In September we bought a 'mystery box' of cameras from the Camera Rescue centre in Finland. When they arrived it was like Christmas, pulling different cameras out of the package, and unwrapping them to see what we had purchased. When we pulled this Yashica Ic rangefinder out, it looked to be in almost perfect condition. I'm pretty sure the camera has barely ever been used, there is barely a mark on it, its perfectly clean inside, the light seals look to be intact, and all the mechanics at a quick test seemed to be working well, except maybe some of the longer shutter speeds.
I was keen to give the camera a test to see if it was going to be as good of a camera as my gut told me it would be, and took it out to test it the very next week.
The Yashica Ic Lynx 5000E was sold between 1962–1971, and has an all-metal body, making it a decent weight camera to carry around for a rangefinder design, and meaning it feels very solid in the hand.
The focus and aperture selections around the lens all worked smoothly. The rangefinder was really clear, and a lot easier to focus than a lot of other rangefinders I've used from the same era.
The camera has a fast f/1.8 45mm Yashinon lens, and has a linked aperture and shutter speed selection around the lens. They way this works, is that you lightmeter your shot at one aperture, move the aperture ring to match the relevant shutter speed, and then the two rings can be moved together by only twisting the shutter speed ring, and allows you to select any other appropriate aperture/shutter speed combinations that work for the same metered scene. It's quick and easy if you are used to using the Sunny-16 rule. Shooting on a sunny day like I was, you simply set the aperture to f/16 alongside the appropriate shutter speed (e.g. 125th if you are shooting with ISO 100 film). You can then twist the combination of the two dials to decide what aperture you would prefer to shoot with. f/5.6 allows you to shoot at the camera's fastest speed of 1/1000th, for example.
I loaded it up with a roll of Fuji Industrial ISO 100 film, and took it out for a walk around the streets of Ivanhoe on a sunny Spring day, I finished the roll the following day, when it was a little more overcast. In my sample photos below I took a photo of the same flowers, one day when it was bright, the other when it was duller, this shows both a difference in how the flowers act under different weather conditions, but also how the Fuji Industrial film renders under different lighting conditions.
There is a built in lightmeter, however it takes a type of battery that we don't have, so I've yet to test this. The camera is perfectly operational without the batteries in place, as they only run the separate lightmeter.
I had to wait about 4 weeks before I was able to get the film developed, due to the Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown meaning most of the photography labs were closed. I received these scans last week (early November), and am so happy with the results. The camera works even better than I had imagined that it would, the f/1.8 lens is sharp, and renders brilliantly in a range of different situations.
Whilst this camera has become part of our display collection, I'll definitely be taking it out to shoot with again, given how easy it is to use, and the high-quality images it creates.
About Madeline Bowser
I've been photographing with film for what seems like forever ... well since the late 90's. I shoot both film and digital, but film is where my heart is and I get the most ongoing enjoyment from and what I enjoy sharing and teaching to others. I also travel the world hunting down old cameras and unique locations to photograph in, and exhibit and sell my travel photographs.
When out shooting film, I often get asked the questions 'can you still buy film?', 'I thought film stopped being made 10 years ago' and 'why would you want to shoot film when you can shoot digital'.
My answers are, 'yes', 'no, it didn't', and 'I also shoot digital, both have their place in my mind'.
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