Twin Lenses

Gotta thank Nate Ryan again for lending me his Yashica 12 for a few weeks. Developed and scanned by State Film Lab. Some finessing of contrast and crop correction in Lightroom. Film stock noted in the captions.

A few thoughts about TLR’s, 400 speed film stock, and film in general.

— As in introduction to the 120 format, a TLR like the Yashica 12 is just about as good as it gets. It really does provide an experience like that of a point-and-shoot. Great size and weight, good quality lens on the front, and generally a joy to use. It’s not intimidating like some other medium format cameras can be. (Though I did reclaim my RB67, and I’m happy as a camera clam.)

— After giving HP5 a shot, I still like Tri-X enough to fork over the extra $1 per roll (B&H is my source.) In my very un-scientific and limited experience, I prefer Tri-X. I prefer the transitions from highlight to white, shadow to black. HP5 seems a little muddy at the far ends of the histogram and takes a little more work in Lightroom to make a nice curve. Interestingly, it’s actually in full daylight where the difference is more noticeable.

— I really, really can’t stress enough how much I love black-and-white film. Nothing looks quite like it. I want so badly to learn how to develop it myself. Someday.

— 5 rolls of film x 12 exposures a roll = 60 scans that came back. 25/60 is a ratio I’m proud of, but it’s not altogether that much higher than what comes off of my digital Ricoh, my regular walk-around camera. I also own a 35mm Rebel 2000, which I bought so I could use my existing EF glass. I like my 35mm Rebel OK, but the act of using and touching the Yashica and my Mamiya brings me such joy. So shooting film is less about the slowing down and being picky with what pictures I take, but more just about how good it feels to use these medium format cameras.

— I’m glad I didn’t shoot film until now, when I’m much more confident in my ability to set proper exposure. Of course, “when in doubt, overexpose” is great advice from the internet, but with the help of my 5D and and iPhone app called Lux, I feel like I’ve more or less outgrown my insecurity. That is, until something goes horribly wrong….

— I just hope I don’t go broke too quickly. I’ve got another 5 rolls sitting on my desk.

Always interested in talking shop with other photographers about this stuff, since I feel like I’m still very much in the very early stages of my film education. So send me a message with any and all thoughts you might have. Please!


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