Yashica also comes with a magnifying glass to fine focus. I use this feature a lot because my first couple of roles I was focused on the wrong subject/object.
Focusing can be done with the focus knob on the side of the camera. But I have found that focusing with my feet and only rely on the focusing knob for fine focusing. The knob also has the film speed adjustment.
The other side has the film advancement lever and the shot count (the small circle on the top)
One of my favorite things about old cameras, and especially the Yashica-Mat is there are only two settings to worry about. The f-stop and the speed. simple. They are adjusted on the front knobs on the front of the camera, in between the lenses. And the settings can be seen on top of the top lens.
Now for some photographs I have taken with my Yashica-Mat.
This is my favorite photo from the Yashica-Mat thus far. She is my favorite person to photograph. I like her hands, the mug, and the texture of the picture.
Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Salt Lake City and County building.
Bicycles outside the Salt Lake City Library.
Street performer outside the Denver Preforming Arts Center.
I have a few roles of film I haven’t developed yet and I have a few roles I haven’t shot. I am excited to continue learning how to use the TLR and integrate it into more photo projects.