“Are you interested by this?” My neighbor and friend Philippe, hand widely opened, shows me a yellow canister tagged Gold 200. I grab it, a bit confused:
“I thought you only shoot digital.”
“I do. But I found this little baby in my attic yesterday and bet you should be interested!”
“In your attic…? But… when did you buy it?”
“In the late 90’s I think, may be 2000.”
“More than 20 years? I must try it!”
Next Sunday is carnival in Paris and the wheather forecast is pretty encouraging. Let’s give it a try. That day I grabbed my Yashica Electro 35 GSN, loaded it with the Gold 200 and rated it at 100 ISO to compensate the 20 years of the film.
Results proved I should have dialed 50 ISO as a few frames came out too dark. Later, I learn one should overexpose one stop per decade.
This Yashica is a wonderful point and shoot and is my go to camera. It has a razor blade lens with a wide aperture of f:1.7 made with six lenses of thorium salts (yes it’s a little bit radio-active).The meter is pin point accurate from 25 to 1000 ASA (yes it’s from the 80’s) and it is fully automatic with an aperture priority mode. That’s for the pro’s.
It’ a big camera, nearly a small SLR size and won’t fit in a pocket. It cannot be used in manual mode unless you dial the speed at a 1/30th of a second. That’s for the con’s.
This camera was one of the first to use a totaly electronic shutter command. It fires from 30 seconds to 1/500th of a second continuously with no step. So there is a funny logo on the body: an atom design surrounded by orbiting electrons.
Carnival in Paris is a small one. Nothing to compare with Rio or Venice! But this was a pleasant day with colorful people fancy being photographed.
So, I walked all afternoon long taking pictures of featured people.
I was a little bit anxious on what the results would be.
Back home, I developed in a C-41 Tetenal soup and began scanning the roll.
Curiously it came out with a very dark yellow mask which, I think, is the result of age of the roll. So I had to struggle a bit with the scanning process to get rid of this issue.
Despite the wrong ISO setting, the age of the film and the problems in scanning, half the 36 frames came out printable.
For me, who mainly shoots Kodak Portra, this was a pleasant surprise for this 20 years old film!