Yashica FR1

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by david_smith|110, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. A couple of months back I posted some questions about aquiring either a Yashica FR1 or FX1. There were many great responses on what to expect with either camera including a very nice offer from Erik Magnuson informing me that he had an FR1 just sitting around and if I wanted he could just ship it to me.
    Ummmmm, ok. :)
    Once again Im simply blown away by the generosity and depth of knowledge one continually finds here on photo.net. This has to be the greatest photo forum currently on the web. Erik, my thanks again sir.
    Now to the camera. I have developed quite a soft spot for the old manual focus gear that Yashica put out in the hey day of film cameras. From the old Electro rangefinders to the M42 bodies up to and especially the reborn Contax line. The designs and functionality of these cameras just strike a chord with me. But the lenses, thats what I really love. Most Yashica glass was made by Tomioka and there is just something about the color rendition and bokeh from these lenses that I absolutely adore. So needless to say I was overjoyed when the box from Erik arrived in the mail and inside was a solid but somewhat heavily used aperture priority FR1. Erik had informed me that it was in no way pristine (even missing the timer lever) but functioned perfectly the last time he had used it. He even sent it with a working battery and included the original Yashica DSB 50/1.9 lens that I am assuming it was sold with.
    Taking it out of the box I was first struck with the denseness of the thing. Thats the only way to describe it. It is a solid, somewhat heavy chunk of metal that feels absolutely wonderful in the hand. Unfortunately it had to sit around for a couple of weeks before a really good event came up to use it. I finally loaded up some Fuji Color 200 film and tossed it in the camera bag for a trip over to the family easter get together today.
    I have to admit that I find that actually using the camera...a bit odd. Not in a bad way mind you, just a little different from the other AE auto 35mm cameras I am used to using. This feeling mainly centers aroudn the way the meter works. You can either slide and hold a small sliding lever with your thumb on the back of the camera to activate the meter or you can pop out the film advance a ways and then slide the meter to lock it. At this point the meter just stays on until you push the film lever back in. It is a very interesting and clever design and one that I think if used on a daily basis would become second nature very quickly. I only found it odd since I am used to my A-1 which ativates the meter with a half shutter press and my XE-7 which has a simple ON/OFF switch. Overall though the camera was a joy to shoot and I felt like I could drop it on the concrete with no damage to the camera, it feels that well made.
    I did not use the included DSB 50mm that came with the camera but rather my favorite Yashica lens so far, a series one ML 50/1.7. The ML's differed from the DSB line by having a multi coating instead of a single coating. The series one versions of the ML line are basically the same as the old M42 Yashinon DS-M's with a Contax/Yashica rear end instead of an M42 back. This means that the lens is almost all metal as opposed to the later ML's that went to a plastic body.
    So without further ado here is a photo of the FR1 to be followed by some of the better shots I made today. I also loaned out the camera to a couple of young cousins who have expressed an interest in photography and I will include a couple of those shots as well. Always nice to see youngsters with film gear.
    Yashica FR1- A solid classic
  2. girl on film
    easter grilling
    whats in the fountain?
    a little macro
    easter beauty
    showing an interest
    tried to go with a film look for this digital shot
    Hope you enjoy. Happy Easter everyone. :)
  3. Quite some models you have there. Great photos. It looks like the photographer in training
    will need some work in keeping the horizon level and keep the fingers from in front of the
    lens, lol. Very cute though and my favorite.
    My experience with Yashica has been with the rangefinders but I recenly picked up a
    TL Electro X body that needs some work and I will probably have to get a lens from
    the auction site but it looks like it will be a great camera. I really like the features it has.
  4. That last shot is so cute it really should have been used in an FR1 print ad back in 1977. I bet it would have sold a few cameras!
    The only Yashica camera I've ever used is my TL-Super, which unfortunately has seen better days (long before it came unto my hands, worse still). I can tell it was a nice camera in its day, though, and the Yashinon lens I have for it is very, very nice.
  5. Nice commentary and photos. Love the last one. She's got the photographer's "squint" down pat. I've been happy with the Yashinon-DX 50mm /1.7 on my TL-Super:
    They do have nice build quality.
  6. Excellent stuff as usual, Michael. That old ML is really sharp, and you certainly have a happy knack of capturing charming images of people. "Easter Beauty" really is, and I like the controlled DOF in Easter Grilling. I hope your Easter was as great as it looks!
  7. It's really great to hear the story and see the results. Thanks for posting this. Nice work.
  8. Rod- I am indeed blessed with some wonderful models in this family. I cant say Im one of them, but I was lucky enough to marry into them. :) And the little one in the last photo did have a bit of trouble man handling (girl handling?) that heavy block of Japanese engineering around. But this one photo made it all worth while. The TL Electro X is a lovely camera btw. If your looking for a lens for it I would recommend a DS-M since they had all the multi coating goodness on them. Basicly an ML lens in the older M42 mount. But the DS and DX line are good performers to. I dont think a lot of changes went into the optical formulas on these, just the coatings and amount of metal used. Good Tomioka glass to be sure.
    Craig- Thanks for the compliment. I do love that photo with Madison holding the FR1. :) And very nice write up on the TL Super. I have to admit that I havent found an M42 Yashica body yet, having only a Contax 167MT and now this one (along with some Electro Rangefinders and a little T-AF) But with my love of M42 lenses and Yashica Im sure one is in my future.
    Louis- Ha, another vote for little Maddie as a favorite. She is just so darn photogenic that little girl. Very nice write up as well on the TL Super. As I said above, I think there isnt much difference between my ML 50/1.7 and your DX 50/1.7. It is an excellent performing lens.
    Rick- Errrrr, thanks for the compliment. (Psssst...its me, David) :) Im glad you noticed what I did with the DOF on Easter Grilling. Didnt think anybody would catch that. And my Easter was every bit as good as it looked. Hope yours was to.
    Les- Erik is a great guy indeed. I need to do a gear give away of my own on here shortly in honor of him. And your right, I was blessed with some incredible light yesterday.
    JDM- Thank you sir. Always good to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed the post :)
  9. I'm happy to see it being used (and used well) instead of collecting dust here -- or even worse tempting me to buy additional lenses to go with it (and collect more dust!) I'm just someone who has a few too many cameras who occasionally feels guilty about hoarding as I don't have time to shoot them all.
  10. OOPS! Sorry, David, I know you're not really Michael...
  11. Great shots all of them. While the Maddie shot is getting all the attentuion the young man seems like a good future classic user! Excellent light and godd color rendition. MY first camera was the FX2 with the 1,7ML. It is a incredible performer. I have another 1,7 ML but it doesn't seem to have the character the first one had. I have never used the FR1. I have the FX1 and I think they share the same battery dependent shutter. The Yashicas of this era are solid and because I cut my teeth on these models, it feels like coming home when I use it! I have the 28mm ML on my FX2 now. Your post and Sorens post have inspired me! Get out and shoot Yashica glass
  12. Very nice. Cute kids, too. Any idea what the boy was looking at through the finder? He looks as if he's found something worthwhile.
  13. gib


