Mods & DIY

A path from, and back to, a Yashica 40mm f/1.7 lens – by Anders Bjørn Jensen

I have been an amateur photographer since I was 13 years old (in 1982) when my first camera was a now long-since-bricked Yashica Electro 35 GX. As dead as it was though, my path as a photographer has taken me back to that camera… or at very least, it’s taken me back to the lens off the front of it.

Over the years since first using that camera, I have been through a lot of analogue gear – mostly centred around the Canon FD system. Fast forward to the start of the 2000’ies when digital came into the market, I bought a Canon G5 and progressed from there. But alongside, I still kept on buying lenses for the Canons FDs (F-1, A-1, EF and a couple of T-70 and T-90 bodies).

Back then, when the digital market went off, nobody thought that the old manual lenses would be of any use, so they were cheap – and therefore I stocked up on my old dream-lenses, buying dirt-cheap. I bought the 85mm f/1.2 – 55mm f/1.2 ASPH and 135mm f/2 but to mention a few, I seriously developed a case of GAS.

Later I went mirrorless with a Panasonic GH1 and adapters so I could mount my old FD glass – It was a compromise though, being Micro 4/3’rds I only “used” half of the focal length. So when the GH1 eventually died, I bought a Sony A7S – I have always enjoyed street photography, landscapes and everyday snapshots – ie. never using a flash and always shoot with natural lighting, so it made a good choice.

Having moved to the full frame Sony a7s, I could pursue my old dream of using fast primes. To this day I do not own a single zoom – or autofocus lens – on behalf of an advice I was given years ago by a professional photojournalist, who said “you don’t need a zoom – you have feet”. My collection of primes ranges from 12mm to 500mm – yes that is a lot of glass to carry around – but the benefit is that based on the planned shoot, one has to make an active decision beforehand as to what to one should take along.

Over the years I have come to appreciate what I see as my driving motivation in taking pictures – the ability to isolate the central motive of the shot. This requires lenses that can render a shallow depth of field. I know, this prerequisite means that I have to use fast primes of different focal lengths, but as I mentioned before – thanks to the advent of the internet and my trawlings through such sites as Ebay and local equivalents – my GAS has stocked me up on such items. The benefit has been that I have been able to acquire some of the best lenses for my specific purpose, enabling me to produce exactly the pictures that I imagine beforehand and want.

The ability to use the full range of my old glass revitalised my enjoyment for taking pictures, and I became even more hooked on using legacy lenses, expanding my inventory to include M39, M42 and Leica M-mount. Then one day last year I found my (first) old camera, that aforementioned long-bricked Yashica.

Recounting it still had a great 40mm f/1.7 lens, a sinister plan evolved. I butchered the camera, removing the lens, disabled the central shutter in it, and with the help of a friend 3D-printed an adapter so that It could be mounted on a Sony E-mount. Here find a few photos taken with this magnificent lens – albeit digitally – even though I know it is not film, it’s digital, but with a twist…

Lately I have gone deeper into digital archaeology, having been given a Canon Ixus v2 from 2002 (fully functional) – glorious 2 megapix, I call it my digital Lomo. Fun for another time…

Best regards.

Some of my pictures can bee seen here:
https://500px.com/laminatministeren
https://www.instagram.com/laminatministeren/

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14 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Lluís Bussé
    December 10, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Very nice!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Louis Sousa
    December 10, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Beautiful renderings.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 10, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Pete
    December 10, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Wow! Looks like a great lens! Fun photos too. I love trying to see what one can achieve with legacy glass on digital.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 10, 2019 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks Pete!

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    Reply
    Tom Sheppard
    December 10, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Yashinon DX lenses were so under-rated for soooo long.
    They are starting to be re-discovered for the wonderful optics that they are.
    Yours does mono particularly well.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I agree with your fondness for Canon FD, as I have it myself.
    Happy snaps
    Tom

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 10, 2019 at 10:05 pm

      Thank you Tom!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Nigel Haycock
    December 10, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Interesting; the resulting pictures look great! It your mount design available for download?

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 10, 2019 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks Nigel – I’ll ask my mate if the file is available, you see I’m not the 3D-magician 😉

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    Reply
    Andrew Bearman
    December 11, 2019 at 1:53 am

    Nice bit of butchery! Like very much the beer-drinking B/W shot, how the folks in back dissolve into bokeh abstraction.
    Have you any other Yashinon favorites, maybe of the M42 easier-to-mount variety?

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 11, 2019 at 6:23 am

      Thanks Andrew – unfortunately I have no knowledge about other Yashinon lenses, but would like to get my hands on 1 (or three …) in the future 😉

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Manu
    December 11, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    this is so awesome, I love the lenses of the electro´s and I´m currently trying to do the same with a 45mm 1.7 from a dead GSN but fuji x mount… maybe I´ll modify an m39 adapter to fit the lens to.
    I agree on the beer drinking shot, it looks great!

    • Avatar
      Reply
      laminatministeren
      December 11, 2019 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you Manu!

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