35mm Yashica Camera Review (Yashica MG-1 Film Camera)

35mm Yashica Camera Review (Yashica MG-1 Film Camera)

Less of a Yashica MG-1 review and more of how this 35mm film camera got me into photography. It might just inspire you to pick up an analogue camera! Including Yashica MG-1 sample photos and the transition to a Nikon FM and then other film cameras..

Katie with Yashica, London

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35mm Yashica MG-1 Camera – My first film camera and the camera that started my life!

My film photography – How it all started

My first taste of film photography in the digital era was in 2010 after recently joining Flickr and having purchased my first ‘real’ camera with interchangeable lens, the M43 Lumix G1 (I will write a separate post on the G1). Knowing my new passion for photography, Dad dug out his late father’s (Grandpop’s) pride and joy, a Yashica MG-1. Grandpop was a huge inspiration to me and shaped me to be how I am today. I didn’t even know he liked photography but he seems to have passed on that trait to me too.  What I now had was a 1970s fixed 45mm f2.8 lens 35mm rangefinder camera.

There began the ‘Yashica Project’!
Yashica MG-1 (My late Grandad's pride and joy)

But I know absolutely nothing about film photography!  I didn’t study it at school

So now I had a 35mm Yashica MG-1 film camera yet knew absolutely nothing about old cameras and Dad knew even less. I rallied round my new found Lumix G1 UK Flickr pool friends for advice. Everyone was amazingly helpful and bit by bit I started to piece together the puzzle. I obtained a Yashica MG-1 manual and then managed to source a Yashica MG-1 battery from searching online.

What B&W film should I buy?

Next to research, film! So much choice and no clue as to which film types were ‘better’ than others. Back to Flickr! I searched and reviewed each film type and looking at peoples example images and read forum discussions on the pros and cons of each. I found a series of photos that just said to me ’authentic film look’. I had opted for Ilford FP4+. This is ISO 125 fine grain B&W film. I hastily ordered 3 rolls from an eBay seller to try out. Colour film didn’t interest me but I was given some old Kodak film that had been in a cupboard for the last 10 years to try with too.

Yashica goes B&W

Yashica MG-1 Photos – My first test roll! Ilford FP4+ (2010)

I was new to photography and in the process of teaching myself as I went with the Lumix G1. I tended to take photos of anything around me. Here are some samples from a one off random visit to Newcastle on a foggy cold autumn morning. Perfect for my new B&W vintage look film style I thought!

Yashica  MG-1 B&W #2

I was captivated by the cities bridges and architecture.
Yashica MG-1 B&W #4
Yashica MG1 & Ilford FP4+

Ilford Lab UK B&W Film Developing / Processing

I sent my film to the UK Ilford Lab for developing. The prints came back together with scans on a CD in a very professional looking presentation box. They had done a great job of developing but it wasn’t cheap. After around 2-3 rolls of film my film fad was suddenly forgotten as fast as it had started. I had just discovered I could use legacy glass on the Lumix G1 and my new best friend was a Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4 lens. (See Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 blog post). 

Yashica MG-1 B&W #5

Film photography revisited! (2012).. and photography had got serious!

Bye Bye Lumix G1. Hello Nikon D800!

I still had a roll of Ilford FP4+ looking at me on my camera shelf and he wasn’t going anywhere fast so I thought perhaps it was time to try film again. Much had changed since 2010. I had outgrown my old Lumix G1 and had joined the mainstream moving to Nikon. I had own and sold a Nikon D90 and Nikon D700 and was now using their latest offering , the full frame 36mp D800. Yes, things had got serious! My passion for photography had started to take over my life. I had found a use for all my reading and research and was now offering Photography Tuition to others teaching photography workshops on a 1-2-1 basis. I had also stopped taking photos of everything that moved and specialised to taking photos of everything that moved wearing high heels and a short skirt. Yes I now called myself a Model Photographer but also work as a Wedding Photographer. The downstairs of the house was now a permanent photography studio and I was doing 3 to 4 model shoots a week, not only in the UK but across Europe.

