2008-11-17 in Photography:

Camera lens review: Auto Yashinon-DX 50mm/1.7 M42

Auto Yashinon-DX (from the Japanese company Yashica). This lens is not modern (from the 60’s). And it is not common. But you can still use it on modern cameras with an adapter. First a little about the lens, and then some pictures created with it…

The purchase
I bought the camera Yashica J-7 here in Sweden with this lens on it. It is a camera I reviewed and entered a $50-dollar camera challenge with. Both the camera and lens are in great shape, no marks and great lenses. It has yellowed a bit but I haven’t noticed any impact on my images.

Auto Yashinon-DX, front

The lens
It has a M42 screw mount, which means you can use it with M42 adapters on modern DSLR cameras. It’s quit an odd construction, with inner tube alu-metal and focusrings in black plastic. The aperture ring is very thin, but has big notches so you can easily turn it any way. It has a manual/auto-switch, that works on old Yashica M42-cameras. The switch is under the lens and hard to use while looking through the lens – so it’s not usable as a shortcut to stopping down the aperture.

Auto Yashinon, side

This lens it’s avarage sized, maybe large, for a 50mm. It takes 52mm filters, which is good because it’s the same filtersize as my Yashica MLs, Helios and Canon EF.

Auto Yashinon-DX, backside

The lens has thorium in it, the radioactive substance that makes many old lenses turn yellow. If you get a yellowed one you can put it in the sun for a few weeks and the tint will go away. The radioactivity is not much to worry about, remember this are lenses constructed to be close to negative film in analogue cameras.

Auto Yashinon-DX, front on

Results
I should use this lens more then I do, because every time I get some great shots! Good soft bokeh, sharp where I want it to be, saturated colours. I feel it suitable for nordic blue dark november for some reason.

Images

Disclaimer:These images are created with Canon EOS 350D, which is what I had available at the time. They are somewhat edited, becuase I’m interested in how I can use lenses in real situations. For scientific tests, go somewhere else ;)

Bumblebee with m42-lens Yashinon-DX 50/1.7

Yashinon Spider

Bumblebee

Leaf with bokeh

Swedish blue november woods

Conclusion

I like the lovely bokeh and colours, and it is sharp. There are big notches on the aperture ring, so you get a grip eventhough it’s thin and close to camera. Good buildquality.
Off course it has some obvious drawbacks as an old lens – no auto focus, stibilization and such. Some might see the yellowing as a con. It has single coating. But I like it :)

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