New Life for Yashica 44: Shoot 35mm
When my grandfather passed away in 2015 I inherited his camera collection. There were some beautiful specimens
in the mix. But the camera that stuck out to me was a petite mint colored Yashica 44. In a collection of bulky black
cameras this one was certainly unique. I instantly that imagined that it was my Pap’s favorite, because it was mine and I wanted a way to connect with him.
Right away I wanted more than anything to shoot everything with this camera. But there was a problem. This
adorable little camera shoots 127 film. To be completely honest, I had never even heard of 127 at that time. I always have a stockpile of 35mm (which was just a little too small) and some 120 (which was just a tad too large).
Knowing that this film would have to be
Fortunately, after reading a bit more about this diminutive TLR, a solution presented itself. You can convert these little babies to shoot 35mm. I won’t ordered from an online supplier I started searching. Looking at the prices I became a bit discouraged. The price per roll is about 10.00. And the film produced 10-16
images per roll. That just wasn’t going to cut it for me. When I start shooting I like to know I have plenty of shots at my disposal. I don’t want to have that internal debate about whether it’s worth one frame or not.
go step-by-step here but you only need a screwdriver to remove the film roller. Once you’ve removed the film roller, don’t forget to cover the film counter window. I neglected to do this and as a result there are squares on my first roll where part of the frame is completely blown out. Save the film roller bar and screws and if you decide you want to shoot 127 you can
easily put the film roller back. No harm done.
Because 127 film is bigger than 35mm you will expose over the sprocket area as well. The result is similar to Holga 35mm sprockets. Personally, I like the sprocket effect. It gives the images an authentic film feel, not like some cheesy film border slapped on a digital image. But it also means that you will need to make sure your subject is mostly centered in your image. Otherwise you will have sprockets running through your subject.
You will need a light meter to help you in your shooting with the 44 though. It doesn’t have one built in. You may also rely on the Sunny 16 Rule while you are out and about. But you will have to estimate if you get into anything less than bright sunshine.
I actually recommend converting the Yashica 44. It is a beautiful, sturdy camera that in my experience produces excellent images. Cameras should be used, not just displayed. With 127 film going extinct, 35mm will keep this little gem from becoming nothing more than a shelf queen.