Tag Archives: Yashica

Dunstanburgh III

“Dunstanburgh III”

Yashica 124G / Ilford Delta Pro 100

This is the last of the Dunstanburgh pictures from the Yashica. I processed another roll of Ilford last night, this time from the Lubitel 166. I am going to the Cleveland Hills today, in Yorkshire with the Yashica, the Superheadz and a Werra. It’s a beautiful day.

Hello? Is God there?

“Hello? Is God there?”

Yashica 124G / Ilford Delta Pro 100

Dunstanburgh II

“Dunstanburgh II”

Yashica 124G / Ilford Delta Pro 100

Cow Green Reservoir

“Cow Green Reservoir”

Yashica 124G / Ilford Delta Pro

Dunstanburgh I

Dunstanburgh I

Yashica 124G / Ilford Delta Pro

Hadrian’s Wall

“Hadrian’s Wall”

Yashica 124G – Fuji Velvia 100F

1938 Voigtländer Brilliant

There has been quite a saga accompanying this camera. The Voigtländer Brilliant of 1938 was the world’s first focusing TLR, and as a template it has spawned several copies, most notably the Lomo produced Lubitels (of which we have two), but even if the copies are great – for reasons of lomography – they don’t quite have the pedigree of the Voigtländer. I realised after trustingly putting a roll of Ilford through it that the focusing mechanism was off kilter, so I resolved to try it again using zone focus and a roll of Ektar.

It has taken a while to get the camera this far. I bought it very cheaply last year and like all of the Brilliants, it hadn’t aged especially well. The finder was loose and rusted, the mirror had lost nearly all its silver, the film chamber’s painted interior was flaky and the counter wouldn’t move. I cut a new mirror and replaced it then set to work drilling out the rusted screws from the finder. I carefully removed the prism finder and put it out of the way: it’s a beautiful and precise piece of glasswork after all, then a few moments later heard a crash. I looked up to see that one of the boys had decided to have a look at this rather gleaming jewel, picked it up and promptly dropped it on the floor.

Even though I immediately recognised this as an excellent opportunity to practise mindfulness, I was still devastated. The entire corner of the prism was smashed and at first glance it looked as though the camera was going to have to go for spares.

In the end I cleaned it all up and put it back together anyway and found that because the finder hood covered a good portion of the prism, it was still in fact usable. I wasn’t able to fix the focus because the viewing lens was moving freely through its range in tandem with the taking lens, there was nothing to adjust. For some reason, it just doesn’t match up anymore. I suspected that this might be because the infinity stop had shifted but I checked the film plane for accuracy and it seemed good. So I loaded up some Ektar and took it to Norwich with me at the weekend.

The reason that focusing Brilliants with good glass are so desirable is not so much the focusing ability of the camera, but the quality of the Skopar lens. It operates at a very decent  ƒ3.5, and is reputed to have excellent characteristics. The vast majority of surviving Brilliants have much less capable lenses than the Skopar.

Upon seeing a few of the results, I have to agree. This camera takes a great deal of patience to use, it is after all 74 years old now, and has taken a few knocks, both old and new, but it is still a classy performer all the same, as you can see.

Even so, I think I shall be selling it. Even without a focusing viewing lens, a partly smashed prism and a non-functional film counter I think I can get a decent price for it because the lens is gold, and as any serious photographer will tell you, the lens is pretty much the whole story, regardless of its innate style. I love plastic lenses, which cost a few pence, but they give a very different style. If you are looking for accuracy, then the Skopar beats many more modern competitors hands-down.

Plus, I recently bought a Yashica from Pakistan and I cannot really justify owning five TLRs!

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