The Light Farm

Yashica-44 and 127 format film

The whole world of 127mm film cameras managed to escape my attention until 2010. I was surprised to learn how many different 127 cameras were once made. It was a very popular format. When the original '44' first came out it sold for more than the identical-except-size 120 film Yashica Twin Lens Reflex (TLR). Yashica subsequently introduced the more basic and less expensive '44A' and the more elaborate 44LM ('LM' for the built-in light meter.)

The Yashica-D is a standard 6 x 6 cm TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera, the same size as the classic Rolleiflex TLR's. The Yashica-44 negative is 4 x 4 cm (the same size as the Baby Rolleiflex). The camera makes 12 exposures on a roll of 127 film.

A 44 is a rangefinder camera, which means the photographer doesn't look through the camera lens itself to compose and focus. It is also a TLR. This means the top (viewing) lens is coupled to a focusing screen. Just as with the ground glass on a view camera, the image appears upside down. The advantage of a focusing screen is that the image on the ground glass is bright regardless the camera settings. If you know you'll be shooting at the same aperture for several exposures, you can leave the f-stop setting where it's at and still have enough light to work. The disadvantage is that if something is blocking the 'taking lens' you'll never know unless you pay attention to the front of the camera!

All three 44's have a red film-backing view window, but they are used differently. The 44A treats the window as a straightforward manual film advance aid. After an exposure, turn the advance knob until the next number shows up in the red window. With the 44 and 44LM on the other hand, once you line up the number '1' in the red window, the camera automatically advances the film. Apparently, the numbers printed on the film backing paper aren't in the right place for these cameras. It's best to keep the ruby window cover closed except when you need to look at the numbers.

For more detailed information on the cameras, visit Orphan Cameras. It's the go-to place for old camera manuals.

Out and About with my Yashica 44.

The Newport Oregon Buccaneer Rampage Mud Run, 2014

'TLF X2Ag' ortho negative emulsion, ASA 64, Rodinal developer.

and the Newport, Oregon, Farmers' Market

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