Autumn shoots with the Yashica (Part 2)

The second half of the Fuji Superia 400 in the Yashica had been shot during a wonderful family trip at the south of Austria. We have picked an easy trail close to Arnfels this time but one packed with nice scenery and experiences. We have passed by beautifully taken care of wine yards and a forest filled with life and with the colors of the autumn. We have picked some chestnuts, had a closer look of a variety of strange mushrooms and met with all sorts of wild and domestic animals including a little deer.

I was equipped with the Yashica TL Super with the Pancolar 80 attached to it plus I had my old Weimar Lux Cds light-meter with me. Eszter was shooting with her Nex 6, and of course we shared the duty of carrying the little one (who did not get lighter), but at least he could also run around a bit on his own due to the easy terrain.

Autumn hike

The lights were initially quite harsh but inside the woods we were rewarded with some nice beams of light filtered through the branches of the trees. I find it very difficult to capture the delicate atmosphere created by such light conditions on any medium, but this small format film has done a decent job.

Pancolar Bokeh

As we moved out from the forest, I started to look for details. This pole of an electronic fence seemed to be a good idea to take a picture of. Now, I find it quite boring unless I use it to evaluate the creamy background blur of the mighty Pancolar even slightly stopped down to around f/2.2. Notice the orange blob at the top left quarter of the frame. It is obviously my 2 years old running around.


Portraits of feeding animals are essential for any family photo book.


Not sure what happened with the top part of the cabbage photo. I think I must have overexposed so much that the film decided to make some color shift. In any case, I was indeed pushing the boundaries of the film because I tried to shoot as wide open as possible despite the abundance of light.


All in all it was a great trip with a handful of shoots we like both analog and digital. The Yashica served well once again, but I cannot deny that this camera especially with a bigger lens is not easy to carry all day. The weight can become a real problem if the camera is not the only extra weight one needs to take care of. Would I take it once again for a hike now that the much lighter Leica came back from service?  I think will still take it occasionally, but more because of the lens not so much for the sake of camera.

Autumn shoots with the Yashica (Part 1)

To follow up the previous post where the focus was on the retro stylish look of the Yashica TL Super, here are some of the shoots out the roll which was in the very same camera. All of these photos have been taken during our last visit to Hungary in the middle of October. The film is Fuji Superia 400, which is lately my choice of color negative film due to it’s versatility and because I had quite a few rolls of it left from my Irish trip from last year. This film works great for me in almost all circumstances from low light situations (when combined with fast glass) to sunny daylight. This time I had mostly enough though not plenty of light as the weather was generally overcast. But the colors of the autumn are well retained and the scattered light helped with the portraits.


I used a single lens, my big favorite the Pancolar 80mm for the entire roll. I try to force myself to carry only one lens at the time. This helps me learn the quirks of the given setup by focusing on it for a longer period. Also if I have only one lens available I need to solve every situation with it which could help me leave my comfort zone and thus contribute to my creative development.

This lens has it’s caveats and sweet spots to learn as well. Others may observe these differently as many aspects of the character of a lens can be judged subjectively. I find myself shooting with the Pancolar most of the time wide open or close to it. This is where the character is mostly evident in the form of beautiful smooth bokeh when the background is right. The lens is plenty sharp in the center at least for my eyes and subjects. Stopping down to medium apertures where the depth of field is still small enough to have some background blur makes it evident that the iris is very far from circular. This case the background can be very busy which is not always desirable. In addition contrast can be too high to my taste especially for portraits.


Of course the photos from this post were not the only ones from this roll. The Yashica was with me on a family hike in the south of Austria where both the light and my subjects were different. I will publish a selection from those shoots in the next post with the hope that I can show the versatility of this film and my single lens approach.

Beauty of a Camera Yashica TL Super

We were on a family visit at my father a few weeks back from now. As usual we had a great food and many things to talk about. Also as usual I have spotted something in his garden. A stack of beautify worn wooden boxes many of which had navy green painting and interesting signs on their sides. I was staring them for a brief moment with my suspicious look (I practice a lot in the mirror). I was immediately considering all possible combinations and alignments of them in relation to the direction of light and possible angles of framing. I must have had a look on my face of a hardcore Stanley Kubrick when he discovers a perfect massive monolith in his fathers’s backyard after a long night watching Space Odyssey. I asked if I could use them as background for a few shoots and also about their origin and current use.

