I’ve never used a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera. I know a lot of people really like them, but they haven’t been a part of my life. But I’ve been curious. 6×6 negatives with a huge focusing viewfinder? What’s not to like?

The approach of significant round-number birthday led me to buy a Yashica Mat from Kamerastore. Judging by the serial number (and the help of the excellent http://yashicatlr.com/) it’s a pretty early model. The Yashica Mat camera was introduced in 1957 and mine is from 1958.

Once it arrived I loaded it up with some Catlabs 320, a film I’ve used several times in 135 format, but never in 120. As with my previous rolls I metered this 200 and developed with Rodinal.

I definitely need time to adjust to shooting a TLR. Holding the camera and framing is tricky. I frequently thought I was standing square to a subject only to see a skewed, crooked image in the viewfinder. Thankfully there’s a nice clear grid on the viewfinder to help me line things up. And adjusting my mind for square composition and waist-level point-of-view will also take some time.

I may also need to tweak my metering. Pretty much the entire roll is overexposed. I’d say that shots are usually 1-2 stops brighter than I metered for. When the camera is empty again I’ll do some tests of the shutter speed. But until then I plan on shooting slower than the meter reading.

A black and white photo of an old garage door comprised of 3 small wooden doors on a rolling track.
1/50, f11, yashinon 80mm/3.5
A black and white photo of a white wooden fence with peeling paint. The fence casts a shadow on a some leaves and concrete.
1/50, f8, yashinon 80mm/3.5

Full roll

Thanks for reading! You can always keep up to date by adding the site to a RSS reader or follow me over on Mastadon at https://mastodon.art/@ianwhitney. You can also subscribe for email notifications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *