A camera is a tool. It enables us to preserve a memory in the form of an image, sometimes with sound included. We use a camera to help us communicate an idea or an emotion, as well as to spread the word about something that matters to us.
A camera can take the form of a compact point-and-shoot, a medium or large format apparatus, or even a mobile phone or a DIY pinhole camera.
I don’t care for the latest technology or using expensive brand-name equipment. I just need to be comfortable using it. That said, how I would take a photo or approach a subject depends on the camera in my hands.
For instance, if I’m using my phone, I take several shots of the same scene and am quick to edit the preferred pictures with VSCO Cam. When I’m using an analog rangefinder, I deliberate, take less photos and spend more time on each shot. If I’m using a Lomo, I feel like I should be more creative and take photos from angles that I might not normally do (and sometimes end up with odd images). When I used to shoot with a digital SLR, I would have an unreal sense of confidence and feel self-possessed by the hefty chunk of metal and glass in my hands. Taking pictures with the Fuji x100 has been a pleasure and I love its handsome body as much as the beautiful pictures that come out of it – I should use it more.
Recently I had the the chance to try out a Yashica T5 for a week as part of a #TravelingYashica initiative started by Hamish Gill where the camera is passed around the world to different persons. I read about it somewhere online, signed up for it and probably waited for almost a year before it arrived at my desk in Brussels.
The Yashica T5 has a ‘superscope’, a cool feature and second viewfinder that lets you takes photos from waist-level. It also comes in handy for overhead shots as it works like a periscope. I had fun taking photos using the superscope though it often felt like I was spying on other people!
The shutter button on the Yashica T5 is more sensitive than what I’m used to. As a result, my initial shots on the first roll of film were unintended.
The quality of the pictures is good in general. I was surprised to see how well some photos taken in low light turned out. Several images were overexposed but it may have been due to my inexperience with the camera and incorrectly locking in the exposure.
Overall, it was great to have the chance to use the camera. But I still do not understand the hype around the Yashica T5 and its predecessor. Ultimately, it is the person who makes the photos. Wouldn’t you agree?
22 replies on “How do you shoot?”
Wow!! Such an awesome experiment!! I think I should sign up too!
Do check it out – there’s a waiting list but it’s worth the wait 🙂
Such a cool initiative and experiment. I think the more we use a camera, the more we get familiar with it and using it becomes second nature to us…and that’s when we feel confident with it and get the shots we want. Enjoy 🙂
True, and it’s the same with almost everything we use and do. Not sure if I would always get the shots I’m aiming for though!
Great piece. Imagine hearing that someone enjoyed cooking, you wouldn’t then ask them what cooker they used. Funny how we attach so much kudos to cameras.
Thank you and that’s a good analogy. Though I can imagine people comparing the quality of baked goods and the equipment used (e.g. KitchenAid vs. Kenwood) 😉
Yes! Ultimately it *is* the person who takes the photo — this is why I always say that “the best camera in the world is the one you have with you.” However, there’s a lot to be said for having a tool you’re comfortable with and enjoy using. That’s why it’s so cool that you got to experiment with the Yashica T5! It ended up not being the camera for you, but it’s probably someone else’s dream. The endless variety of photographic tools and formats available is part of what makes it so interesting, don’t you think? Anyway, great post, as always!
Thanks Heather and agree with you on all points!
you do own quite a few cameras! besides the contax t2, the yashica t’s are the ones I wish to actually own one day.
Hmm, you got me there Alan! I have ‘only’ four cameras if you count my phone. I like to think that my other cameras (Fuji x100, Canonet rangefinder and Lomo) are complementary to each other 😀 Hope that you’ll get to own your own Yashica T4/5 someday!
I wholly agree with you when you talk about the hype around this camera. I’ve shot a couple of rolls with it but even if I was happy of the pics it was not my cup of tee and just recently I’ve bartered the T5 for something else. That being said your I liked your pics.
Thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂 Thus far, I prefer using the Canonet to the T5 as I like having more control over the image that I’m making. I wasn’t used to the Canonet when I first got it though because of its shutter priority mechanism – I’m more accustomed to taking photos in aperture priority mode!
Interesting experiment but exactly as youn said before – we need some time to get usual with a gear and to understand how to use it.
Yup, it’s definitely rewarding to be part of this Traveling Yashica project. Sometimes after understanding how a camera works, we realise that it’s not for us – which is the case for me with the Yashica T5. But I’m sure that many other people enjoy making pictures with it 🙂
The hype, i think, is because Terry Richardson have used it (and still uses i believe) the Yashica T, in fact there is a new wave of fashion photographers that use that kind of snapshot style
I have a Yashica T3 Super, i love it for 3 main reasons: the Carl Zeiss Tessar, the weather sealing and the superscope, i love street photography and the scopething is superfunny! (Oh ok and because i’ve payed for it 6 cans of tomato sauce 🙂
I totally agree with you: the camera is a tool, photos are made by the photographer, and every tool have is function (both practical and mental to me).
I use a Canon 5d mkii for work assignments, the Yashica T3 for street and everyday snapshots (when i need to shoot with my “guts”, a Fuji Tiara for live events reportage (because of the 28mm fujinon)… and yes…a smartphone for the “day life amenities”
The first time I looked online for the Yashica T, Terry Richardson appeared in the first pages of the search. I’m not a fan of his pictures. I agree that the superscope is a fun feature to have – and I am surprised by how well it works! I’ve not heard of the Fuji Tiara and am now reading up on it. This looks like a nifty snap & shoot camera. I like its design 🙂
The Tiara is a wonderful and cheap “everyday camera” and it has a wider lens (not the usual 35mm) and the “snap” function (basically the camera is settled on hyperfocal, great for street photography)… the only problem, for me, is the shutter lag… but, you know, to have a film camera with a 28mm lens with almost no shutter lag you have to pay more than 300$ for a something like the Ricoh GR1.
Yes, too many people suffer from Gear Acquisition Syndrome. In the end you are right, it is about what you feel comfortable with. That being said, I use my ‘big’ camera so many days of the week, I really enjoy sticking with the my little Panasonic point and shoot for family outings and the like, and I do love the freedom I have with my phone camera 🙂 We have the luxury of being able to access all the different photography planets.
Well said – we have the luxury of having access to different photography tools! Nowadays, I make it a point to use the second camera that I bring with me (in addition to my phone) when I travel or go out. Otherwise I rather leave the former at home so as to free up some load 🙂
I’ve had my T5 for nearly 20 years, and I really like it. It has never failed me yet; all the bad photos were my fault, not the camera’s. I thought that I would never use the SuperScope, but in fact I often use it while photographing people. The mode change button is tiny and fiddly, and has to be reset every time, but I very rarely need to override the camera’s automatic choices. I also enjoy using my Pentax Spotmatic and Rolleiflex T, but they give me two other ways of making photographs. If I want a reliable point-and-shoot camera that gives high-quality results, I take the Yashica T5. Now if only it didn’t insist on rewinding film all the way into the cartidge…