I was inspired to do this project after I saw the documentary Finding Vivian Maier. I had heard of the story and seen some of her images a year or two ago, but watching the movie made me want to get back into film photography. Her images reminded me of what I love about photography. The beautiful tonal range of film, the way it makes you think about the shot more then digital does, the feeling of using a TLR camera, and so forth. You can see a trailer to the film below.
At first I planned on just using my mom’s Yashica-D. It is the camera I used in college. No way could I afford a Rolleiflex! My husband, who is a commercial photographer and an incurable gear junkie, thought we should go for it and keep an eye out for a good used Rollei. It didn’t take long until he found one at our local camera store. It is a Rolleiflex 3.5 E Type 1 with a 75mm Schneider Xenotar lens. (Wish I could afford a 2.8F but don’t have the extra $1k laying around.) The Yashica has an 80mm 3.5 lens.
I still wasn’t convinced to buy it since I had a free camera option (thanks Mom!) so we did a camera comparision test. I shot a roll of Delta 400 in both the Yashica and the Rolleiflex. I made sure to do the exact same shot, exposure and composition, of at least two frames. During shooting, the main thing I noticed was how much I loved the way the Rollei was designed. The film advance was nice and smooth. The focus knob was on the opposite side of the camera from the shutter button which made it much easier to operate than the Yashica. And the Rolleiflex was overall a more solidly built camera, even though it was 20+ years older!
As for the images, there was a difference in the exposures even though I shot both cameras with the same settings. The shutter seems to be off on the Yashica so I had to adjust the levels in Photoshop so they matched. Below is a scan of each test shot. I also included the scanned contact sheet of each roll. You can see the inconsistent exposures and film advance on the Yashica contact.
As you can probably tell, I decided to go ahead and get the Rolleiflex. It is such a great camera. Next time I will share some of my favorite images from the test shoot. Thanks for reading!