Camera Reviews

I’ve extensively updated my review of a classic twin-lens-reflex camera, the Yashica-12.

This wonderful box offers a pair of 80mm Yashinon lenses that do great work. Although this camera is heavy and a little unwieldy to carry, its controls all work with jeweled precision and are a delight. Read my updated review here.

Yashica-12
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Updated review: Yashica-12

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Camera Reviews

Here are two more reviews of film cameras from my collection, revised and improved.

The first is of my Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK, a wonderful viewfinder camera with a built-in exposure meter. It’s a great camera to use, and its lens is wonderful. Read the review here.

Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK

Next up is my Nikon F2A, the F2 with the match-needle A viewfinder head. Mine needs its meter fixed; it works but is jumpy. But it’s a solid camera nevertheless. See the review here.

Nikon F2

Updated reviews: Zeiss Ikon Contessa LK and Nikon F2A

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Camera Reviews

Operation Thin the Herd: Yashica Lynx 14e

Down a Zionsville sidewalk

The 1968 Yashica Lynx 14e is a fixed-lens rangefinder camera that packs an incredible lens — 45mm at a whopping f/1.4.

Yashica Lynx 14e

I first shot the Lynx 14e on a road trip with Kodak T-Max 400 inside. The results blew me away. Just look at those creamy tones, that crisp detail! Even four years after making this photo, looking at it still floods my brain with pleasure hormones.

No Smoking

Here’s one more past photo from this camera, which adores being shot inside on fast black-and-white film. This time I used Arista Premium 400 (discontinued; I miss it). I photographed this Auburn Model 654 at the factory museum in Auburn, Indiana. Just look at this excellence. Look. At. It. So good!

654

All is not perfect with my Lynx 14e: it underexposes by a stop. It’s not the end of the world, because I just set exposure a stop lower (say, EI 200 when shooting ISO 400 film) and all is well. But if I keep the camera, I’ll send it for CLA and have the meter calibrated.

Its meter is powered by two PX640 batteries, of the mercury type that has been banned for years. I own no other camera that uses this battery. Fortunately, you can buy alkaline batteries of this size on Amazon for a few dollars. The voltage is slightly different but if you’re shooting negative film it shouldn’t matter.

Since I wanted to see how this lens likes color film, I loaded some Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400. Also, it was the dead of winter and the gray days called for fast film. I started shooting stuff around my house.

Drying dishes

This lens finds whatever’s interesting about the light, and enhances it.

Centerpiece

These images are short on shadow detail. I tried to bring it out in Photoshop but it just wasn’t present.

Graflex

We got a rare day of full sun in early February so I took the Lynx into town to make a few photos. I dropped the camera’s ISO setting another stop for these photos, for two reasons: this film loves to be overexposed, and I wanted a little exposure flexibility as otherwise every shot would have been at 1/500 sec. and f/16.

Brick wall with iron stairs

I’ve never seen Superia X-tra 400 look this good. I got Portra-like color from it.

Florist

Other reviews of this camera have panned how you activate the camera’s meter: you press the amusingly named “Switch” button on the front of the camera. The consensus is that it’s awkward. But I’ve never had any trouble.

Colorful storefronts

What I did have trouble with, on this full-sun day, was reading the red OVER and UNDER indicators in the viewfinder window. They light when exposure is wrong; you adjust aperture and shutter speed until they disappear. They blaze bright in muted or inside light. Direct sunlight washes them out.

Zionsville house

See more photos from this camera in my Yashica Lynx 14e gallery.

When I evaluate a camera, I like to take it on a solid photographic assignment so I have a chance to bond with it. Unfortunately, cold and snowy February is the worst month of an Indiana year for photography. It took me weeks to get through the roll, sneaking in a shot here and there as I could. It didn’t create the best experience with this heavy camera.

Moreover, even after thinning my herd as far as I have, I still own more cameras than I can shoot regularly. It is just a flat shame to own a good camera I seldom or never use. I’m not sure how often I’ll get around to shoothing my Yashica Lynx 14e.

Still, I continue to be bowled over by the sharpness, detail, and tonal range this lens delivers. This camera deserves more of my time.

Verdict: Keep

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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Camera Reviews

I’m back with two more refreshed reviews of cameras from my collection.

Up first is the Nikon N2000, from early in the plastic-body era. The N2000 is a fabulous bargain among Nikon bodies. It doesn’t have the solid all-metal construction of earlier Nikon SLRs but it is still a robust and capable camera. I’ve shot mine a great deal and it just works. See my updated review here.

Nikon N2000

This camera might say Sears on it, but it’s really built by Ricoh — and it’s a solid performer. I got some lovely photographs through those Sears/Ricoh lenses. These are serious bargains on the used market — if you want an inexpensive SLR to knock around with do look at these Ricohs in Sears clothing. See my review here.

Sears KS Super II

Updated reviews: Nikon N2000 and Sears KS Super II

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Camera Reviews

I have two more updated camera reviews for you, this time of a pair of mechanical 35mm SLRs with onboard meters.

The first is the Pentax Spotmatic F. Goodness, I can’t say enough positive about this camera. If you don’t have one, get one. Read my review here.

Pentax Spotmatic F

The Canon FT QL is a competent performer, and very solid under use. I’ve significantly revised this review, with freshly reprocessed images. Read my review here.

Canon FT QL

Updated reviews: Pentax Spotmatic F and Canon FT QL

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Camera Reviews

I’m still freshening my film-camera reviews (and will be for some time; I’ve written 121 of them). I now come to two Nikon 35mm SLRs that couldn’t be more different from each other.

The Nikon FA was a remarkable technological achievement for Nikon, and a darn fine camera to use. See my updated review here.

Nikon FA

The Nikon N60 is an entry-level SLR, but with good Nikon glass attached it can take wonderful photographs all day. See the review here.

Nikon N60

Updated reviews: Nikon FA and Nikon N60

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