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Old but gold: Capturing snapshots of retro Tokyo with a twin-lens reflex camera

This photo was taken in the Asakusa district of Tokyo's Taito Ward. Signs warning vehicles to not enter the path that leads to Sensoji Temple and for people to get off their horses is seen. (Mainichi/Takuma Nakamura)=Click/tap photo for more images.

TOKYO -- When consumer durables like cameras start to show their years, they tend to be left collecting dust as the high-tech market marches on. Does an old camera have what it takes to capture the nostalgic sights of Tokyo? Ditching the single-lens reflex camera I normally use for my job, this old soldier of a reporter who grew up commuting by locomotive, drinking powdered skim milk and eating whale meat took my classic twin-lens reflect camera to the streets to find out.

    A man walks along Omoide Yokocho in the Nishi-Shinjuku area of Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, differing from Shinjuku Golden Gai in the Kabukicho area. (Mainichi/Takuma Nakamura)=Click/tap photo for more images.

    As the name suggests, a twin-lens reflex camera -- the kind granddads surely loved -- has two lenses. The bottom lens captures the picture and the top one serves as a viewfinder. Looking through it, the image is reversed left to right, which can result in a lopsided picture if you're not used to it. Strangely enough the past all came back to me and I remembered it well -- though admittedly I can't even recall what I had for dinner last night.

    The lens of the camera I used is a little cloudy, so shooting into the sun results in flare and the images tend to lack sharpness. But there's still that unique flavor to them.

    This photo taken in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward along the old Tokaido road shows the pump of a public well, one of several that remain scattered about. (Mainichi/Takuma Nakamura)=Click/tap photo for more images.

    When people age, their bodies no longer move like they used to. But perhaps older readers out there can fish out their old gear and find out that an accumulation of experience -- and perhaps a bit of cunning -- actually count for something, as I found with the images here.

    Equipment used: Yashica Mat-124G

    Yashica Mat-124G (Mainichi/Takuma Nakamura)=Click/tap photo for more images.

    Sales of this camera, the last of Yashica's light and compact twin-lens reflect cameras, began in 1971 and ended in the 1980s. The concept of this camera differed greatly from that of the Mamiya twin-lens reflex camera that allowed lenses to be changed.

    (Story and photos by Takuma Nakamura, Mainichi Shimbun Publishing)

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