Time to try Film Photography again!

It was then when I thought, now is the time to try 35mm B&W film again. The Yashica is tiny compared to my digital offerings and the huge telephoto lenses such as the Nikkor 200mmf2 AIS. I tried to keep the rangefinder with me when I knew I had a good model to work with. The last of the three FP4+ roll of film was in the camera perhaps 6 months taking a few photos every so often.

I discovered a whole new world.. Medium Format Photography!! . .The Contax 645 arrives!

It was now autumn 2012 and a new project was suddenly on the horizon. I felt I needed more than the Nikon D800 could offer me so the research had begun once again. It lead me to a whole new world that I did really know existed and that I knew absolutely nothing about. Welcome medium format photography! Many more late nights soon followed and within around two weeks I had absorbed a sufficient amount of information to talk (rave!) comfortably to others about this new phenomenon. Soon after I invested in a Contax 645 (see review) medium format film camera. Shortly after that a Pentacon Six TL (see review!) followed and with it came a new found love for Film Photography.

Home developed B&W Film – My first roll of film worked! (2012)

December 2012 and I had now purchased all I needed to develop my first batch of black and white film. I knew I still had the 35mm Ilford FP4+ finished film in my Yashica so I thought that would make a good test roll. Forgetting how to use the Yashica I opened the back to find the film had not been rewound letting some light in. It was now an even better test roll! I will discuss developing your own black and white film using a Paterson tank in a separate review but here are the photos that followed from that first test roll. I expected to see nothing on the film as just assumed I’d wrecked it letting light in or messed up my developing method despite trying to follow instructions posted by others on YouTube! I was like a big kid and there was much whooping when I saw the results. It had worked! 

Yashica MG-1 Sample Photos

Ellie with Yashica MG-1
Jodi with Yashica MG-1

(Model credits (top down): Ellie, Ellie, Jodi)

Nikon FM SLR – Replaces Yashica MG-1

Since that last test roll I then went on to buy a Nikon FM SLR 35mm film camera (another review to write). The FM’s primary advantage was the interchangeable lenses and therefore access to all my D800 Nikon primes. I think the Yashica MG-1 will be back in the cupboard now for another few years but never say never!

Yashica MG-1 – Off topic following the Momentum in my Photography

*The last few paragraphs of this post may still be of interest even if you skip the next section

(Dec13) Update – Reached 1000 Blog Followers & Exciting Year ahead!!

Wedding Photography – I have my highest number of Wedding Photography bookings in the diary to date. Really looking forward to getting out there and starting shooting now. I have been booked for Leica Wedding Photography in Barbados but I have to wait for 2015 for that one!

Leica Photography – The Leica M9 camera is ready to go with a fantastic line up of lenses to use for both Leica Wedding Photography and Fashion and Beauty Portrait Photography.  Newer lenses include Leica Summilux ASPH 50 f1.4, Leica Summicron 50 f2 and Leica Elmar 135mm f4, Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii and Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5.  I now feel the Leica M9 camera can cover most simtuations I come across during a wedding day.  It really is a fantastic tool for documentary style wedding photography.  I may even look to get a second Leica body so I do not need to change lenses as often.  35mm is great for most occasions but sometimes you need a 50mm (or longer) and sometimes 28mm (or wider).  I felt my most focused during my last Leica wedding when I shot almost the entire wedding day with just the CV 35/1.2 ASPH ii lens.  In the past with my Nikon D800 I changed lenses too frequently so was less focused on what was happening around me. The Leica camera bag is also much smaller and lighter so I am much more mobile to get my shots.

Studio Photography – My Coventry photography studio has a new backdrop and new lights and can make use of the new Leica camera equipment in addition to the Nikon D800 and film cameras.

Location Fashion Photography – I am now more available to travel within the UK and overseas so I am looking forward to shooting in some fantastic new locations and collaborating with new models, designers and makeup artists.

