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I'm looking for a camera that shoots comparable to the Yashica t4 super/ Nikon l35af. I love the sharpness the camera puts into the photo and the lighting with the flash is the look I want for a magazine I am working on. Is there a certain film that goes into the camera to get that super sharp look or is it just any regular film?

http://www.blog.gunnerstahl.us

All of this man's pictures are the look I'm trying to achieve with film. I love the way the picture looks.

  • If that's meant to be an example of a sharp photo, it's not very good! – Philip Kendall Mar 23 '17 at 12:49
  • Just realized I used the wrong pic – Taylor Mar 23 '17 at 13:06
  • Is "sharpness" really what you mean? Or is the high-contrast from the direct flash? – mattdm Mar 23 '17 at 14:00
  • I'm trying to get pretty close to the high contrast from the direct flash. That's what I meant to say – Taylor Mar 23 '17 at 14:15
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Gunnar Stahl's photographs aren't really super sharp. The Nikon L35AF does have a pretty decent lens — in some ways, these cameras are a little closer to the modern Fujifilm X100 series of digital cameras than they are to the cheap drugstore point and shoot film cameras. There might be others, but since that model is currently readily available on eBay for prices ranging from $50-$120, why not just get that one?

I also think that what you're really seeing is not the sharpness per se, but the stark contrast given by the on-camera flash. Especially for automatic point and shoot cameras, the exact character of this depends a lot on the individual model — both in the flash power, its positioning, and the metering used. So, again, if you like this particular look, I'd suggest going for that specific camera. (Or the Yashica T4 Super D, which I assume you are interested in because of Terry Richardson rather than Gunnar Stahl — a little more pricy and in my humble opinion less interesting than the older Nikon.)

Stahl's overall aesthetic is casual, unstaged, in-the-moment, and lo-fi. (See his five favorite portraits for some examples.) I'd be a little surprised if he uses an expensive / pro film; that would be kind of against the whole thing. I bet it's Kodak Gold or Ultramax, or Fujifilm Superia.

Of course, the main thing you need is access, and interesting friends to photograph. From a 2017 interview, Stahl explains:

I’m mainly using a Nikon L35AF at the moment. I have a bunch of cameras that I just buy and test out throughout the year. I’m going to switch up soon.

Along those lines, I'd suggest not trying to copy the look exactly, but to find a garage-sale camera that appeals to you and experiment with it. Discover what look it produces, and decide if you like it, try some others....

  • This is a perfect answer! Thank you so much. Now I'm not experienced with film, how do I go about getting this pictures onto my computer? – Taylor Mar 23 '17 at 14:56
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    @Taylor That might make a good whole new question. In short, there are four ways: 1) get the film developed and scan the negatives (harder these days than 20 years ago), 2) get the pictures printed and scan the prints (easy), 3) have the place where you have them developed also give you scans (pricey, plus often low-quality scans), 4) have negatives developed, send to a dedicated scanning service (longest turnaround). But, yeah, post this as a new question and I'll elaborate. – mattdm Mar 23 '17 at 15:04
  • Okay I'll get right on that – Taylor Mar 23 '17 at 15:17
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You could try Kodak Ektar 100. I have to say this film really has a visible improvement on sharpness compared to low cost films. If you want even more sharpness, I think medium format is the format to stick with.

I'm not sure about the sharpness of Yashica t4 / Nikon l35af, but I assume that it is not a great deal compared to more modern lenses or SLR Systems. If you wanna improve the sharpness via the lens you should think about switching to a SLR, maybe Canon A-1 which you can get usually around 100€ with a standard lens. Also, for sharpness try not to shoot at extreme apertures.

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    I think that's a fine recommendation for a sharp film, but I don't think that's actually what's going on in the photographs Taylor wants to emulate. – mattdm Mar 23 '17 at 14:02
  • From what I understand, the photographer in the link I posted is shooting with a yashica T4 super. They are super pricy and was looking for a cheaper alternative film point and shoot to achieve that high contrast look – Taylor Mar 23 '17 at 14:20
  • @Taylor You might be able to find an Olympus Stylus Epic for cheaper. I had that and a T4 Super back in the day, and other than the cool top viewfinder on the Yashica, I liked the Olympus better for keeping in a pocket. The clamshell design makes for a fast one-handed draw. :) – junkyardsparkle Mar 24 '17 at 0:23

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