5 Frames with a freshly serviced Yashicamat and Fomapan – by Phil Harrison

A couple of years ago I treated myself to a very tidy Yashicamat that was made in May 1965. I wrote about the camera here. I discovered recently that the shutter speeds had become faulty, finally succumbing to age (57 years) and making the camera unusable. Fortunately Newton Ellis & Co in Liverpool will service TLR’s. They get a full strip down and repair. People might say and have “wouldn’t it be cheaper to just buy another camera”, well maybe, except my camera body and lens are excellent condition and another camera would likely have the same shutter problem. Having received my Yashicamat back from repair I needed no excuse to get some film through the camera.

I had a roll each of Fomapan 400 Action and Fomapan 200 Creative films. Prefering an ISO 400 film in the camera when hand holding, it helps with higher shutter speeds and smaller apertures, I also shot the Fomapan 200 at ISO 400 and had it push processed by +1 stop. Both films were processed in Ilfotec DD and scanned at the lab. Exposure was judged using my excellent analogue Sekonic Twinmate meter.

The Fomapan 400 was shot at Preston Docks. The Ribble Steam Railway shares part of the line still used for freight that diverges from the West Coast Main Line just before Preston Station, it runs for about two miles. The line goes over the Marina’s road and rail swing bridge.

Speed humps were being installed in the road outside our house. I thought it might be interesting to shoot the activity. The workmen were very interested in my camera and had a good chat about it, this lead to some fun photos of posing workmen. These photos were shot on Fomapan 200 pushed to 400.

When I look at all the photos off both Fomapan films, I think I prefer the Fomapan 200 Creative uprated to 400 ISO and push processed by +I stop, it seems to have the edge in both definition and finer grain. I hope you found this of some interest.


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8 thoughts on “5 Frames with a freshly serviced Yashicamat and Fomapan – by Phil Harrison”

  1. Nice pictures!
    I completely agree on the convenience of having a camera serviced.
    When I have fallen prey of the narrative: “It’s cheaper to buy another one”, I ended up with three copies of the same camera, and none of them working!

    It’s true that the pictures of men at work have a far better dynamics and grey toning than those shot at Preston Docks. I couldn’t say if it’s the light that makes them better however. My (limited) experience with Foma emulsions steers me away from sunny days because of its brutal contrast. Great for lead-laden Belgian Winter days however.

    Enjoy your Mat, it’s a great camera.

  2. About five years ago, I bought a late-copy Yashica D TLR from an obscure Ebay seller that did not specialize in cameras, but rather antiques. The camera was in excellent condition, worked flawlessly, and I paid a below-average price. The camera continued to work flawlessly, in all kinds of environments, right up to this past winter when the shutter began to stick. Since I loved the camera, I opted to have it fully refurbished by my local camera repair shop that has done other good work for me in the past. The shutter and focusing mechanisms were fully serviced and I had the shop install a new Rick Oleson bright screen I had bought while they were at it. I could have definitely gotten another TLR for the cost of having my Yashica D refurbished, but my camera is a known quantity and now it’s in tip-top working order, ready for another decade of photography. I’ll certainly take that over the big question mark a replacement camera would be.

  3. Michael Maliner

    The whole “cheaper to replace” is an unfortunate result of market forces run amuck. It’s one thing with mass produced electronic products in which the physical parts have no inherent value anyway. But it kills me to apply the same thinking to something crafted with the skilled precision and care of a mechanical camera.

    Great shots. Curious to know how bright the sun was. Those blacks are nice and deep yet you can still see details in the sky, particularly in the Fomapan 400 Action.

    1. The sun was bright and almost overhead at about 2pm for the railway shots, the workmen shots were taken on an overcast dull day. The Fomapan films together with Ilfotes DD is a combination that works well.

      1. Michael Maliner

        Thx Phil. I’m amazed at the details you captured in the sky of those railways shot given the brightness of the sun. Nice work! Looking forward to trying Fomapan films.

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