A new steed for the stable, a new camera for the collection. I’ve got a new camera and I’m so excited. Let me start this post by going backwards about 6-months, when, I bought a 24mm Sigma Super Wide ƒ2.8. I ran a film with it, it was a lovely lens with wonderful colour, but it had a fault. It needed to go back to the very, very, very affable, friendly and reasonable folk at the Hailsham Camera Shop. I’ve been meaning to get down there for months and return it… I’ve kept in touch and kept the lens dry and safe, so they’ve been really reasonable about it. I don’t mean to plug a firm, but if you want a Pentacon/Balda/Russian/Olympus/Other for a reasonable price from a lovely high-street-village-shoppe, then head to Hailsham. So here we are, a few months back in time. Now, come with me on a journey through time and space.
Here we are a week ago, I was moosing about on Flickr after typing my voyeur/creep post, seeking inspiration. I was starting to find some excellent candid reportage. After seeing a bevy of brilliant pictures I started noticing a common theme to my favourite photos - TLR. Tee, El, Argh. tlr … Twin Lens Reflex. Something twigged, I had a hunch, I had a Sherlock Holmes moment. One might be able to rest one’s TLR against one’s puku (1st definition) and casually take photos of kooks and kids without attracting too much attention. Also, some of the shots taken from the midriff had a different perspective, something about a camera height of a child which added something to the photos. I can tell you don’t believe me, so have a look at these.
I was set on a TLR. That’s all it took. A hint of an idea. After very little research, I realised one thing with absolute resolve. I could not afford a Rolleiflex or Rolleicord. I might, however, just yet be able to afford a Yashica MAT. I’ll let you in on the thought process:
‘TLR good, Rollei good, too expensive, Yashica MAT, Japanese copy, Japanese copies good, except very early cars, with twine holding things together, where did I read that? Was it 'Wheels’ by Arthur Hailey, it was, weird, hrm, Yashica sounds good, what does it say on the web, sounds ok, alright, I’ll have a look on ebay…’
Ebay I did, and as it turned out, we’re back at the top of the story, where the Hailsham Camera Shop is. Their ebay page is where I found two very interesting listings:
Yashica Mat vs. MPP Microcord.
So, I found a very good reason to get to Hailsham and call into the camera shop. Note to all, I encourage you to visit and eat at the greasy spoon in the Hailsham Cattle Market. I handed over the faulty Sigma, and fondled, fumbled with the Yashica MAT and the Microcord. It was a pretty easy decision. When in Rome. And I was in England. And the Microcord is an English camera, made at Kingston on Thames, many moons ago. Sounded good to me.
I’m glad I bought it, there are some light cleaning scratches on the front element of the taking lens, but other than, it looks ok! I’ve run a film through it and can’t wait to see the results. To wind up the blog, here are some observations.
It’s a 2lb extruded aluminum brick
Looking down at the focus screen is so, so satisfying
120 film doesn’t last long at 12 shots a roll
Square format is really different
I’m already taking bolder candid shots
I’m sure I will post some photos as soon as I can find someone who can develop and scan 120 C41 for a reasonable price. But until then I’ll just keep: popping up the view finder shroud, focussing, composing, winding (5 times), cocking the shutter, dialing an aperture size and shutter speed, checking the shutter switch isn’t on D for DELAY, and pressing the shutter button.