5 frames with...

5 Frames With A Yashica 35 – By Nigel Cliff

July 13, 2019

A friend of a friend was clearing out some stuff after her Grandad died and found this Yashica 35 – it was subsequently passed onto me. I was confused at first as I only new about the Electro 35, and this wasn’t one of them but thanks to Mike Eckman I found out about it’s history. You can read Mike’s post about it here

So a 60 year old rangefinder, but from a reputable name, what would it be like? I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a real looker, but beauty is not only skin deep, as it feels like quality in the hands too. Well firstly it’s built like a tank, this thing could take on a Zenith in a knocking in nails competition and win! But unlike the Russian, it’s not at all agricultural. The focusing is smooth the non-clicked apertures move easily, as do the clicked shutter speeds, and the single throw lever wind.

If there is a fault it’s the rangefinder patch that is rather small – this is no Leica M6 – but with care, very accurate focusing is possible and so every shot I took came out sharp.

The 45mm f2.8 Yashinon lens is crisp and quite contrasty, meaning no need for much post processing work. It gave some very pleasing colours too. There’s no meter but after the settings were transferred from my venerable Euromaster, the shots from my first roll of Kodak Pro Image 100 (Courtesy of last years Emulsive Secret Santa) came out really well exposed so it appears shutter speeds and apertures are pretty well spot on.

I’m beginning to get a liking for rangefinders, and this one is so nice to use, and gives such fine results, I think it’s going to be a keeper!

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  • Reply
    July 13, 2019 at 10:54 am

    The Yashica manual rangefinders are very charming; I have a couple (or so) Js and a couple (or so) YKs. I can’t remember seeing the 35 before, and according to Mike Eckman they are in fact rather rare.

  • Reply
    Chris Pattison
    July 13, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Hello Nigel,
    Thanks for posting about the Yashica. I second your opinion on these late 50’s Yashica rangefinders. I have a slightly later Yashica 35 YL; so well made and a fine lens too. I have a YL with a 45mm f/1.9 lens. Apparently, they came with an f/2.8 too. The quality of the images it has made have been a very pleasant surprise.
    What stately home is that by the way?

    • Reply
      Nigel Cliff
      July 13, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      First one is Witley Court second is Himley Hall

  • Reply
    J Clark
    July 13, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Himley Hall! Well I never 😀.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    What a nice little camera, and the optical quality looks fine. Is this a fixed lens camera? Do you know if it is a Tessar-type of optic?

    • Reply
      Nigel Cliff
      July 13, 2019 at 4:51 pm

      It’s a fixed 45mm f2.8 Yashinon but I have no idea if it’s a Tessar

      • Reply
        Roger B.
        July 13, 2019 at 8:08 pm

        This lens had a long lifespan, appearing on the Yashica Minister series and also on the Minimatic. It can be found on the MG-1 which dates to the 1970s. Regrettably, Arthur Cox’s “Photographic Optics”, perhaps THE reference book on pre-1960s lens designs, does not include any Yashinon glass.

  • Reply
    Martin Bruntnell
    July 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Yes and they were both owned at one time by the Earl of Dudley.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Definitely a keeper. Gorgeous images, thank you for sharing them.

  • Reply
    Luis Sandoval
    July 15, 2019 at 6:08 am

    Looks like an amazing lens to me.

  • Reply
    Michael McDermott
    July 15, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    It is rare to see something Yashica when it comes to rangefinders and SLRs. I have that Yashica plus all the other Yashica rangefinders and M42 SLRs in a collection. Just happen to like an underdog as it is not the first camera I would go to as that would be Minolta. Yashinon lenses aren’t bad even if they are few in number. Yashica also had strange taste in batteries to power many of their cameras.

  • Reply
    Terry B
    August 1, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Nigel, I’ve just acquired a 35 with the f1.9 lens, but yet to be delivered. I like the look of it as it takes some design clues from my Contax IIa, IMO at least.
    Lovely images you posted here.
    Paul Sokk, in his extensive Yashica TLR website, has expanded it lately and has a copious history of the Yashica 35 and variants. I’m sure that you will find the info useful.

    • Reply
      Nigel Cliff
      August 1, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for th link Terry I;ll have a read

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