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06-13-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
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Is Yashica off brand?

is the yashica brand an off brand? i notice they dont seem to be as wanted as other cameras. and just curios as to if the were a company that was looked up to back in the day or if they were just a secondary to nikon canon pentax minolta etc.

06-13-2012, 05:49 PM   #2
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There were Zeiss lenses made in C/Y mount, so I don't think you can call it a secondary brand. They just didn't have as big a following in the US. C/Y lenses are easily adapted to M4/3, Nex, and Canon and can be made to work with Pentax. The early Yashicas were M42.

I think their downfall was the introduction of auto focus. Both Contax and Yashica went with incompatible mounts, but Yashica continued to produce manual focus models for another 20 years or so.

Last edited by boriscleto; 06-13-2012 at 05:57 PM.
06-13-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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There are early M42 Yashica lenses but mounting a later C/Y Yashica lens on a DSLR can require some doing. (The Zeiss lenses are superb but practically require taking out a mortgage to own one!) I don't think there is a C/Y mount DSLR or plans for one. There was one under 6MP a long time ago I think but it was an expensive thing to acquire, probably still is. The adapters for C/Y lenses aren't really great except for one really expensive one from Leitax, I think they're called. Rico has modded them and I've seen a few mentions of handy people doing it elsewhere too but it's not as easy as putting a Pentax lens on some cameras is.

I like Yashica. Next to Pentax they're my favorite brand actually. They made some great SLR's in their day. I have 2 film SLR's that I use an FX2 and an FRI. The DSB lenses are about as good as most Sears lenses. The ML's are a lot better and are beginning to command more money as adapters for them get better. They're not all quite Takumar level I don't think but they're close in some instances. It really depends upon what body you're going after. The FX3 and FX2 can be had very cheaply actually. You start looking at the FRI and FRII though and you can expect to pay a fair bit as they are more advanced models and people like those more. As Micro cameras take hold though I expect the Yashica glass will get pretty pricey.

Adapters for DSLR, not so easy, adapters for Micro 4/3, much easier, and they could have a profound effect on market value of Yashica lenses eventually. I have noticed an increase the past year or so already. I don't really like Micro cameras, but I have thought of getting a cheap Olympus body and an adapter just so I could use my C/Y lenses digitally. Film developing is getting more difficult here and I don't really like sending my film away to be developed. I don't have room for a dark room though.

I'd really like one of these at some point I think....

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-E-PL1-Interchangeable-Digital-Black/dp/B0035LB...ds=Olympus+PEN

I've seen bodies as low as $150 used and there is a pretty good c/y adapter for like $20 out there. The reviews on this camera are mostly good. There are others out there that you can get a c/y adapter for but this is by far the most affordable body that's got at least that many MP's. I'd really like a Lumix actually but I can't afford one of those as easily.

Last edited by magkelly; 06-13-2012 at 06:14 PM.
06-13-2012, 06:03 PM   #4
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Yashica was a popular brand in the late 60's and 70's. The Electro 35 of the mid 60's (1965 I believe) was claimed to be the world's first electronically controlled camera.
Their medium format TLRs (like the Mat 124 series) were popular back in the day as they were "affordable" compared to other MF. Their 35mm rangefinders and SLRs were competent. But it was more oriented to the consumer market and competition was brutal in the 70's.
In 1983 it was sold to Kyocera and in 2005 Kyocera stopped using the name. The name was sold so it may re-surface again, who knows.

06-13-2012, 06:17 PM   #5
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I would say the Yashica Electro 35s remain one of the best and most affordable ways to try out a rangefinder. A lot of fun for street photography. Really helpful are the depth of field markings that allow for zone focusing and the whisper quiet leaf shutter. Check out the Yashica groups on Flickr to see some pretty nifty photos.
06-13-2012, 06:17 PM   #6
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Yashica was known as high-volume / low-price in general. But as was noted, some of their equipment performed very well. I have a Yashica 50(?) f1.4 M42 lens that in some ways gives nicer images than my Takumar 50 1.4 lenses. Doesn't have equal mechanical build though.
I saw a lot more of their cheap 35mm fixed-lens rangefinders than SLRs, and their 6x6 TLRs were seen a lot too, back in the 60s-70s.

