It is my intention to publish a series of interviews on Retrocamera.net. The first one out is Joe Marcel Wolff who runs the site www.yashica-guy.com, an important bookmark for everyone with an interest in Yashica rangefinder cameras or in need of a battery adapter – make sure to pay a visit to the site. But first I like to thank Joe for interesting answers! :) Now, lets start the interview….
A lot of enthusiast that love photography and starts with digital, now get interested in film-cameras – the old SLR’s and rangefinders. There’s lots of groups on Flickr, and Youtube videos on street photography. How do you feel about this development? Will this small renaissance for old cameras fade, you think?
“I was not aware that there were many people starting out with digital cameras and then switching to film but rather the reverse.
Part of the problem, if this is in fact a trend, would be that many digital cameras have too many “Bells & Whistles” and take too long to get into ready to shoot mode and the time lag in writing data.
My experience with the Kyocera / Yashica Samurai was, that if you didn’t have the manual with you, you were lost. Two interacting drop down menus were far too time consuming and complicated to use except in the default mode. A Kodak I tested also took so long to get ready that any subject would have long been lost. On the other hand, I have a Panasonic FZ8 that is a pleasure to use and very affordable.
As long as film is still available, I expect that cameras will still be ahead of digital cameras in resolution, perspective [focal length of digitals is too short] in an affordable and semi disposable camera which can be replaced if “lost” ., without a major financial disaster when taking photography to a venue like sky diving or the wrong part of town.”
What made you choose Yashica over, for example, the german rangefinders?
“I wanted to take some pictures without feeling that I was back at work. When I came across a GSN at a dirt cheap price I looked it over and decided to try it.
The results from the Yashinon lens were excellent, a rangefinder that could focus by the light of a candle and the camera was a pleasure to use, so I decided to tell people about a camera that anyone could afford when it was new and that in the used market were even a bigger bargain. This is in my opinion because the photo magazines paid no attention to it……”It is much too cheap to be any good” they must have decided. As far as the German cameras were concerned, the ones of the Yashica era were too expensive.”
I’ve just picked up and started to use a Yashica J-7, which I really like. Have you tested that one and if so, do you have any advice to give?
“With regards to the model “J”, this is described on my website in detail and my opinion of it.”
(update from Joe):
“After visiting your informative site, I realised that the earlier reply that I sent to you referred to the Model J rangefinder when I now assume that you meant the SLR.
I don’t have any experience with most Yashica SLR cameras. The only one that I have at the moment is the Yashica branded Contax. I have not had the opportunity to try this camera or it’s lenses as I have been too busy re-building my house since I got the camera.”
Your webpage www.yashica-guy.com is hard to miss if your interested in Yashica cameras, many people refer to it as a good source of information. Is it what you hoped for when you created it?
“My web site that started out on another server attracted quite a few visitors and people requested information on other Yashica rangefinders, so I picked up a few more models and slowly the site grew. I did not expect it to develop to the state that it is now.”
Thanks again Joe. Personally I love the Yashicas, both the rangefinders I own, the old SLR and the lenses are great performers… and pretty! ;) The two brands growing in numbers in my collection is Yashica and Pentax.
All reading this, if you can think of anyone that would be interesting to interview, please give me a hint!