Week 32 – The Yashica Minister II
A bit of a fluke this one, and probably the right camera at the right time! I was hunting through boxes looking for a particular Yashica Electro 35 for Russell… which he had right next to him btw, just couldn't see it! Anyway, I saw what I took to be the 35 and pulled out what was the Minister II. As I held it I kind of liked its look, typical mid-60s, 35mm brush steel and black body, an all manual rangefinder and not a battery flap in sight! I had a scary looking week with sis's wedding with all its planning, stuff at work to do, plus the weather was forecast, and bore out to be miserable! No @summerfilmparty for me sadly. I decided to chuck in a colour roll and use the on board E.V.L system, to see how it turned out then if there was time run a second. I would meter off camera and compare the two. As I ran that first roll of 1 year expired Kodak 200 it became clear a 2nd was just not going to happen so I mixed the 2 methods up to see, without notes, if I could pick them out. Lets clear that one up now, I couldn't. To be fair the weather was so bad I think the scenes were pretty evenly lit so shadow detail / highlights were not an issue, perhaps more contrasting lighting would be a different story.
I found using the Yashica Minister fun, pretty quick and easy, an ideal little carry camera particularly for the all manual lovers. All the focus and exposure controls are on the 45mm Yashinon lens, the focus ring has a handily placed protruding thumb piece making for smooth pairing of the split image in the big bright viewfinder, the yellow centre spot is clear even in the dull horrid conditions. Exposure is a joy, set your film speed on the meter window, point at your composition and read off the EV number and dial it in on the ring at the end of the lens. Then with the ring just behind that choose your preferred available match up for your requirements of speed, DoF etc. It really is super easy! If you want to spot meter then dial in your required speed then turn the EV ring until your aperture value comes into line.
It wasn't all plain sailing, aside from struggling motivation wise in the to the skin soaking perpetual drizzle I forgot to allow for parallax correction far too often. I found the shutter release button super sensitive and fired just before I was ready a couple of times. The train is a prime example, I had to be quick so estimated distance, gave it a stop extra from the shot just taken, poked the lens through the fence and hit the shutter release. NOTHING! I had gotten into the habit of not advancing till ready to avert misfires. So I advanced and patiently waited for the back and promptly misfired!
The resulting images given the weather, lack of interesting targets and my dire efforts with colour are pretty good, the camera performs way better than expected. The lens is sharp, it is light and easy to use. It made what could have been a washout kind of fun. If I see one going for a bargain, and they are nice and cheap! I would find it hard to pass up.
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