quarta-feira, 23 de abril de 2014

Yashica Lynx 5000, the camera that changed the man.

The camera that changed (this) man.

This tittle might seem grossly exaggerated, but it isn't. This camera literally changed this man. In order to know a bit about it, we must go back into my past (cue violins...)

Back home, there was no photographic tradition. To be honest, there was an old AGFA ISO RAPID that seldom worked, in short, no camera to speak of. Then, one day, my uncles invited me to spend some days with them in the south of the country. Of course, being a teenager, my heart jumped at the idea of getting rid of mum and dad for a while. I was ecstatic, but then I remembered something terrible, how was I to record that epic moment of my life, I had no camera and the AGFA was really out of the question as Rapid film was long gone. I panicked!

I shared my life's dilemma with a dear friend of mine and presto, a friend in deed is a friend indeed! Voilà, as per magic she offered to lend me her father's Yashica Lynx 5000 that he had bought in Angola during the 60's.

Although the Yashica was already more than 20 years old by then, I thought it was a high-tech gadget and I felt really intimidated looking at the beast. What saved my day was a small piece of paper hidden in the leather case where precious information was written: Sunny f11, 1/125, Shadows f5,6/, 1/60. Now I could go out on my mission!

Armed with this deep photographic knowledge and with the lethal Yashica loaded with a 12 exposure film, off I went to conquer the world with a Lynx eye!

Modesty prevents me from commenting the results that I got with the Yashica, but I was completely overwhelmed by the results, just like someone who had seen a Daguerreotype for the very first time, only 100 years later.

It was a painful moment to give the camera back to its rightful owner, better still, to the daughter of the owner. It briefly crossed my mind to become a criminal, but I ain't got the stuff of what thieves are made. With a great deal of sadness, I returned the camera. I am pretty sure that it was the very last time that it was used.

After some years of coin saving, I thought I had the money to buy myself a camera. To my dismay, I learned that cameras like the Yashica Lynx were no more, they belonged to the past a perfect past for sure. My heart was broken, so I eventually bought a Praktica SLR, so 20th century with LEDs and all.

However, I never forgot the Yashica Lynx 5000 and when I started to collect old cameras I had hope to find one. Like always, destiny gives us everything we want, but always has a laugh before.

One day I found one at a flea market, just like the one I had used, only in a worse condition and with a filter in front of the lens. I was incredibly happy, it felt like finding an old school friend. I ran to the nearest photo store to buy a 36 exposures film (by this time, as you may conclude, I was a rich man!) and I started to shoot everything I saw. I distinctly remember of going to a medieval village and proudly taking pictures with the Yashica, although some of my friends were laughing at the artifact. That did not get to me, I displayed that look of superiority, the guy who knows of what a Yashinon 45/1.8 could do. I could hardly wait to have the film developed. 

When I got the pictures, my heart sank. Good God, what on earth had happened? The pictures were all blurry, out of focus, I couldn't tell what was in them. I was shot to heart, that camera destroyed in a few moments all the fond memories that I had! I an not a guy to be beaten on the first round, so I started to investigate the causes of that photographic disaster. I tested everything and eliminated possible causes as I went ( I was a sort of CSI of the camera world). In complete despair I turned my attention to the filter attached to the lens, it said +1 ...dioptry! The damn filter was a close up lens! The case was solved. I was embarrassed beyond imagination, I of all people, should have checked that filter. The worst was yet to come, when people started asking for the pictures that I had taken, this was the final humiliating blow.

I can live 100 years, but I will never, ever forget these Yashicas. The Lynx 5000 opened the doors of photography, after that, I was never the same person.

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