In the mid-50s I believe they also bought Nicca, who made very nice Leica copies.
06-13-2012, 08:09 PM   #7
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Yashica was never a 'major' like Kodak, Pentax, Leica, Nikon, Hassy, Minolta, but it was never an 'off-brand' either. As mentioned, many of their TLR and RF cameras were great favorites. I miss my Yashicamat 124G; I won't give up my GSN Electro 35. Many of their SLR lenses are superb and highly desired; some lines, like the DSB (in C/Y mount) are competent but not glorious. Two of my fave Fifties are the planar ML 50/1.4 (C/Y) and the DX 50/1.7 (M42).

I have modded some C/Y lenses. It's very easy, about the same as modding Olympus OM mounts. The problem: the lens bayonet blades are a little thicker than the space under the camera mount lugs. The solution: use a Dremel metal-cutting blade to shave the lens bayonet blades slightly. It takes about 5 minutes per lens, including setup and cleanup.

I do NOT recommend modding expensive Contax-Zeiss C/Y lenses, not unless you KNOW you'll never sell it. Leitax has a C/Y-->PK kit -- not cheap, but worthwhile for a costly lens. But I have no qualms with Yashica C/Y lenses. I just wish they were more affordable -- word has gotten about about their quality. Oh bother.

Last edited by RioRico; 06-13-2012 at 11:39 PM.
06-13-2012, 08:52 PM   #8
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My "new" Yashica 35 GX Terrificrangefinder camera, pretty small, 40mm f/1.7 lens, aperture priority, quiet shutter, what's not to like?




06-13-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Their medium format TLRs (like the Mat 124 series) were popular back in the day as they were "affordable" compared to other MF.
...and still are.

I own a couple of Yashica Lynx rangefinders and when I was in high school, I would have really liked to have owned a TL Electro-X SLR. They were cutting edge back in the day due to the use of integrated circuits for the meter.


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06-13-2012, 10:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Yashica was never a 'major' like Kodak, Pentax, Leica, Nikon, Hassy, Minolta, but it was never an 'off-brand' either.
Exactly. Their market status for 35mm SLRs was a notch above Mamiya/Sekor and about equal to Canon at the time and a notch below the pro brands such as Pentax, Nikon, Konica, Topcon, and Minolta. (Some might also slip Exakta into that last list, but that brand was in a terminal slide by 1969...)


Steve
06-13-2012, 10:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
In the mid-50s I believe they also bought Nicca, who made very nice Leica copies.
This is true. I have handled a Yashica-branded Nicca and it was a very nicely-made camera.


Steve
06-13-2012, 11:42 PM   #12
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My second camera, used it for nearly 7 years, got great pictures from it:
06-13-2012, 11:51 PM   #13
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Hay, let's go all the way! Here is the Wikipedia entry. I find it a fascinating story. Doing careful business, Yashica grew from nothing, bought a couple of technologically innovative firms, bought major lensmaker Tomioka, collaborated with Zeiss, and produced some splendid products. Then was bought by Kyocera and gutted. [/me fiddles sadly, lamentfully, fornlornly, etc] Remind me sometime to tell y'all the story of how Kyocera delayed the growth of the Internet by a couple years. Grrr...
06-14-2012, 02:15 AM   #14
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Here's my 635, I believe they're the only dual format camera made 35mm & (6x6) 120 film. It was made in the mid 60's and still works perfectly.
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06-14-2012, 03:06 AM   #15
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I recently bought Yashica Electro 35 CC. It's the only compact rangefinder with built in lens of 35mm focal length. The max aperture is f/1.7. And it has Aperture priority mode too.

Love it.
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