Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Going All Retro Again

Photography is as much about the experience of taking pictures as it is about the results, I think. Your experience of taking pictures is strongly linked to the camera you are using, and occasionally, I like to set myself up with something that is somewhat vintage or retro. So last evening, I took my camera for a walk equipped with one of my favourites - the Industar 50-2 Lens from Russia, already covered here. There's quite a size difference between a Canon Rebel and the EOS 7D, so I'm not suggesting that I can convert the 7D into a pocket camera (although a belt pouch or purse is still a possibility). This little lens is truly amazing - it boggles me every time I see how sharp and full of rich contrasts the results are - and they still can be bought for $35 or less!

This time, I added a lot more to my retro experience. I got my Flip-Bac in the mail yesterday from Hong Kong. It's a hinged mirror you put on the back of your camera, so that you can see your LCD at waist level. Here it is mounted on my camera:

At first glance, it looks like I've added a flip-down LCD to my camera, which is not possible of course, and in fact, it's only a mirror, and as such, it makes your LCD image upside down and backwards! Kind of useless at first glance, but it was only seventeen bucks, and if nothing else, it makes the ultimate LCD Protector. But I saw a little more in it. I've often wondered what it would have been like for people who took pictures (and still do!) with one of these. It has a waist level viewfinder which makes the view upside down and backwards, and it's Tessar type lens is exactly like the Industar 50. So, did I manage to turn my DSLR into an instant Yashica-Mat?

In my own mind, yes I did, although I'm sure that bona-fide users would chuckle. But in terms of composing my pictures at waist level on a viewer that's upside down and backwards through a Tessar lens, I certainly nailed it! The only thing missing is the crank film advance (and the film). So what was it like? What if the Yashica-Mat were my only camera? Well, it would be a major adjustment, but back in the day, I'm sure people got accustomed to this way of shooting very quickly. I had real trouble at first especially with the camera's rotation - when one is used to levelling the camera to the right or left, and now the view is opposite, it's just like trying to steer a car backwards I suppose. But toward the end, I was quickly getting the hang of it.

It's just a lot of fun trying new things, and I will definitely be using this quite a lot, I think. Here are all of my keepers from this little adventure.

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