5 Frames in Nottingham with a Yashica FX-D and Contax Zeiss 85mm f1.4 – By Ellis Thomas

Last November, my partner and I took a trip from Cardiff to Nottingham for a Weezer tribute show at The Bodega.  I usually shoot on a Contax 139Q but it was away for a service, so took my Yashica FX-D, which I got on eBay in a bit of a state. The FX-D was perfect as it’s pretty much the same camera as the 139Q underneath, has all the features you could ever need, and works with my Contax Zeiss lenses.

The first port of call was to get some food. After some bone-crushing indecision we landed on Pizza Punks, which is a pizza restaurant, would you believe? While waiting for a table to come up, I scoped out the venue through the viewfinder of my Yashica FX-D, and shot a single frame.

High speed film and a max aperture of f1.4 meant this airborne medium crust base stayed both sharp ‘n xtra crispy.

A staff member scurried over to our table and mentioned that Pizza Punks needed some nice photos to share on social media. He explained that if I can supply him with such pictures, he would give us half off our bill. A side quest. Having just collected my new Contax 85mm lens on the way to Nottingham, I thought this might be the perfect way to become drunkenly acquainted with it, and accepted.

Paddling in the Void.

After a micro-mountain of half price pizza and drinks my partner and I fell down the street to The Bodega, to witness Nottingham’s finest performing some of Weezer’s finest. We were a little late to the show so missed the first artist, but up next was my pals in George Gadd & The Aftermath, performing Weezer’s 1994 ‘Blue Album’.

Good times to be had focussing at f1.4 in the dark while being bounced around by Nottingham’s biggest Weezer fans.

Gotta say, aside from the fact he’s one of my best friends, George and his band blew my miniscule brain. The venue was more packed than I had ever seen it before, and from ‘My Name is Jonas’ all the way through to the crescendo of ‘Only in Dreams’, the audience was seemingly entranced.  And with Blue being my one of my favourite albums of all time, I was too.

While I had never shot a live show before (nor a pizza shop for that matter), the first results out of the 85mm f1.4 made me very happy. The little Yashica also didn’t let me down once. I genuinely think the FX-D is one of the biggest bargains in 35mm SLRs – and I got this one (with a lens) for less than the price of 2 create-your-own pizzas.

Shreducation 101.

Film developed by Express Imaging in Cardiff, and digitized at home using a Nikon Z6.

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10 thoughts on “5 Frames in Nottingham with a Yashica FX-D and Contax Zeiss 85mm f1.4 – By Ellis Thomas”

    1. Thank you! 85mm 1.4 can be a nightmare to nail focus wide open, but thankfully I got lucky on these ones 🙂

  1. Mads Christensen

    Ouchs, nice photos that brings back memories of using the same lens on my Rollei SL35. 3 aperture blades only. I decided to sell that lens, and three other lenses (18mm, 25mm and 55mm) that I could not make work on my Leica SL camera. Anybody out there with the same experience or even better, a solution for how to make it work?

    1. They’re amazing lenses – according to Google there are Rollei QBM to Leica L mount adapters you can buy quite cheaply. Have you tried that?

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