A few years ago, I fell in love with a camera called the Yashica Electro 35GSN. It’s a pretty straightforward rangefinder camera. You focus, control the aperture and the camera decides on the shutter speed depending on the aperture you set. I had no idea it was the camera that would start an obsession. After finding orphaned GSNs at thrift stores, I took the plunge and picked up a refurbished one on eBay. Here’s the baby–
With the flood of digital cameras in our society and our overall mindset, “everyone” sees themselves a photographer. There’s no thought needed to produce images on a phone or computer screen. There is no need for understanding exposure, shutter speed and aperture. Why worry when you can take 100 images and simply pick the “best” one. If you only have 12 shots on a roll of film, you’re going to damn well put some thought into what you’re doing. Don’t get me wrong, I have a digital camera that I use for point-and-shoot situations like the camera images in this post. In addition, I know that there are photographers that use digital cameras. The fundamental difference these photographers understand exposure and put thought into the images they capture with these digital cameras. Anyway, enough of that soapbox sermon.
After finding a Brownie Reflex II at a local thrift store, my attention turned to that singular class of cameras called TLRs (Twin Lens Reflex). To use a TLR, you look through a viewfinder on the top to see an image that is almost exactly what will be exposed on the film through the lower lens. Again, you control the aperture and shutter speed. After reading page after page on these works of art, I set my mind to getting myself one of my own. Can you guess who manufactured some of the better TLR cameras? That’s right..Yashica. Here are two of my more recent finds, both still in excellent working order–over fifty years after they their production.
With my learning to develop my own black and white film, using these beauties will be much more practical and fun.