I waited for about a year for this hardy globetrotter to arrive at my office in Brussels. When I first received the tweet from Matt Jacques, I was thrilled (finally, my turn)! I wasn’t sure if the Yashica would be delivered before I left for Istanbul for work. Fortunately, it was.
I took a few test shots in Brussels before I hopped onto the plane with The Traveling Yashica. As some other contributors mentioned, the shutter button on the Yashica T5 is quite sensitive, and it took me a while to get used to it.
As such, my initial shots were unintended. I would be testing the camera to see how it feels in my hands, tried to do a half-press to lock in the exposure and instead took a photo! Here is one of the early test shots taken in Brussels:
I tell friends that Istanbul is a remarkable city and it can cause a sensory overload as there is so much going on all the time. Heady aromatic spices in the bazaar; the boats, big and small, passing along the Bosphorus; freshly grilled kebabs served with delicious herbs; windy cobblestone streets with hole-in-the-wall eateries; impressive, historic architecture; many people, cars and cats; seagulls drifting overhead as the calls to prayer resonate throughout the city.
I started with a Fuji Superia 200 as it was wonderfully sunny in the first days and I love the city’s dazzling colours. I like the overall results and the rich colours in the photos.
The auto-exposure of the camera seemed to work well. I am impressed by how some of the photos taken in low light turned out. I don’t know if the nice balance between the dark and bright areas should be credited to the camera or the Fuji Superia 200 film (or maybe both)? I didn’t try the built-in flash on the camera as I don’t like using a flash.
I took only two shots inside the immense Hagia Sophia as it was not very bright inside and I was shooting with an ISO 200 film. The picture below was focused on an area within the main dome that had some natural light falling onto it. I was surprised to see how well it turned out. The bright, clear tones nicely captured the magnificent interiors of this museum which was originally built as a Byzantine church before it was transformed into an imperial mosque by the Ottomans.
Here is another picture taken in low-light with the Yashica. This time, I was at the Eyüp Sultan Mosque which is regarded as one of the holiest sites in Turkey as it is built on the site of the tomb of a friend and standard bearer for the Prophet Muhammed.
For the second roll of film, I used an Ilford HP Plus 400, which I think may have expired some time back. The pictures turned out okay though I had several duds on this roll.
The first time I heard about the Yashica T4/5 was on Facebook, when a friend posted some old pictures taken on the train using the Super Scope function. I thought that was a clever and nifty feature, especially for people (including me) who enjoy street photography but are hesitant to hold up a camera in front of strangers.
I like that I can take photos from waist-level using the super scope. I like it even more that I can use it for overhead shots – since it works like a periscope – as I’m quite short! It was fun taking photos using the superscope though it often felt like I was spying on other people. Here is one picture made through the super scope while waiting to enter the Hagia Sophia.
I am not particular about the brand nor technology as long as I’m comfortable using the camera and it produces good results. I recently wrote on my blog about how I would take a photo or approach a subject depending on the camera in my hands:
If I’m using my phone, I take several shots of the same scene and am quick to edit the preferred pictures with VSCO Cam. When I’m using an analog rangefinder, I deliberate, take less photos and spend more time on each shot. If I’m using a Lomo, I feel like I should be more creative and take photos from angles that I might not normally do (and sometimes end up with odd images). When I used to shoot with a digital SLR, I would have an unreal sense of confidence and feel self-possessed by the hefty chunk of metal and glass in my hands. Taking pictures with the Fuji x100 has been a pleasure and I love its handsome body as much as the beautiful pictures that come out of it.
With the Yashica T5, I struggled to get used to the sensitive shutter button. I am fascinated by the super scope feature but sometimes I felt more conspicuous as I was doing something different with my camera from other tourists around me. The quality of the pictures is great. I like its compact size, light weight and ease of use. Overall, it was great to have the chance to use the camera, but I don’t think it is a camera for me.
I would still recommend signing up for The Traveling Yashica project that Hamish has started as I think this is a great and fun project. It’s been interesting to see what other people all over the world have created with the camera. A big THANK YOU to Hamish for putting the camera on the road and I look forward to seeing more of its adventures.
Here’s a parting shot taken at sunset on Galata Bridge (I used my sunglasses as a make-shift filter). Hope you enjoyed these pictures!