Collaboration – I was luck enough to meet and work with some amazing people in 2013.  As a regular model photographer I am only as good as my model.  2013 saw me work with some extremely talented and beautiful girls both in the UK and overseas.  I strive to discover literally Britain’s next top model to help me raise my game to the next level.  In 2013 I often worked 1 on 1 with models without additional hair and makeup artists.  I found I am able to apply eye makeup and can direct models how to apply their makeup for the look I desire.  I also found myself enjoying styling the models hair during shoots to get new and creative looks from the basic materials.  I will try anything to enhance my photography!  Despite me discovering these un-expected talents, in 2014 I want to now start collaborating more with makeup artists, stylists, clothes designers and model agencies to help a team of people create something really special.

For the 2013 weddings I met some really lovely wedding couples and very helpful venue staff, wedding planners and event managers.  I also worked as a freelance wedding videographer shooting alongside various talented videographers / cinemaphotographers.  I look forward to the wedding photography / videography bookings I have for 2014 and the people I will get to work with at those events.

Event Photography – After photographing a New Year’s Eve fashion show Asian bridal catwalk last night I really got a taste again for event photography. I have covered fashion shows in the past but not as many in 2013. I look forward to getting involved in more fashion shows in 2014.

Studio Photography Workshops – Word is starting to spread that I run photography and lighting tuition workshops from my Coventry studio and the number of bookings continues to increase. I have had interest from as far as Australia as well as clients living in Switzerland and Denmark. I tailor the photography workshops to suit individual needs. Photography courses include: Understanding your new DLSR / digital camera, what is Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, how to read a Histogram, RAW or JPEG, how to pose and light a model, flash photography using a speedlight or studiolight, balancing flash light with ambient light and even how to develop black and white film.

Location Photography Workshops
 – New for 2014, I plan to run some location photography workshops in some of the UK’s larger cities to begin with such as Birmingham and London. I will arrange for a professional model to join us for the day and will teach you how to pose and light a model on location using both ambient light and speedlights. Looking further ahead I may offer trips to Poland and Ukraine for those interesting in travelling to a different country to work with local models and making use of the countries architecture. Poland and Ukraine are amongst my favourite locations for model photography outside the UK. If you are interested in either UK or overseas photography workshops please get in touch to give me an idea of numbers, thanks.

Film Photography – An exciting year ahead for my film photography. I now have a range of Leica M mount lenses that I can use on my 35mm film camera – Voigtlander Bessa R3A. I have new film backs for my medium format Mamiya RZ67 Pro II so can now shoot it in 6×6 and 645 formats. I plan to do some landscape photography with my 6×9 Russian Moskva-5 folding camera. I am also looking forward to using some new film types and comparing them to the Kodak films I most often use.

Polaroid Photography – I now have a RZ polaroid film back for my Mamiya RZ67 pro II that produces 7×7 images. I have stocked up on the black and white Fujiflim FP-3000B that has now been discontinued and also on colour Fuji FP-100C. Looking forward to doing some RZ polaroid portraits!

All in all exciting times ahead! 🙂

What else may 2014 bring?

Leica Summilux ASPH 75mm f1.4 – I am really interested in this lens. I see it as a Leica Lux’ 50 but on steroids doing all that I love about the Summilux 50 but bigger and better. The sweet spot for me on the Lux’ 50 is at f1.4 at 0.7M. If I bought a 75mm lens it would be to use at f1.4 at 0.7M as much as possible. This rules out all other 75mm lenses (Leica Summicron and Summarit and Voigtlander Heliar).

Hasselblad Flexbody – Now this really excites me. It is almost large format photography yet you can use and develop 120 medium format roll film in a Patterson tank (rather than sheet film needing a dark room).

Happy New Year from MatthewOsbornePhotography and thanks for the 1000 or so followers that joined me in 2013!

Leica M9 - Me!

(2018) Update – Since 2012 things just got crazy!

2010 was the beggining of a very very addictive slippery slope.  Now in 2018 if you visit my Film Photography blog section you will see just how many different film cameras I have accumulated and use. