Once upon a time there was a furcon

It was at the Eurofurence furry convention that i first got my photography interest really sparked, and I started to catch on to the professionals, bought new gear, enjoyed it and loved it to bits really. One time i felt the curious cat in me and took my Yashica MAT 124G with me to EF to shoot some nice 400 ISO Fomapan 6x6 negatives! As I set up and got all my stuff in place, my settings into the camera and metered the two speedlights that i set up, i just had to overcome my social fears and actually drag some suiters and people to me for some pics! As the evening passed on I got some nicely framed pretty suits on film and stuffed my rolls back into my bag, all was fine. When i got home and developed my stuff (using Fomapan for anyone curious!) i found that every single frame was completely underexposed, which very much surprised me because all my metering was double-checked and validated, as well as my meter was on par with others i calibrated it with! As I scanned those frames just for the sake of not losing images from a con, i noticed they were not purely black, but rather very very dim! I talked to a photography friend and told him which setup i had, both of us were puzzled for a while. So we sat down and went through all the settings and found the culprit! The Yashica, like many other older analog cameras, has a flash setting for pre-release. That means that if you’re using old flash bulbs which need to ignite their magnesium wires inside, which in turn takes about 100ms or so, you need to set the camera to M, which is flash pre-release. That means that the leaf shutter is delayed by about 100ms after you press the shutter for the shutter to gain full light output. Modern flashes like my Yongnou brand ones are quasi-instant with their light curve, so you don’t need to set anything on the MAT 124G.

So what happened?

Since my camera was set to “M” which is pre-release of the flash, my flash fired 100ms before the leaf shutter opened. That means that for the camera itself, no flash was illuminating the scene at all. Natural light managed to stop my negatives from being pitch black, but rather super dim.

Know your gear and settings! ⚡