I have been exchanging emails with the owner of a great website about Yashicas. As I live in Japan I sometimes see hard to find models and have sent him a few. He wanted to do something in return, so I suggested he send me a camera in return. He did, and this is the camera. Just to be clear, I don’t suggest you inundate either of us with requests for swaps, the postage could get out of hand. BUT it is awesome receiving surprise cameras.
This is the Yashica FR II which was first introduced in 1977, an awesome year…and a sad year in music terms.
In my excitement and haste to try it, along with the 12 exposure film he sent, I completely forgot that he wrote about cleaning off the old seals. So this is the test roll:
Oops. But they are sharp and the colours, apart from the light leaks, were vivid. So of course then I got to replacing the seals. As I am not in my usual Japanese home for the summer, I don’t have my regular equipment. I just had off-cuts to work with, but I figured as long as the door hinge was done it should be ok.
I really need to get better at this. My thought is, it doesn’t have to be tidy, just functional. I was so confident in my friend’s choice and the seals that I took it on holiday to the Isle of Mull.
Ok, a bit more about the camera. It takes a 4LR44 battery, which is easy to get. On auto mode, the camera has aperture priority. There is no manual control. Inside the viewfinder is a needle display that lets you know the speed chosen, but it does not work unless activated. You can activate the needle in two ways. There is a black button on the top, near the rewind lever, and a slider on the back. I found it difficult to press the button and preferred the slider. The slider is situated where your thumb sits, it was much more efficient and comfortable for me. The only issue I could see with the camera was that the film counter didn’t work. I have read this is a common problem caused by a broken gear. This site has a repair, but I don’t feel the need to fix it.
I put a few different films through the camera. Here are some of the shots. I chose a selection to let Yashica Sailor have a good view of Mull. I would highly recommend the west side of Scotland to anyone. Edinburgh is great, but I love the hills, mountains, and moorland of the west.
Now, here is where the coincidence comes in. On Mull there is a charity shop by the ferry port. I went in and asked if they had any film cameras. They had one camera and one lens. Amazingly, the lens was a Yashica 75-200mm and there was me with a Yashica film camera in my bag. I snapped it up.
I used it at various times on the trip, but not too much as I didn’t know if it worked or what condition it was in. It was fine.
So, a great camera, a great lens coincidence and a super surprise.
Keep or sell: mine and thanks 🙂