As it turned out these were military ammunition boxes originally, but now they are used to store and transport machine parts new and used alike. This meant that there were plenty of scratches, oil marks and shiny metal particles all over them which made them even more exciting to me. At this time they were all empty so I could use them how I wanted. I always have a camera with me and because my Leica was in service I was revisiting old friends from the shelf. That day my bag hosted my lovely Yashica TL Super paired with the mighty 80mm Pancolar. This lens is a sole reason why I still have an M42 mount camera and this Yashica is a great match indeed.

Anyways, I took a few shoots about the Yashica and a series about my father’s Mometta II and I thought they are worthwhile to feature them on the blog. If you would like to read my Yashica TL Super review, you can find it here. These shoots were all taken hand held with my wife’s Sony NEX 6 and I had no softbox or any reflectors with me. Luckily the weather was overcast and overall I am happy with the results. I am curious thought what will I find during the next family visit and if I should better prepare myself with a complete studio setup :-).

Since then I finished the film in the Yashica as well as from the Zenit3M I used recently. The Leica is also back now and I am looking forward to try it. In any case when the film comes back from the lab and I find some time to scan and edit, I will show the results from this kit as well.

The Kodak Ektar adventure

Finally, I have convinced myself to try out the famous Kodak Ektar film, so I loaded a roll into my beloved Olympus OM 4 Ti. Unfortunately, the camera had other plans and the electronic circuits gave up at the middle of the roll.

In the end, I ended up rewinding the film and I loaded into the good old mechanical workhorse Yashica TL super. This process, however, leads to 2 consequences. Unsurprisingly I have got some nice double exposures, but most importantly I bought a bit worn Leica M2. At least I won’t have problems with the electronic parts of that camera.

I still haven’t given up the hope that the Olympus can be repaired at some point, but I generally lost my trust in these old electronic cameras.

The Ektar, on the other hand, is truly a gorgeous film which delivers everything that is written on its box. It is smooth, high resolution with fine grain and with rich deep colors and high contrast. My scanner is absolutely unable to extract all the possibilities of this film. I am very impressed by this film indeed, however, I find it not the best suited for portraits as it is too vivid. But it is only my impression based on less than a complete 36 frames roll so I might change my mind.

I am definitely going to experiment with the Ektar, but from now most likely with my “new” M2 and with a ZM Sonnar.

Joanneumsviertel , Olympus OM 4 Ti, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Olympus OM 4 Ti, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Olympus OM 4 Ti, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Olympus OM 4 Ti, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Facsemete-2 Facsemete-2 Olympus OM 4 Ti, Zuiko 50mm f/1.4, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Yashica TL Super, Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 80mm f/ 1.8, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Yashica TL Super, Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f/ 1.8, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Yashica TL Super, Yashinon 50mm f/1.7, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F
Yashica TL Super, Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 80mm f/ 1.8, Kodak Ektar 100. Canoscan 9900F

Yashica TL-SUPER

The Yashica TL-SUPER is my regular walk around film SLR camera. I think this is a very solid piece of craftsmanship and I thought I might share my experience with it.


I have plenty of vintage cameras most of them in a pretty bad shape, but those which are in good condition I try to use as much as I can.

This Yashica however isn’t mine but belongs to a very good friend David, who gave it to me for use. He is not shooting film, so I guess it could stay for a while. In fact he gave it in a set which consists of a very retro looking camera bag, 3 lenses, a filter, eye-cap,a truly wonderful leather case an of course the body itself. Everything is in an almost perfect shape and I also take care of this equipment a lot.

Unfortunately the battery was left in the camera for a couple of years and as far as I could investigate all the wires are burned out, therefore the meter is dead. It could be fixed by rewiring everything, but until now I have not take the challenge, plus I use an external meter for my other cameras anyway.  Despite this issue and the fact that the light sealing rubbers have been pretty much eaten by time it looks as brand new. Thank you David so much!  The sealing is a common problem of this kind of cameras, and not on the level of rocket science to solve. (Repair informations can be found here)

Yashica TL-SUPER in case

I have done some research on the web in order to be able to give some not subjective facts about this camera. So here it is what I have found so far.

Datasheet(from Matt Denton’s site)

  • Produced 1966 Yashica Co., Ltd. Japan
  • Film type 135 (35mm)
  • Picture size 24mm x 36mm
  • Weight 24.4oz (691.7g) body only; with Auto Yashinon normal lens 2lbs .1oz (910g)
  • Lens M42 screw mount Auto Yashinon GX 50mm 1:1.7-16
  • Filter size 52mm
  • Shutter rubberized focal plane
  • Shutter speeds B, 1-1/1000
  • Viewfinder SLR w/coated window and mirror lockup
  • Exposure meter stop-down CdS TTL w/match needle, activated by a switch
  • Battery SR44/LR44 1.5v (for meter only)
  • Hotshoe and PC sync
  • Self-timer
  • original price in Japan: 50.000 Yen (reference)

The camera has 2 variations both produced in the same year. The significant difference is the way how to open the back of the camera. While v1 has a switch at the bottom of the camera, the v2 opens the back with the traditional rewind-knob pull solution. My version is the more interesting v1.

