Traveling Yashica

My Time With The Travelling Yashica – Paul Rice – Chatham, Ontario Canada

January 21, 2017

Hi I’m Paul Rice, a photographer and camera collector from Ontario Canada. What a thrill to be a part of the Travelling Yashica project. When I first read about it on 35mmc I immediately signed up for it and had to wait about a year for it to work its way around the world to me. In that time I read every article posted by the previous participants and as well as articles and reviews on the Yashica T5.

Frankly I had prepared myself to be less than impressed with the little point & shoot and when it arrived in the mail from Bangalore India, it appeared to be everything that I had expected. It was plastic, rather cheap feeling, the viewfinder is small and since it is automatic I felt that the final outcome of the photos was mostly out of my control. Like all the previous users, I also found that the shutter was somewhat of a hair trigger and the notion of a half press position seemed mostly theoretical. Yes I’ve heard and read of the legendary glass installed in it and I’ve seen the ridiculous prices people pay on ebay for them but that didn’t leave me in awe – it left me wondering if those people were simply nuts! It’s a plastic point and shoot after all, how good could it be? No I wasn’t excited about the camera but I was excited about the project.

A Stand of Pines - TMax 400

A Stand of Pines – TMax 400

I’m not a street shooter (too chicken to approach strangers) and I’m not a landscape shooter (I like to sleep in the morning). My work is mainly wedding and engagement photography and portraiture in the photography business that my wife and I run. I set out to see if I could bend the camera to my use, or more correctly, bend my own thinking to get the camera to do what I wanted it to do.  I loaded a roll of TMax 400 into it as soon as it arrived and took the camera to work with me where I managed to get a few shots in the shop. That very weekend my wife and I were also booked to shoot a small outdoor wedding and I thought “What a great opportunity to test out the Yashica with some candid reportage style wedding shots.” I packed our gear and off we went to the wedding – and half way through it I realized the Yashica was sitting safely at home on the dining room table. Sooo, no wedding reportage photos!

Lathe Work - TMax 400

Lathe Work – TMax 400

Richard In The Shop - TMax 400. Possibly my favourite from the roll.

Richard In The Shop – TMax 400. Possibly my favourite from the roll.

Alan In The Shop, TMax 400

Alan In The Shop, TMax 400

The next day we were to leave on a two week, 3000 km trip, driving from our home in southwestern Ontario, Canada, west to Edmonton Alberta to visit our daughter. For those who aren’t familiar with the trip from Ontario to Alberta, the best way to drive is leave the car at home and fly. The second best way is to cut across the top of the United States, as it’s much faster than driving through Canada since we’d have to drive around the Great Lakes. This involves crossing or touching the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota before crossing the border back into Canada in Saskatchewan and finishing the trip on our side. The camera rode in the door map pocket of the car where it saw limited use at refueling stops as the twelve hour days of driving put me in Plow through this and get there mode. Technically this would be the second visit to Edmonton for the Yashica.

The High Level and Low Level Bridges, Edmonton - Tmax 400

The High Level and Low Level Bridges, Edmonton – Tmax 400

Pickets and Windows - TMax 400

Pickets and Windows – TMax 400

Rollei Looking Tough - TMax 400, Yes we named our French Bulldog Rollei and we have a Jack Russell named Leica.

Rollei Looking All Tough – TMax 400, Yes we named our French Bulldog Rollei and we have a Jack Russell named Leica also.

Scotty, Son-In-Law To Be - TMax 400

Scotty, Son-In-Law To Be – TMax 400

In Edmonton I took it for a few walks around town and finished off the roll of TMax. I really wanted to try some Portra 400 in it and push for more portraits so I bent the rules a bit and loaded a second roll of my favourite colour film and fired through it.  Portraits, or rather the time for them didn’t seem to happen with the colour roll.

Busker, Edmonton - TMax 400

Busker, Edmonton – TMax 400

The "Ledge", Alberta Legislature Building, Edmonton - TMax 400

The “Ledge”, Alberta Legislature Building, Edmonton – TMax 400

Scotty Under The High Level Bridge - TMax 400

Scotty Under The High Level Bridge – TMax 400

Street Market Wednesday, Edmonton - TMax 400

Street Market Wednesday, Edmonton – TMax 400

Scott and Rhuby - Portra 400

Scott and Rhuby – Portra 400

Rhuby On The Prowl - Portra 400

Rhuby On The Prowl – Portra 400

RV Parking - Portra 400

RV Parking – Portra 400

Somewhere In North Dakota - Portra 400

Somewhere In North Dakota – Portra 400

Eve, My Wife and Partner in Crime - Portra 400

Eve, My Wife, Partner in Crime and Best Half – Portra 400

Manual Zoom - Portra 400, Eve leaning in to zoom her fixed lens X100s 6" closer for the perfect landscape shot.

Manual Zoom – Portra 400, Eve leaning in to zoom her fixed lens X100s 6″ closer for the perfect landscape shot.

I sent the film to Indie Film Lab (www.indiefilmlab.com) in Montgomery, Alabama and waited for my scans and when they arrived I was quite honestly blown away. It’s true, that little piece of plastic does marvelous things with film. The clarity and contrast were superb but what surprised me the most was how it handled low light and backlit subjects. It’s like it understood my intent when taking the picture. I’m disappointed in the outcome of the colour roll – not in any way by the performance but the photographer and the mediocre shots I took with it. Also, other than a first cursory glance and taking an iPhone shot through it, I didn’t use the waist level Super Scope finder for any photos.  It’s pretty small to say the least.

So now I understand all the hype about this little plastic wonder. Am I going to scour ebay until I find one and pay $250-300 for it? Nope. But if I happen to find one in the same way I’ve built most of my camera collection – in a charity shop for $5-10 – you can bet I’ll scoop it up. (Might even go $15)

Hamish, thank you for the opportunity to take part in this project, it’s been an eye opening experience and a real pleasure. I hope the Travelling Yashica keeps travelling for many years to come and others continue to experience it.

So Long Sunshine - TMax 400

So Long Sunshine – TMax 400

Paul Rice

Web site:        www.lensonlifephoto.com
Blog:                www.lensonlifephoto.com/lolblog
Twitter:          @lensonlifepaul
Instagram:     @paulrice (where I’m most active)
Facebook:       Look for Lens On Life Photographic Expressions

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    George Appletree
    January 21, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Interering professionals like you leave aside for a while the perfection of some modern cameras to experience that one.
    Nice review and photographs. For me specially that pickets and windows

  • Reply
    Ian
    January 24, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I’m thrilled by “the travelling yeshiva” traveled a lot with you. Great photos.

  • Reply
    Victor Bezrukov
    January 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    hope to see more taken by you with this camera

  • Reply
    Douglas
    January 25, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Enjoying your wit! And that first work shop low-lighter woweee!

  • Reply
    Victor Harding
    February 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I enjoyed your article very much, thanks! I “went digital” a few years ago but this morning I actually finished the film that’s been in my T5 for about a year – excitement is mounting 🙂

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