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rubber, meet road. the quality of the yashikor lens.

Affen Kot , Sep 10, 2004; 01:03 a.m.

as loaded as it might be to post this in the MF forum, this question is mainly for the yashica 635 users out there, and it has to do with the yashikor 3 element 80mm lens. please excuse the exposition... this coming week i'll be spending some time in what's left of florida; and while there, i'd like to take some long overdue portraits of the 'rents, whom i seldom get to see.

for this task, i can either use a nikon 50mm 1.8 on my N80, or a newly purchased and CLA'd yashica 635 with the 3 element yashikor 80mm.

possibly a strange question comparing apples to bullets, but i was wondering which system would in the end offer better (read, sharper) A4 enlargements? (aside: i'm shooting with technical pan and delta 100.) the 50mm 1.8 is so very sharp, but on a small format body. the yashica offers 6x6 negs, but from what i've read, also is of lower quality.

will medium format always beat 35mm, or is the nikkor sharp enough, and the yashikor soft enough, to level things out considerably?

could someone who has experience with the 635 (and preferably also the 50mm nikkor), or who's first name is kelly or bob, please give a comparison/recommendation between the two kits, or expound upon personal experience with the 635's image quality? half of the resources that i've read on the internet just make reference to the fact that the 3 element yashikor is of lower quality than the 4 element yashinon, and the other half seem to be zealots that only rate equipment in extremes (a lá epinions.com, where something invariably either rates a 1/5 or a 5/5). can anyone offer some thoughts? thanks in advance. cheers...affen


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Dale Dickerson , Sep 10, 2004; 01:56 a.m.

At f11 even a poor example of a three element lens in MF will beat a very sharp 35mm lens. I would use the yashikor.

Pavel Pinkas , Sep 10, 2004; 02:17 a.m.

Any good or entertaining excuse why you cannot do both?

Nikkor glass is excellent but triplet lenses have lots of magic and might be actually better choice for portraits than high performance lens.

One additional thing to consider is the fact that you've just bought the 'ca. If you are not familiar with this kind of camera, you should consider to run a test roll first and shoot a backup set with the Nikon anyway.

If it would be me, I'd use both systems and make the comparison myself.

Reuben C , Sep 10, 2004; 02:29 a.m.

Will you be using that 635 with 120, or with 35mm film?

Your Nikkor is one of the sharpest normal lenses ever made. Maybe the sharpest. The predecessor (the 2.0 H) had that honor, and the 1.8 is alleged to be even sharper.

If you're using Tech Pan in 35mm, and Delta 100 in 120, with those two lenses, then, given proper technique (no camera shake, optimum aperture, proper exposure and development), your 35mm will likely beat the hell out of your 120.

If you're using 120 Tech Pan, then you're never going to approach optimum conditions. The film is capable of much more resolution than the lens can deliver.

Keep in mind that optimum aperture for the Nikkor will be in the 4.0 to 8.0 range. For the Yashinon, you'll want to keep it at 11 to 16. A Yashikor (Tessar formula) will give you a couple of stops more freedom for its optimum aperture, and it'll be sharper than the triplet. Still, I doubt that it will approach what you can do with the Nikkor 1.8/Tech Pan combo.

For "normal" situations, where the film, rather than the lens is the limiting factor (these days, that's most situations, since they keep killing off the slow emulsions), 120 will out perform 35mm in most cases, given similar conditions.

If you're using something like Plus-X or Tri-X you'll find that you'll have much better tonality from the 2 1/4 negative (regardless of resolution). The bigger the negative (the less the magnification when printing), the smoother the tonality.

Stuart Moxham - Finland , Sep 10, 2004; 02:31 a.m.

I have a rather similar setup to you. Canon EOS 50mm 1.8 and a yashica A (3 element yashikor). I wondereded too if I was better off using the 50mm cannon because the lens is much sharper than the yashikor 80mm. To be honest I am very happy with the results from the Yashikor lens. I can shoot HP5(400isoB&W) and get images with tonality that I could not get with the cannon and the smaller format. As for the sharpness I don't see any problems in my prints. For portraits of your parents the yashikor will be fine. If you shoot it wide open it will be pleasingly soft for portraits but stopped down a bit is sharp enough.

In terms of grain the 6x6 neg will blow away the 35mm neg if you are shooting films like TriX or HP5 in both formats. So for I have only used HP5 in my yashica I print never any bigger than 8x10 usually I print smaller 8x8 inches full frame ( I like square prints) and I have not seen any grain yet.

On the whole I use the yashica over the cannon when ever it is practical to do so. It is not a camera that you can use for everything tight headshots difficult to do, macro just would not happen and sports may not be worth the hassle. But full length and half length portraits, some landscape general scene shots all work well with the fixed 80mm lens. Plus the Yashica offers an alternative way of working to the electonic Canon.

I would say enjoy the Yashica for what it is don't expect it be something it is not and you will get on fine with it as an alternative to 35mm with the advantage of finer grain and smoother tones for a given film you may well find you prefer it to 35mm.

Hope this helps you somehow and you enjoy using your Yashica as much as I do.


Reuben C , Sep 10, 2004; 02:31 a.m.

Yipes, please reverse "Yashinon" and "Yashikor" in what I said above!

G Thomas , Sep 10, 2004; 03:18 a.m.

I have a YashicaMat with the Yashinon, but it appears uncoated. It seems very prone to flair in situations that my N80-50/1.8 would not have any trouble. Just something to consider.

Also, does anyone have any idea of the evolution of coatings on the Yashicas? I'm thinking my YashicaMat must be from the early sixties when lens coating was rudimentary or even non-existent on many lenses.

By the way, I love the YashicaMat anyway for the $60 I paid thru ebay. Clean perfectly functioning camera, the Copal shutter purrs.

Michael Bradtke , Sep 10, 2004; 11:07 a.m.

You might want to see what the next one is going to do before you come to Florida. It looks like we are going to get hit again on the 14th.

Affen Kot , Sep 10, 2004; 11:49 a.m.

this is all very helpful, including the weather forecast.

unfortunately, the yashica is in the US waiting for my arrival, so i can't test it out ahead of time; and because on a given day one can never tell if the "one carry on and a personal item" airline policy will be enforced, i am hesitant to take the N80 and risk having to check a soft-sided camera bag on the way back (i'd never get on with two lowepro nova 5's).

deep down i was somewhat hoping that the general concensus would overwhelmingly favor the 635... blast. looks like i might take the N80 with, and just ship the yashica to myself DHL/Deutsche Post.

cheers to all...affen

Gary E , Sep 10, 2004; 02:24 p.m.


I have the Yashica D with the 3 element Yashikor. The 120 slides I've got back was sharp but not as sharp as my Fuji GW670. I would say it's not as sharp on the corners at f3.5-5.6; at f8-f11 is great. I don't think you'll have any problem with 8x8 or 8x10 (around A4 size) prints. I also use the Nikkor 50/2.0 which is sharp as well, but looking through a loop on a 35mm is different than 120mm; easier to see details on a 120mm.

Also, if you're going to shoot landscape with filters you'll have to get the bay1 stuff and shift from the viewing lens to the taking lens. Depends on how you'll be shooting, this might be an inconvenience.



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