I love this camera because of it look and feel in my hands, it is really solid indeed. All the dials and switches operate very precisely and I have always a very nice quality feel when I set the time on the body. The lenses are equally well made, on the standard, there is even a scale for infrared photography which is also not usual. My other favorite feature is the mirror look-up. I can flip off the mirror from the way so I can take pictures without any vibrations due to the mirror movement.

I do love the leather case so much because it is very well made and over-thought. You can remove the front-top part while the back of the camera is still covered by the rest of the case. In addition, there is a screw-mount at the bottom of the case in the knob, so you can actually mount it to a tripod without unwrapping your camera. Finally, the knob fixing the case to the camera is somewhat over-sized compared to any other I have seen before, which makes it very convenient to attach and detach.

Yashica TL-SUPER in the case

Some more photos

Yashica TL-SUPER naked

Yashica TL-SUPER back

Yashica TL-SUPER mirror look-up and self-timer

Yashica TL-SUPER time-dial and film advance


Yashica TL SUPER kit bag

Yashica TL SUPER kit still in the bag

Yashica TL SUPER Full kit
Yashica TL SUPER Full kit: Camera, Yahinon 50mm f/1.7, Hansa 35mm f/2.8, Hansa 135mm f/2,8, lens paps and hoods, eyepiece, protective filter


  • Very good chance to get one which is working well due to the robust  design
  • Cheap
  • Good built quality
  • Integrated meter works with a common battery type
  • Works without battery
  • Huge selection of cheap yet excellent lenses
  • Nice leather case


  • Nothing, if you like this manual way of photography.
  •  In fact my only minor concern is that I miss the split-image type focusing aid from the viewfinder. It does have micro-raster but the split-image method is much better for me especially when shooting indoor with a not as fast lens. It could be hard to focus in dim conditions.



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Test shoots

Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.7 Fuji superia 200

Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.7 Fuji superia 200

Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.7 Fuji superia 200

Hansa 35mm f/2.8 Fuji superia 200

Hansa 35mm f/2.8 @ f/11 20 second, mirror lookup Fuji superia 200

Hansa 135mm f/2.8 Fuji superia 200

Hansa 135mm f/2.8 Fuji superia 200

Carl Zeiss Jena Panclolar 80mm f/1.8 DM Paradise 400


November is certainly not my favorite month, at least not in Hungary. I am not a huge fun of the cold muddy weather, short days and dying nature. Unless it is in a post apocalyptic SCIFI or zombie movie and I am in a warm comfortable place. But I have to admit sometimes this month could give us some really great atmospheres.

In Hungary lots of people have some small piece of field as a hobby garden where they produce vegetables, fruits during the summer or having grape for self produced wine. Unfortunately recently many of these small parcels are being abandoned and filled with weed. This is really a pitty in my opinion since the new generations will completely forget the knowledge and the joy of producing something like this. This is a strange feeling to see such places especially at this part of the year. So I toke the opportunity of having some sunshine and I tried to catch the combination of the abandoned gardens and the slowly dying vegetation of November preparing for the winter.

I have used the Yashica TL Super with the Hansa 35mm f/2.8 lens which came in kit with the Yashica and supposed to be an excellent glass. In fact it is really a nice lens, there is only some vignetting what I could mention. But since I like this effect I add some extra corner darkening and some more retro look. Also this was the first time when I tried the DM Paradise 400 film (first 2 images). I have to say, it is an affordable solution and has great colours when using around sunset. Being a relatively high speed film it is a bit grainy, but in exchange I could use it in interiors quite well. The photo with the gloves is on Fuji superia 200 which is my most used color film for the reason it is the easiest to get here.

The Tree project

A tree for me (and I believe for most of us) is a symbol of a couple of things such as life, constancy, yet cyclic renewal and for some reason wisdom. I have no any tree fetish, before you would think this further…

The crust of an old tree could tell a story of life-times and could be as expressive as a wrinkled portrait of an old man. Therefore I did this experiment of taking portraits of old trees, to see what effect and emotions could such photos trigger.
I also often wonder how it would be like to be a tree. Not completely of course, but would be great to see that limited fraction of space trough that extended window of time with but with human senses of perception. But I guess this will be another project to map this idea into pictures.