How I Fixed My Medium Format Dilemma

posted in: Photography | 0

I’ve been having an ongoing dilemma with my medium format cameras.

The first film camera I bought in my adult life was a Diana F+ in February 2017, which, on hindsight, was a rather bizarre re-entry into film photography. It’s basically a toy camera with few options meaning there’s little to learn about photography when using it.

After transitioning to 35mm cameras, I decided to venture more seriously into medium format photography and bought at TLR camera, a Flexaret Automat, in September 2018.

The Flexaret worked fine on arrival, but after 2 rolls of film, it stopped advancing. Not knowing how to repair it and finding out that getting it fixed would cost way more than I paid for it, I set it aside.

Not being satisfied with having the Diana as my only medium format camera, I bought a Pentacon Six TL in May 2019.

Similar to the Flexaret, I took 2 rolls before having issues, this time a problem with the camera not advancing enough causing overlapping images.

Frustrated with the situation, I tried fixing the Flexaret figuring it wasn’t working at all so I couldn’t make anything worse. As it turned out, my initial attempt at fixing it worked.

Again, however, after 2 rolls, it stopped advancing and what had worked to fix it before didn’t work the second time.

After that glimmer of hope, I was back to having the Diana as my only medium format camera. I enjoy shooting with the Diana and am often pleased with the results from it, but it is a rather limited camera.

At a loss as to how to fix my 2 non-working cameras, I decided to buy another medium format camera.

After some research, I opted to buy a Yashica Mat-124 G from Film Culture on Etsy.

Yashica Mat-124 G
Yashica Mat-124 G

One of the things I like about my Flexaret is that it is relatively small so I was glad to find that the Yashica isn’t all that bigger.

At first, I basically just wanted to know whether or not it works, I quickly shot a few pictures inside our apartment and then finished the roll (Kodak Portra 400) during a walk near our neighborhood without putting much effort into crafting anything particularly interesting.

The camera came with a wide-angle lens adapter which makes it much more cumbersome.

I tested the wide angle lens by taking similar pictures out our window with and without the adapter. The wide angle lens was visible in the photo. I’m not sure I’ll have much use for the wide angle adapter, but it will be nice having the option just in case.

FMC Tower
FMC Tower
Wide Angle FMC Tower
Wide Angle FMC Tower

When taking the photos inside, I decided to also try out a tripod a friend had given me. I set up a couple of simple still life arrangements.

I took one photo without the tripod.

Flexaret Still Life
Flexaret Still Life

And then I took 2 with the tripod.

Oddly, the blurriest picture I took was while using the tripod. It is a cheap, plastic tripod so I’m not entirely surprised although that pretty much defeats the purpose of having it.

Booze and Books
Booze and Books

All the outside pictures were handheld.

Now that I know the Yashica is functional, I’m looking forward to taking pictures with more care.

All of the images turned out a bit hazy. Perhaps the lens just needs to be cleaned. I’m hoping that’s not indicative of a problem because I’m at my limit for buying dysfunctional cameras.

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