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Yashica Retro


Well-Known Member
Hello all!

I've been following with ever-decreasing interest the various threads on which new digital camera is best and with what lenses, and what the various camera and lens companies are about to do next. I mean, these discussions are certainly fun for a while, and I like them as much as the next guy, but they don't record any images anywhere.

So, this past weekend, I did something fun. In the preceding days, I bought myself a used Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder camera on an auction site for $16.00. Then, I spent another $16.00 on an adapter to use current batteries and of course, a new battery (included with the adapter). All of its functions checked out and everything seemed to work. Then, during some freezing rain this weekend, I replaced the light seals in the camera, which took an hour, and I gave the old camera a thorough cleaning. I was ready for the weather to break.

The next day, I loaded the camera with some Tri-X that was date coded 1985(!!!) that I got from a lady who bought a side of beef in a freezer and who found it in the bottom of the appliance chilling. I went down to our state capitol, which is full of interesting historical sights to be seen, and experienced the true fun of making images on black and white film with a simple and well-built camera. I even ran into our governor in the front yard of the state executive mansion, and he posed for a picture taken with my funky old camera.

Yes, it seemed like a trip back in time, and in some ways, it wasn't as convenient shooting some shots with the camera's one 45mm focal length as it might have been with a zoom or something with interchangeable lenses. The camera didn't autofocus, and there were no bells or whistles, and certainly no way to look at an LCD screen to see what I had taken before moving on, but as I spent an enjoyable hour or so, I quickly forgot about my low tech status, and begin to revel in my lack of choices and how I had to work at it if I wanted to frame a particular shot. There was something liberating about taking along only two camera on a neckstrap, and a roll of film.

I got home excited, but not knowing if I had gotten anything, given the camera's age, not to mention the age of the film. I got out a developing tank and a stainless steel reel, and fumbled just a bit as I loaded the roll in the dark. As I was developing the film in good old D-76 1:1, dutifully agitating by hand, I felt like I was back in my old high school photo club over 30 years ago, using a camera, film and darkroom gear from about that time in my life. It may sound silly, but I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning when I finally got to take a look at the film after washing on the reel and hanging it up to dry. There they were, 38 (yep, it was bulk film loaded on a Watson)evenly exposed, contrasty black and white frames! After drying, I looked at them with an 8x loupe, and they are all sharp as a tack, even the ones I shot with the Yashinon lens wide open at f/1.7!

Running a quick contact sheet today, I can see that there are quite a few shots on this roll I am going to print. I'm sure that will be fun too, even if decidedly low-tech by today's standards.

Sorry for the long post, but perhaps somewhere, at least one of you old photo-dogs like me is reading this and smiling, and remembers....

Merry Christmas!

great posting and agree with your sentiments...
i am still getting to know my contax n digital...big beast that it is..
i purchased a tiny olympus xa for 15 pounds recently...popped in
some kodachrome 64 and agfa scala...the results were fantastic,
no faffing,no tweaking, no photoshop...simple technology and a little exposure,technical knowledge required...
but we live in instant gratification,quick fix times....
i now meet people that have never shot a roll of film....crazy.

ps...i have a super rare yashica electro cc rangefinder...the lens is real excellent...


Well-Known Member
Sounds fun, Tom.
I'm a film user and film is great, maybe even still best but scanning is a pain and I don't really miss my wet darkroom. I had thought I might begin developing my own black and white again though and then scanning the negatives.


Well-Known Member

Have you consider digital B+W ?

I shot this one with R1 in colour and converted to B+W by my iPhoto in my Apple.


I printed it to 8x11 and it looks a lot more vivid than this web image.


Well-Known Member
Thanks. Very nice picture. I have tried converting to B&W but I haven't printed many. I'll give it more of a go.