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A Taste of Yashica and Tomioka

This is a late exhibition report.

The author of Time for Lenses(レンズの時間), Mr. Suzuki, held a little exhibition at Popeye Camera a few months ago. On display were photographs taken by him with rare lenses (like the Zunow 50mm F1.1) and fun, mostly unknown stuff such as some modified-lenses.

There were also a couple of his favorite lenses on sale, most with pretty decent price tags.

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Intrigued by compact rangefinder cameras, I was immediately gravitated towards a modified-Yashica COLOR-YASHINON DX 45mm F1.7 converted to the Fujifilm X-Mount. Although by no means is this lens hard to find on the internet for sale, it's definitely a rare sight in person.

Legend says that this lens, which was originally paired with the Yashica Electro 35 series of cameras, was designed and made by the guys over at Tomioka. Tomioka famously made many great Yashica lenses in the past, and was also credited in manufacturing the legendary Yashica ML 55mm F1.2 on the C/Y mount. 

Mr. Suzuki, having done various interviews with optics manufacturers, later confirmed for me that this lens was indeed made by Tomioka.

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These pictures are all taken with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 with this Yashica lens mostly wide-open. All pictures are in JPEG with the Provia/Standard film simulation, with one exception being with Acros.

To me, this lens has a good balance between retro and acceptably-modern qualities. What I mean is that it displays the usual low-contrast characteristics in large apertures but holds its own in having a gentle look and maintaining good sharpness. I'm not willing to go into color-depth and rendition and all that; however, I must say there is a certain something that made me want to buy this lens.

And I did buy it... with a teleconverter included...... Until the focus ring fell off after 3 minutes of fiddling around and shooting. In the end I had a refund from Mr. Suzuki, who was selling it in representation of King-2, a modified-lens dealer in Tokyo.

Aside from the poor quality control, I loved it. With the teleconverter on it's great for portraiture shooting, but you'll get an enhanced swirly bokeh effect. The angle of view without the teleconverter's also quite unique on an APS-C camera like the X-Pro2.

I guess it's because I ran out of G.A.S. after a few days later that I decided not to buy it again from King-2.

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So the legend of Tomioka continues for me...

Maybe I'll get it on my camera again in the future, who knows? Maybe I'll just buy the Electro 35 GSN instead when I get bored with my Konica C35 FD :)

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