ORF Park, Graz – Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
The images on this post are all from the Yashica Mat using Ektar Film and self developed with Tetenal Colortec kit. Scanned with Silver Fast software, no color adjustment was made, some contrast adjustment that’s it.
Most of the all singing and dancing digi-devices called cameras of today are already set to yesteryear. On a countdown to be obsolete into obscurity. Well at least by the time you’ve got your hands of them! So why not go back in time when things were solid, simple and made to last. Easy to repair and required no batteries to operate. Of course you’ve got to hunt the good ones down on Ebay, online classifieds or even your local camera store.
Iris at sunset- Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
There are so many classics to choose from especially from the last millennium. I keep asking myself, “will everything we have, will it work in 5, 10 or 20 years ?” – probably not, not a chance. Most of the plastic molded multipurpose silicon touchscreen toys are destined for our landfills. Even our governments charge us a fee for “recycling” on top of the purchase price. It seems this is the sad state of affairs in the age we live in. But fret no more turn back the clock to somewhere between 1969 and 1971 when this Yashica Mat 124 was made.
The TLR Yashica is solidly Japanese and gorgeous. TLR meaning Twin Lens Reflex. A lens for viewing on top and a lens for taking at the bottom. While Yashica shared similarities to the Rolliflex. This one has survived over 45 years. Quite a feat for any piece of technology in my book.
The film format is square 6×6. Accepting both 120 and 220 size film. By rotating the a plate inside the back of the camera to change the size. The 120 size film offers 12 exposures. The 220 if any can be found should be double this, at 24 exposures. However I’ve never used 220. In any session I tend not to shoot more than a couple of shots.
Iris in Stadt Park- Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
Film is not dead.
Most definitely not. Once I saw the detail and clarity of the negatives I had faith that the chemicals has performed their work. The first impression from the scan of the negative was simply amazing. This for me was the first time that I had developed for colour negatives. The colours were warm, rich, no color casting that I could see. The images from the scanned negative were wonderful. In terms of detail, colour and rendering. The 6×6 images from the Yashica lens were true to the scene, sharp and precise. All in all the workflow from camera to computer was smooth. I thought to myself do like shooting with full-frame digital and X-Trans but this was something else. Something real special Maybe it was the film, Kodak Ektar or more probably the combination of the Yashica and film. It is different, it’s a joy to use and make.
Stadt Park Winter Trees – Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
Developing Color Film
The development of color negatives at home is pretty straightforward. I bought myself the Tetenal Colortec kit from my local photography store. I had to ordered two digital thermometer for 8 euros each online. Then use an Ikea container bought for a couple of Euros as a water bath. The water bath is necessary to keep the temperature under control. The chemicals were mixed in old plastic water bottles. According to the included instructions. Each bottle was label with a permanent pen. Hot running water from the tap fill the Ikea waterbath when the temperature dropped. I use degrees Fahrenheit as the instructions were obvious for the US market. It was simple just a push of a button on the digital thermometers. After about 30 mins of prep and development I had my first color negatives!
Iris poses TU uni – Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
The cost of it all.
The chemicals were 30 Euros for the kit. I already had the development tank from B&W developing. The extra cost of two digital thermometer will be useful to improve my B&W processing anyway. So with a cost of 2 euros per roll, it’s cheap. The time to setup the equipment and get the temperature right I guess it’s about half an hour. Of course scanning the negative and spotting them is probably the slowest part for me. Certainly an area I wish to improve on.
The Big Tree, Stadtpark Graz – Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
The first step would be to get better drying conditions. I believe my bathroom a.k.a darkroom has plenty of dust in the air. Well Graz is known for it’s micro partials unfortunately from traffic pollution. I looked at a drying closet but I don’t really have space for it. I thought maybe a film squeegee. But now I read not to use one at all.
Some quotes about squeeges ….
I used to pass the film between my closed fingers. Then, one time I used fixer without hardener. Never, ever will I touch negs again when they are wet, fingers, squeegees or whatever.
Don’t! Negatives should NEVER be squeegeed. Use a final rinse of distilled water with a little PhotoFlo (no stronger than half the recommended strength), and then hang them to dry.
The Favourite Tree, Stadtpark Graz – Yashica Mat 124 with Kodak Ektar (Self Developed in Tetenal)
A place to buy secondhand darkroom stuff – http://www.photographyattic.com/