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yashica electro 35 GX - lens quality + price

csab' józsa , Apr 21, 2004; 09:49 a.m.

Hi. Just wanted to ask, how does the 40mm f/1.7 "color yashinon DX" (stupid name, isn't it?) lens of the yashica electro 35 GX rangefinder compare to others in this style/category with fast lens (canonet ql 17, minolta hi-matic, olympus, konica, 45mm/1.7 and 1.4 yashinons on other yashica rf's etc...) Especially wide open or up to f/2.8 . I'm not asking about MTF graphs or official test reports, but for your personal experience about the overall satisfaction with respect to the lens (sharpness,contrast,distortion,bokeh,flare,colour,smell,taste,whateve r).

Also, what do you think a fair price would be for it, if it's clean and everything works okay?

I know that there are better rf's with fast lenses but this is what I could buy now, relatively cheap and safe. So please don't suggest buying a leica.

Thanks! and have a good light today.

Responses


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Walt Dunbar, Sr , Apr 21, 2004; 11:07 a.m.

Go ahead and buy the Yashica it's a good camera (provided you find one in fair>good condition). I bought mine off e-bay to carry in the truck for grab shots and it's been fine camera for that and more. My Canon Ql17 focuses faster but only by a bit and not by enough to make it better than my Yashica by any means. Overall I like the Yashica a lot. Look on e-bay to get a feel for a fair price for whatever you buy.

Jon Goodman , Apr 21, 2004; 12:13 p.m.

They are fine. I've had one for years and years, and they take excellent photos...particularly outdoors with ASA 100 or ASA 200 film. As for the price, I suppose it depends on how nice and what has been done to the camera. Here are two things that need attention in almost every one I run across: Light seals need replacing (they are always bad), and the viewfinder is foggy (not too difficult to clean). If you need light seals, I can send a kit for $6 to the USA and $6.80 to anywhere in the world that will re-seal as many as 6 of these cameras with ease. To see it, please go to E-Bay and search "by seller". Enter my ID...Interslice, and there it will be. As for the viewfinder cleaning, there are sites on the internet (Yashicaguy, for one) that deal with that. Otherwise, go right ahead and get one. I think you'll find the picture quality in with the Canonet, Minolta Hi-Matic for sure...not quite the quality of the Konica Auto S2, in my opinion, though. If you want to buy one that has been cleaned and resealed (with leather case), please let me know. I have one I've been meaning to put on E-Bay, but just haven't yet.

Jon

Lex Jenkins , Apr 21, 2004; 01:35 p.m.

I shot for a while with a predecessor to the Electro 35 GX when I was a kid. It took good, sharp photos. And this was at a stage in my development as a photographer that I could tell the difference - I'd also used a borrowed Pentax Spotmatic and Yashica Mat 124 (pre-G model).

Only reason I've passed on buying one recently is the size - it's among the largest of the consumer grade fixed lens RFs. But it's no monster, either.

BTW, if you decided to pop the top plate to clean inside, DO NOT try to removed the yellowing. That's not age. Yashica deliberately designed the viewfinder to be contrastier at some cost to brightness. It works, especially in dim lighting.

If you get one watch out you don't get hooked and start desperately fishing around the world for the accessories mated to the Electro 35 GX, such as the wide angle and tele adapters, etc.

Winfried Buechsenschuetz , Apr 21, 2004; 01:43 p.m.

I took my Electro35GX on a vacation last year (I had it with me the year before but the film got lost in the lab). It's a nice allrounder, with a very accurate light meter and a very decent lens. Different to most other rangefinders of this age it still has a DOF scale. I did not miss speed control very much since I mostly shoot landscapes and outdoors. And it even took nice pics inside churches with several seconds exposure (pressed firmly against the wall).

As mentioned by others, the viewfinder is a bit dim due to the choice of mirror material. On the other hand the rangefinder spot is much better visible than on many other cameras.

Usually they sell quite expensive due to their rarity. Fortunately they are much less prone to defects as the older 35G models. It does not have the notorious pad in the release mechanism, and its build quality is much better. It's a bit bigger than the Canonets etc but it is worth reserving some space.

The accessories for this camera are hard to find, I once ran across a tele aux lens which probably was made for this camera (or the ElectroM5, I am not sure), and I have seen close up adaptors selling for astromonical prices.

csab' józsa , Apr 21, 2004; 02:09 p.m.

Thanks for the advices; so it seems, overally there's a positive oppinion about this fangerinder.

Walt, what do you mean by "faster focusing" canon? Is the ql17's lens with USM motor? :) Seriously, you mean you have to turn less for the same amount of distance step, or you mean it's easier to find the perfect focus through the rf ?

Jon, what do you plan to ask for your GX? Forget it, i'll send you an e-mail about it.

Lex, Winfried, yes i've just seen one on e-bay with tele and wide accessories... crazy! I will not get hooked since i consider buying it for its size(?), simplicity and quality for occasional low-light shots and abusive environment:).
BTW, i've read the manuals on the web, but it's still not clear: do I lock the exposure settings by pressing half-way the shutter or I just activate the meter? Because, if I lock it, i can live with the aperture-priority-only "feature" of it.
Cheers.

Winfried Buechsenschuetz , Apr 22, 2004; 03:48 a.m.

Unfortuately there is no way to lock the light meter on the Electro35 cameras. They do not have a mechanical needle trap mechanism like the Canonet etc. They even respond to light changes during exposure - a feature well praised by Olympus when they introduced light metering on the film plane.

Pressing the release button simply activates the meter.

There are very few cameras indicating the automatically selected shutter speed in the viewfinder, such as the Zeiss-Ikon S310/S312, VoigtlaenderVF101 and Agfa Selectronic. But they also do not have any possiblitity to lock the light meter. For backlighting shots I put my finger partially over the CdS cell of the Selectronic until the speed indicator went 1 step up.

Walt Dunbar, Sr , Apr 25, 2004; 10:50 a.m.

"Walt, what do you mean by "faster focusing" canon? Is the ql17's lens with USM motor? :) Seriously, you mean you have to turn less for the same amount of distance step, or you mean it's easier to find the perfect focus through the rf ? "

What I mean is (for my old eyes) the Canon "seems' to focus a bit faster due the the lens turn ratio,i.e. the yashica takes more movment for a given shot to focus. To me it's really a non-issue but I wanted to give you choices.

Lex Jenkins , Apr 25, 2004; 04:02 p.m.

Besides the Canonet GIII QL17 possibly having a shorter focus throw (rotation from minimum focus to infinity) - tho' I don't know whether this is a fact - some folks do like the lever/knobbie thingie attached to the left side of the Canonet's focus ring. It's designed to allow quick focusing by gripping the lever between the forefinger and middle finger.

Personally, tho', I've always found the Canonet's focusing to be a bit awkward and would prefer it without the focus "assist".

Also, a shorter focus throw isn't always a good thing. It can make for twitchy focusing and difficulty in achieving precise alignment of the rangefinder patch.

Conrad Drake , Apr 30, 2004; 09:37 a.m.

I have and have had several Yash electro range finders - GS, GSN, 35CC and a few others. Also have both sets of aux lenses.

My favorite are the larger models - nicest feel (the 35CC may have a glorious lense & be the most "valuable" but the shutter action feels/sounds cheap in comparison).

Prices are a little all over the place, but these cameras are plentiful & _should_ be cheap. Accessories are worth what someone is willing to pay.

If you're shopping in person, make sure the camera goes "clunk" as you wind the film on. O'wise something is broken. Try and take a battery (and adapter if needed) to ensure metering is OK.


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