    Great set...I ranfor five years with a Yashica FR as my number one camera. Irecall that meter switch. Unusual but i liked it a lot. Clever design. Very solid body. You can add some Contax lenses to your body. Sorry to spend your money for you.
  14. Great job. The FR1 never sold in as great a number (at least in my family's camera shop) as the orginal FR or the budget (at least for an FR series) FR2. Glad to see one in action again. Thanks for posting.
  15. Erik- Just wanted to say thanks again. Im very happy to have the FR1 in my collection now. Its a very good rugged body to take with my on my bike rides.
    Rick- No problem man. :)
    Chuck, I would love to see some more photos from these old Yashicas. Please take the time to start a post on anything you shoot with your FX1.
    Matthew- He had expressed an interest in the macro photography I shoot so I explained about shooting things up close for a different perspective and I got out my Contax extension tube set. In that pic I think he had the 12mm extension tube on and he was focusing on the plant you see hanging down from the top of the frame.
    W J- Believe me when I say that I lust after the Zeiss glass that is available for the Contax/Yashica cameras! But the prices are somewhat prohibitive so I fall back on the Yashica ML glass. Which fortunately is wonderfully performing gear in its own right. But one day I hope to stumble across an old beat of Yashica in a second hand store with some nice Zeiss glass on the front for a next-to-nothing price. Once can dream...
    Mike- Thats an interesting little factoid. You would think the aperture priority version would be somewhat popular. It must be really neat though to have been there back in the day when this camera sat on the shelf of your family's store representing some of the peak photographic technology of the day and actually getting to sell them brand new to excited customers. Probably some really good memories you have there. Im envious.
  16. The FR accepted more Contax accessories (including the remote IR release) that I don't think were compatible with the FR1. A lot of our customers saw the original FR as "almost a Contax".
  17. You are correct, Les. I think it was the FRII that wouldn't accept it.

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