The Traveling Yashica finally hit Vancouver last month. My stop was the 24th on the globe-trotting little compact’s adventure, and I believe it had been nearly a full year from the time I first signed up. So far with analog photography, I’ve mostly been shooting SLRs (love my trusty Nikon FE2) and dabbling in a bit of medium format (who doesn’t love a Rolleiflex?). But this project gave me an excellent excuse to expand my boundaries to the world of 35mm compacts, something I would not likely have tried on my own. The original challenge from Hamish was to shoot one roll in one week, pack up the camera and send it on its way. Thankfully, I managed to stick to the time limit and not hold up the ever-expanding queue, but I went well over on the roll count. I burned through 5 rolls in 6 days with this little camera, but it was a good thing I shot so much, as two of my rolls were past their best before dates by a couple decades and came back from the lab completely fogged. But that’s what you get for rolling the dice with expired film.
More thoughts on the Yashica itself below, but here a few of my favourite images, from my time with the camera. Colour images are using Kodak Portra 400, while the black and white work is Kodak Tri-X 400:
So, how did I find the little Yashica T5D? It was an absolute blast to shoot with. With most of my recent film shooting, I’ve always given preference to full manual or aperture-priority cameras, but I think this camera has convinced me of the simplicity and effectiveness of a quality point and shoot. Others have written that the half-press on the shutter button is on a hair trigger, and they’re not wrong. However, it’s quick to get used to and I think I spoiled 2-3 frames this way at most. I was also worried that I’d have a handful of shots with my own right hand fingers in the frame, as the lens pops out an extra little bit at the moment of taking the picture. More than a few times, the lens popped out and bumped into my fingers… but not one frame was spoiled this way. The main on-off switch on the front of the camera operates in a counter-intuitive way to me, and as someone who wears glasses, the viewfinder is certainly cramped, but all of these little quirks can’t ruin the fun of having a quality piece of glass on a very small and stealthy camera. The bonus top-side viewfinder also comes in handy for street photography or framing ground-level shots. Who needs an articulated LCD viewfinder anyways?
Another happy coincidence with the Yashica’s brief time in Vancouver is that I was in the middle of a course on darkroom practices at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, so was able to develop my own B&W and tried my hand at printing a few images out.
With the Traveling Yashica’s brief sojourn in Vancouver finished, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up a T5D if I found one for a reasonable price. I guess the secret is out by now, so it’s far from an absolute bargain, but still delivers great value as a convenient little sharpshooter. I was a great experience to take part in this brilliant project, and I’ll continue to follow along as the little wonder camera moves on to its’ next home. If you’d like your shot, go on and sign up.
An edited version of this post first appeared on 35mmc.com.