Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Couple Of Yashica Oldies

Yashica Electro 35 GTN + Yashica ST-7
How many of you know the above camera? Have you seen such a tripod before? Hit the jump for a flash back in time.
The first camera I have ever used, and learned to take photos with, was my father's Yashica Electro 35 GSN, it is not the one shown above, but it is identical in almost everything, and the top part has a silver color instead of black as the one in the picture, which is a GTN by the way.
Aperture, Distance Scale, DOF scale, WB, Self Timer & Bulb Mode
It was (past tense used to indicate it was decommissioned ~ 10 years ago) a 35mm film range finder, it has a fixed 45mm f/1.7 lens, and to focus, you look through the viewfinder where you see two images of the same scene but slightly shifted horizontally, you move the focus ring until the two images of the object you want to focus on coincide on top of each other, only then can you trip the shutter.
Film Speed
We used it with color Kodak film, I think it was ASA 400 film, you had a dial to select the film speed (aka sensitivity, or ISO in digital). The camera was mostly automatic, you pick the required aperture and it will select a shutter speed between 1/500 sec up to 30 sec depending on the light conditions, there are two lights that tells you if the shot was going to be over or under exposed, which meant the camera couldn't select a shutter speed suitable enough, and you had to take action. I remember my father taught me to use f/16 aperture when shooting in sunlight, and down to f/1.7 indoors, middle apertures were used in between both extreme lighting conditions.
Self Timer
See that silver lever with the red dot? That's the self timer, you move it counter clockwise until it locks in place (it uses a spring mechanism), and when you trip the shutter, it returns to it's original position slowly, you have around 10 seconds before the camera takes a picture.
One of my step mother's friends gave the camera and the tripod shown here to my daughter to play with, it was the first time for me to see that tripod, it was quite interesting, a unique design which I never saw before, let's have a few looks first, I will compare it to my Slik Mini-Tripod with a ball head, which I adore, especially that it can carry up to 3kg of weight.
Yashica ST-7 is really tiny
Unscrew the bottom, spread the legs, and screw it back
Legs expanded
Made in Germany
Ball head, a nice surprise
Compared to my Slik tripod with only the legs opened
Slik's maximum height
Maximum height, with maximum legs length
How would you focus like that without a rear live view screen? We're quite spoiled.
The tripod was a very nice surprise, it is tiny when closed (a mini monopod), it has a ball head, a nice hand strap, and it is very sturdy, and all the mechanical bits are too smooth. The one who came up with this design is a genius. Of course I doubt it will carry a heavy DSLR with a heavy lens with such short legs, but it is more than adequate for small cameras and my soon-to-be-acquired Olympus OM-D EM-5.
All of the tripod pictures were taken with the 5D Mark III and the 100 Macro L, I was too lazy to use any lighting equipment, so I just used available overhead room lights, all exposures were completely hand held (not even resting my hands on a table), f/8, ISO 1600 and 1/6th of a second, now that's more than 4 stops of image stabilization, and in some of the shots I was at macro shooting distances, the 100L is really the perfect lens.