Week 11 The Yashica 44a
I had some unfinished business with the 127 film cameras so this week I wanted to pin some of the issues down. Russell thought the Yashica might bring a touch of class to it and I wasn't going to argue! It was spotless, like new! In the grey it looked beautiful snuggled in its tanned leather jacket. I took it home and had a play to familiarise myself with it, I looked at a few reviews and the Yashikor 60mm lens it had was said to fall short of its big 6x6 brothers Yashinon but I say there isn't much in it. The 44 was introduced in 58 but was expensive, the 44a was a cheaper version dropping the iconic filter mounts I had and advancing with just a knob, this was the only fault I had with it! Too easy to move on a bit by brushing with your hand or handling etc… care needed but I got by with two frames just touching but not lost.
Roll 1, a standard Rerapan 100 127 to start off. I planned a Dartmoor excursion, in particular Burrator reservoir. I was up early on the Sunday to mist and annoying drizzle but I went anyway and shot from the banks using a tripod and my old Zeiss meter as there is no on board, limited shutter speeds of 1/25th to 1/300th + I&B meant I was at 1/25th and ran it as aperture priority. It cleared up a bit and I enjoyed the day with the Yashi running faultlessly! I Developed with rodinal to the only times I could find and for me they have ugly grain and are overexposed.
I have pulled the exposure back and pushed the blacks in those images!
Roll 2. FP4 35mm re rolled – here we are again! I had a part roll left from last week and knew if I cut for 12 exposures there would be waste so I marked out 3 extra frames following the originals and rolled it as a 15, idealy a 13 and 14 will just cover a 36 exposure donor, I loaded in dim light and set off on a city walk taking in the river etc as I do regularly, I had a hood hair banded on and could slip my rollei filters in behind, I shot some from the tripod, some hand held and even tied a couple of sideways shots, that is a task I can tell you! I passed Soperfect images and Russell presented me with a spot meter so I had a play. Dev'd and scanned I was pleased to see 15 images clean but that damned bulging of the film effected some of the images again! I am certain this is just inconsistent tension during rolling so it is all on me, there were a few nice ones though.
Roll 3. Porta 160 nc, cut and rolled from a 120 – Sprockets are fun and have a valid place but shooting in the format the camera is designed for 4x4 in this case is preferred for me so I attacked the internet and quickly found a video showing a 120 being cut down using a cigar cutter! Immediately purchased. I had a go using an old exposed knackered roll found in a camera….it was to wobbly, I fashioned a jig from a 35mm canister and thought I had it so rolled it up – 13 frames, there is I now know room for 15. I took a wander around the Hooe side of the river Plym and all went smoothly, I really enjoyed the Yashica, it was like a love child of my 124g and Ikoflex sharing mixed similarities. Thankfully it was a nice day and gave me scope to play, even trapping a close up lens on the bottom and hand holding the top half, it came out which was nice! Loading the developing tank was a wrestle, it hadn't been perfect cut and I lost the last frame but I was happy, colour developing is average at best for me but these were as good as I have done,
So, to sum up where do I feel this little 127 project is at, sprockets I just need to find consistent rolling technique, the cut down but 120 is the way forward for me, a better more permanent jig will be made and we will shoot 127s again later once I have nailed it down. I think we have made good ground and fine tuning is all that is required. The Yashica 44a, a great little camera! Outstanding performance for a basic model only let down by me. Just too close to the two 6x6s I already have. Its a shame there isn't well priced 127 film out there as good cameras are just not getting the use they deserve.
Please click on the camera to see this weeks photos by Ashley