Yashica TL Super with Yashinon Auto 5cm f/2

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by craigd, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. A while back I came across a Yashica TL Super in an antiques store. At first I wasn't sure the shutter was working, and the lens on it was a third-party 135mm of no particular interest, so I passed on it. But a few weeks later it was still there, and just for the hell of it I tried the shutter again, finding, to my surprise, that it seemed to be working fine. The slow speeds, at least, seemed accurate. So I argued the price down a bit and bought it.
    A new battery failed to revive the meter, so I figured it was just going to be a meterless camera. My first roll of film revealed that the fast shutter speeds were about a stop too fast, and the 1/1000 setting didn't expose the film at all (which I really should have noticed when initially inspecting the camera... Oh, well). Advancing the film is also occasionally problematic; while most frames were separated properly, three in a row were badly overlapped. With these issues, and the camera not really being worth the cost of repairs, I don't expect to use this TL Super much. I can tell, though, that it was quite nice in its day. With all-metal construction typical of the time, it feels comfortably solid in my hand.
    More recently, I was given a Yashinon Auto 5cm f/2 lens. This is several years older than the camera, and is cosmetically very similar to the 1961 Asahi Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 (which might lead one to wonder just who really made both of them). This generation of lenses automatically stop down when the shutter is released, but do not automatically open up afterward; you have to reset the aperture by pulling down the lever on the upper left side of the lens (where the Auto/Manual switch is on later fully-automatic M42 lenses such as the Super-Takumars). This copy is in very nice shape aside from a rather stiff focusing ring. Once I got this lens, I decided to give the TL Super another try with a roll of FP4+ and a yellow filter.
    1. Yashica TL Super with Yashinon Auto 5cm f/2 lens
    The Yashinon lens turns out to be an excellent performer. Although it appears to be uncoated (there is no visible tint to the glass), I had no trouble with flare or ghosting, and contrast is very good. Rendering is very nice all around. The photo below was shot at either f/2 or f/2.8 and is quite sharp, with delicate details in both the light flower and the low tones of the leaves, and the background blur is pleasantly smooth.
    2. Yellow rose
    That's all for now!
  2. Nice.
    Sometimes all these old machines need is some exercise to loosen up the hardened grime and lubricants.
    That lens does look a lot like the early semi-automatic Takumars (the heavy aperture opening lever). I don't have a lot of Yashinons but the ones I do have seem quite useable.
  3. It does look like a semi-automatic Takumar -- my first lens on my first 35mm camera. It took me quite a while to learn/realize that when that heavy aperture mechanism snapped closed, it shook the camera badly enough to cause a twisty, diagonal motion blur. (word to the wise...)
  4. Nice looking example, Craig. That's an earlier lens than the body I think. It's the stock lens that came with my early 1963 Penta J.
    I had a frozen battery cap on my Super TL and had to replace the entire battery chamber. It was totally worth the repair cost and a CLA. A great shooter! I love the placement of the MLU lever. Very easy to flip. Here was my post a couple of years ago:
  5. Nice looking camera and lens Craig.
    Did you have any problems with the seals? Both the Yashica TL Electro and Yashica 35 GSN cameras I bought had deteriorated to sticky slime.
  6. I really like the strong, clean lines of the TL Super. It's a great no-nonsense workhorse of a camera that makes a Spotmatic feel positively flimsy. The similarity between this lens and the early Takumars has been the subject of some interesting discussion... Post some more images when you get the chance.
  7. A much underrated camera the Yashicas, yours looks to be in great condition too. I'm with the others in thinking that the Yashinon looks like an early Takumar.....hmmm.
  8. It looks so solidly built like a tank. I am not familiar with the lens but know of the Takumars so it would be interesting to see some more pictures.
  9. A beautiful machine! I had mine CLA'd by Mark Hama, and I don't use it often enough.
  10. Louis: Yes, I did some research on Yashica's SLR history after I posted, and I see that I should probably pick up a Penta J or J3 (if I can do so cheaply) to go with this wonderful little lens.
    Rick v N: No, the seals seem fine. I have no idea whether they're the original ones, but they weren't sticky and I haven't seen any sign of light leaks.
  11. It looks like a Takumar, but it's not. It's a Tomioka lens, you can find the identical lens labelled as a Tominon. At the time Tomioka was the only supplier of lenses to Yashica, and of course later on Yashica would buy the company.
  12. The 50mm/2 lenses in the next two Yashinon M42 mount series, DX and DS, most likely have the same optical formula as this one. Later series (Yashica/Contax mount) had another formula. I have a DS that I use with a Yashica TL Super camera, and results have been excellent.

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