An old Yashica for 10 euros?

My wife and I were in Stockholm last weekend. The intention was to go to the J.P. Gaultier exhibition and to generally roam around the city. Both of the tasks were completed quite well as the weather was nice and sunny and we were quite energetic and happy. 

Walking towards the Kungstr√§dg√•rden metro station we sighted a Loppis (the Swedish equivalent of a flea market) and decided to take a gander. Most of the items on the tables were not really very interesting however and old camera caught our eye. The name Yashica made me very excited and the excitement only grew when I spotted the elusive Yashinon 45 mm f/1.7 lens. I knew the lens but didn’t know the camera model: Yashica Minister 700 but really, with that lens how wrong can you go. 

We were both getting quite gitty and I asked the woman selling the camera for the price and to my surprise she was only asking 100 kr for it. She explained it that everyone is only using digital nowadays and there is really little demand for old film cameras. While that might be true, Eva was already pushing the 100 kr bill into my hand. Only one question remained: “Is it working?” and indeed she replied “Yes, of course!” – perfect!

It was a weekend so it took me a few days to get a roll of film, a new battery and test it out myself however she was right – the camera works. The exposure meter is busted and there are a few things to complain about but mechanically the camera is fine – especially considering the price. 

I took a roll of photos with the help of my trusty Sverdlovsk-4 exposure meter (which by the way still exposes very well) and tried to get the feel of the camera. It felt nice – sturdy build, a bit heavy but good to hold. The leaf shutter makes the most delicate of noises – like a leaf jumping across asphalt in autumn. The exposure setting system on the camera is a bit weird though. If the exposure meter would work it would make sense however it is a bit of a challenge to get it right in the beginning, but you can get used to it. 

The main problem for me was the rangefinder. It is still calibrated and has coupled parallax correction but it was quite hard to see when the subject was very close. Maybe it just needs a bit of cleaning.

When I got the scans back, I noticed some horizontal lines and white specks on the images but I don’t know if they are from the camera or the scanner. I will take it to a professional repair shop to fix all the little bugs and we will hopefully have another really nice camera to add to our collection.

I’ll leave you with a selection of the pictures I took on a roll of Fuji Realia 100 film. They are nothing too special as I wanted to fill the entire film within an afternoon but some turned out really well. The lens really is as good as they say….