Feb 24, 2017

30-30-30 : Day 08 : Yashica 635

Setup for Day 08 (Feb 22nd, 2017):

Camera: Yashica 635
Lens: Yashikor 80mm f/3.5
Film: Ilford FP4+ 125 ASA (expires Jan. 2020)

Mini-review of the setup:

Camera: I've had several of similar Yashicas myself, but never the 635 which is basically a "D" model with the ability to take 35mm film if you have the accessory kit that goes into the film chamber.

Self-cocking but manual shutter so you can do double-exposures or forget to expose the film if you don't have a system for when you wind the film and take the photo. I've moved away from these sorts of cameras preferring the automatic due to forgetting where each camera is in the cycle. For someone with a reasonable sized collection or just a couple cameras, this would be less of an issue.

Knob wind, so there is less to go wrong than with the lever advance/crank models like the Yashica-mat EM or LM or 12 or 24 or 124 or 124G, etc.

Viewfinder is bright and clear as I have just gone through and cleaned it all up. New mirror was installed yesterday and lenses were cleaned. Shutter was cleaned as well as the many blades of the aperture so the controls are quite smooth, although the shutter cocking mechanism likely could improve a bit if a full teardown was done. That would require new coverings so was elected to not be done at this time.

After using this, the setup with the focus knob being on the right is pretty useful. Some of the TLRs have the focus and winding on separate sides so you need to switch hands as you advance through the film but this one, you can keep holding it in left hand and do everything else with your right. Small point but it makes a difference, especially if you want to capture some action as it develops in front of you.

Lens: The Yashikor is a 3-element lens (aka triplet) vs the Yashinon which is a 4-element (Tessar clone). Supposedly the triplet is not as good at wider apertures, which echoes the Tessar vs Planar comparison like some of the higher end Rolleiflex models had. At f/8, some people say they are indistinguishable.

The coatings on this should be much better than what was seen on the Flektar, and overall lens performance should be improved by this coating.

In general, because you have such a large negative to work with when looking at medium format cameras, the enlargement factor is smaller than with 35mm and so even simple lenses like this which might be not be up to quality standards for 35mm can be used with great results in medium format. This is again true for large format, with even less of an enlargement factor.

This is not to say that negative size always decides ultimate image quality but it is certainly one of the more important factors after 1) lighting, 2) proper development, 3) motion blur due to camera movement or subject movement 4) proper aperture selection.

Film: For some reason, even though one of my favorite monochromatic emulsions is Kodak's discontinued Plus-X, I have not used very much of Ilford's closest offering, FP4+.

After using it, I like it. It's still a bit older-looking than what I might normally prefer my photos to look like but for certain applications I can definitely see the appeal.

Please Note: These were all taken with a red filter, just to add yet another variable. The two shots of the Art building were taken to compare with the red filter and without. The sky is brighter relative to the building in the unfiltered image.

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