Blog

Vintage Camera With a Surprise

Recently I bought my girlfriend a present, it was a late 1950's Yashica A TLR vintage camera. I have a similar Yashica myself and she really likes to shoot with it, so I went in search of one in good condition and in full working order. Besides checking the local camera shops who deal in vintage cameras and the local flea markets, it was eBay that came up trumps. After a little bit of a bidding battle I secured the camera and it was shipped to me.

By the time it arrived it was very near to my girlfriend's birthday. I had very little time to check it, a quick visual scan of the lenses, viewfinder and knobs and dials seemed, to me, to show a fully functioning apparatus. So I wrapped it nicely and presented it.

She was thrilled! (I loved the look on her face as she opened the wrapping and once she realised what it was.) Then she started to look at it closely and turned the winder. It felt stiff, not as free wheeling as you should expect.

Was there an issue with the film winder? (Damn! I had given her a faulty present!)

A quick thought entered my head, as she was about to open the back to check the winder, was there still a roll of film in it? I stopped her in time. I went into a blacked out room (bathroom with no windows) and opened the back. Blinded and feeling with my fingers I could feel that there was indeed a roll of film still in the camera. I closed the back, rolled up the film to the end and took it out. It was a colour roll of 120 film. It looked a bit dated.

Were there photographs on the roll? Who's images were they? How old was the roll of film? Was it already exposed to daylight and all the images ruined? We were very curious, to say the least.

A few days later we went to our friendly camera shop. Our main guy there, Kes, loved the story and said he would make sure it was put thru as a special, delicate, roll. Handle with care!

I made contact with the eBay seller I had received the camera from. It was his father-in-law's old camera and had no idea how to work it or even that there was any film in it. He was as intrigued as we were. I promised to send him the photos and negatives, if there were any images on the film.

And so we waited...

Then Kes text us with amazing news. There were photos on the roll and they were old, maybe from around the late 1970's. We ran in to collect them and the negatives, and indeed there are 8 photos (from a roll of 12 shots) that look great. Here are two of the images (that don't have peoples faces in them):

Now the photos and negatives are in the post and on there way to the original owner's family. I wonder what their reaction will be.