Monday, February 27, 2012

The Yashica Lynx 5000

No, that's not the name of a NASCAR race. Yashica is well-known for its plethora of 35mm rangefinder cameras in the 1960s and 70s. These metal-bodied cameras usually have 45-50mm lenses and plenty of glass -- usually a minimum of f/1.8. There are a bewildering variety of models, starting with the Minister, Lynx, and of course, the series of Electro 35 cameras. The Electro 35 models tend to be somewhat larger and heavier than the Lynx models. Some take odd-sized mercury cells, and others take alkaline cells. Some are semi-automatic, depending on a working battery to operate, and others, such as the Lynx, can operate independent of a battery. With these aging cameras, it's often a matter of luck in finding one that works properly. In my case, I was at a local consignment shop and saw the Lynx 500e. It was in a case, and though it appeared to be in good shape, the batteries in the battery compartment had badly oxidized. However, the shutter speeds and apertures appeared to be good, so I paid the $40 for it.

Once I got it home, I cleaned it up a bit. I cleaned out the battery compartment. The camera takes two PX-640a cells, which can be found online or at a battery store. I decided to not spend any money on the cells until after I could test the electronics. I haven't done that yet, as the camera works great manually. The model I have is the Lynx 5000e, which was made between 1963 and 1966. It features a 45mm f/1.8 lens -- plenty fast enough for a rangefinder camera, and a shutter speed range from B to 1/1000 sec. That's an excellent range for a leaf-shuttered camera. The Lynx 5000 takes 46mm screw-on filters, and it just so happens that I have a bunch. There is no hot-shoe, but it does have a pc flash connector on the front. In the test shots that follow, I used my intuition for the exposure, and am quite pleased with the results on Kentmere 400 film. Although not too arty, the images do show the lens is sharp and focused correctly.

I really like the size and handling of the Lynx 5000e. One nice feature is that if one sets a particular shutter speed and aperture combination for a given exposure value, the rings can rotate together to give you a series of combinations of aperture and shutter speed based on the same EV. I find that to be a very useful option, especially on a manual camera. I'll give the camera a whirl with color film soon and see how things go. I certainly recommend the Lynx 5000, and if you look around, be aware that there is a Lynx 14 -- boasting the fastest lens on a compact leaf-shutter camera -- a 45mm f/1.4 Yashinon.

4 comments:

Jim said...

One of these Yashicas has been on my to-buy list for some time. Thanks for the tour of yours.

s.c said...

I remember I had an electro 35 with a 6v round battery and it was terrible difficult to get one but the pictures where stunning . Later on I switched it for an olympus SP which I have still today. The lenses on those camera's where really good as where the results.

natashathedrummer said...

My parents being photographers, I hear a lot of camera talk and see a lot of pictures... lol.
Absolutely love that picture of the city street! It looks so timeless & classic.

thebusylifeofnatasha.blogspot.com

MOSHE SHAPIRA said...

Yesterday I Have found a sealed plastic Bag In My Closet. In It There Were 5 cameras That belonged To My Late father.
One of Them Is A Yashica Lynx 5000 in Excellent Condition (I took It To A Lab where A Battery was adapted, It works!!!
I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO SHOOT A FEW FRAMES A SEE THE RESULTS!...:)