Ever since I was a wee lad, aged about 4 or 5 years old, I always had a fascination about cameras.
To a young child of that age, it seemed miraculous, that a little metal box could create images of people or things. And too right, as well. Even today, more than 40 years later, I still think it’s absolute magic, how a box can produce almost exact copies of people or objects we see with our eyes; let me qualify that; sometimes it can capture things we normally miss with our own eyes!
At that young age, I can understand my parents’ reluctance to hand me, what was at the time, quite an expensive instrument. So it was only when I was around 8 or 10 years old, that my father finally agreed to let me use the camera.
At first, it took some time trying to get used to using it, as with twin lens reflex cameras, left and right are reversed, so to look at a scene on your right for example, you have to move the camera to the left!
That camera, a Yashica Mat, is still with me now, and being used regularly.
Little did I realise at the time, that I was playing with a professional genre, that of medium format. IN fact that, training stood me in good use, as when I decided to take up photography full time, I hit the road running as they say.
Nowadays, there are several really affordable ways to get into the medium format market. You can try your hand with an all-plastic twin lens reflex (TLR) camera, which although will not be able to produce results as good as the more better built ones, can still give you a taste of the format.
Then there are the Rolleiflexes, very high quality profession standard cameras, and also the Hasselblad range, again, very high quality, with prices to match!
It all comes down to affordability in the end. If you cannot afford to fork out more than $1500 to $2000 or more for a medium format camera, I would seriously recommend the Yashica TLR range.
There are plenty of models to choose from, and all are capable of producing professional quality shots. I’m not one to blow my own horn, but I have had many shots from my Yashica Mat TLR printing by some very well-known magazines, so it shows you the quality we are talking about here.
One camera from the Yashica range is the Yashica D, one of the best all-around medium format cameras on the market in my opinion.
For around $200 to $250, you can pick one up in excellent, working condition, and you can be sure it will out last your lifetime.
I picked several of my Yashicas at very low prices many years ago, and in fact, even now, when prices have moved up a little, it is still jaw-dropping to see the difference in prices between these cameras and the Hasselblads or Rolleiflex models. There is not much difference in quality when it comes down to it.
Why do I love my Yashicas, and what’s so good about them then?
Well, they have been so well designed, with the layout of the speed, aperture, shutter wind and release button so strategically placed, that you could use them all day, and without looking up from the screen, a very, very important point.
Lenses are also tack sharp. Despite what you read on the internet, both types, the Yashinon and the Yashikor, are excellent lenses; take my word for it, I’ve used both types for well over 30 years!
The other thing is that these cameras just “feel” right in your hands. The quaint square screen in the viewfinder just begs you to take the camera out and start composing your first shot. And 120 roll film is easily available, too. Another bonus is that because the negative size is very large, you can develop the film yourself if you wanted and scan the prints or enlarge them very easily.
The Yashica D which we are talking about, is as simple as you can get, without compromising on quality. It has no metering system to go wrong or fail, so if you’re au fait with that old walnut, the fabled “Sunny 16” rule, you cannot go wrong.
Very solidly built, nothing to go wrong. Simple.
Tempted? You should be. I have a Yashica D with additional lenses/filters available; take a look below:
This one has the superb Yashikor lenses, completely free of fungus, separation or scratches. All the shutter speeds work and the aperture is clean and snappy. Viewing screen undamaged and clear.
Bodywork is excellent; those slight brownish marls you see on the leatherette are just on the surface and can be cleaned off if you prefer.
It comes to you with it’s original close up lenses and yellow filter for spectacular monochrome shots. And of course, a FREE roll of 120 roll film to start you off!
Price: UK/Europe £129.95 plus £11.99 shipping
USA/Canada/rest of world: US$194.99 plus $35 shipping
Payment: NOCHEX, PPPay, GoogleCheckout, and yes, even the dreaded Paypal! If you are in the USA/Canada, you can walk into your local branch of Bank America or CIBC and pay directly into my accounts with those banks as well.
Contact: harsum888 at yahoo dot com