The story began around 5 years ago. In March 2016, my friend sent a message telling me she had discovered a film camera while spring cleaning her office. I went down to see her and have a look at the camera, a fixed lens range finder, the Yashica MG-1 with Yashinon 45mm f/2.8 lens. Upon examination, I found that the lens was clean and clear, but the rangefinder glass cover was broken. I could not test the camera because the battery was missing.
The camera needs a 5.6V mercury battery (Eveready E164, Mallory PX32 or equivalent), which has been banned for a long time and not available. A PX32 equivalent alkaline battery is available at around USD15, I deemed it too expensive for testing a camera. Another option was using a battery adapter that used cheaper 4LR44 batteries but again, I did not opt for the second option because I didn’t want to spend more than USD10 to test a camera in unknown working condition.
In the end, I decided to use 4 low-cost LR44 button cells to power up the camera. 4 LR44 batteries deliver 6V, which is close to the original 5.6V. However, the height of 4 LR44 batteries is a little shorter than the PX32 mercury battery available today. I made up the height by filling the empty space with aluminium foil.
Gratifyingly, this crude modification works, the meter is working and the shutter firing. I loaded a black and white film and tested the camera, the camera delivered photos with correct exposure. To my dismay though, the camera suffered from a light leak due to a degraded light seals. I keep the camera in the dark corner of my dry box due to the light leak problem.
Recently, I decided to replace the light seal
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and give it a spin again. The light seal material that I used was from a USD0.50 foam sheet that I purchased from an arts supplies shop. I did a clip test with Kentmere 400 film, voila, there was no light leak after light seal replacement that cost less than one dollar.
Fujicolor C200 was the second roll I put through Yashica MG-1 after the light seal replacement. I am really pleased with the performance of the Yashinon 45mm F/2.8 lens. The photos are sharp, the contrast is good and color is pleasing. I am not sure whether Yashinon 45mm F/2.8 is of Tessar design (4 elements in 3 groups) or 5 elements in 4 groups design according to The Yashica Guy.
Anyway, I am happy with the results, under sunny conditions, the Yashinon 45mm f2.8 Fuji C200 combo delivers vibrant color photos, the red Mercedes with yellow plate is very attractive.
Some photographers prefer shooting in black and white. Similarly, the street artist, Tung Yue Nang painting with the medium of Chinese ink on paper rendering the fine details in black and white.
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That’s the fifth Yashica Electro (family) camera that I see with that exact same break in the glass!
These lenses always pack a punch, sharp, contrasty and very nice colors. That yellow plate really pops!
I am happy with the color too, through Fuji C200 is a consumer film it delivers beautiful colors.
Hah, my MG-1 has a break in the glass right at the same place. Wonderful little camera and you got some great shots with it.