Last year, I acquired a few new cameras. One of them was a Yashica FR1 (or FRI, as it’s often written as) with a selection of lenses. It was a random opportunity. And I took it. Here are some first images taken with the 24mm lens I bought with it.
Ever since my Nikon FE stopped working a while back, I was keen to get a SLR camera again. I actually wanted another Nikon – preferably a FM – so I could keep using the two lenses I have for the system. But since the Yashica came with lenses, I figured this could be my SLR for now.
The lenses I acquired with it are:
- A 24mm ƒ/2.8,
- a 28mm ƒ/2.8,
- a 50mm ƒ/1.7,
- a 135mm ƒ/2.8,
- and a 70-210mm ƒ/4-5.6.
That’s pretty much every focal length I do not have for my Leica.
I find it practical to have a SLR as a secondary camera system, because both the cameras and lenses are (usually) significantly cheaper than for the Leica M system. And that makes it much more reasonable to try a different focal length or take the camera to places I deem unsafe for my Leica – like a swimming pool or the beach for example.
I only shot a single roll with the Yashica this summer, but I very much enjoyed the experience – in particular the much wider field of view of that 24mm lens (normally I shoot with a 35mm focal length on my Leica). The camera allowed me to take photos I couldn’t or wouldn’t take with the Leica. Either because it’s simply a different focal length, the subject is too close – an SLR allows you to focus much closer – or it’s a location I don’t feel comfortable bringing my precious rangefinder.
The very wide angle is great when used in narrow spaces like our camper for example. And it also makes it much easier to include myself in the frame.
As is apparent from these sample images, though, I still need to fix the light leaks this camera has. I did shoot a test roll without any such issues when I got the camera, but the one roll I shot during summer – from which these sample images are taken – did have a significant amount of light streaks on its negatives. Fair enough, considering the camera was much more outside, not seldom in direct sunlight.
Another problem my model has, is that the frame counter does not work; leaving you wondering how many images you’ve already taken with it.
Despite these minor annoyances, I’m happy I bought this camera. While this Yashica does feel a little cheaper than my old Nikon FE – i.e. lighter, more plastic-y, and less smooth in operation – it really does the job and was a pleasure to take pictures with. And the images from that 24mm lens look great to me, too.
While my Leica M4-2 and a 35mm lens will certainly keep being my main setup, this Yashica SLR is a great way to occasionally spice up my images with a different field of view and have a different shooting experience.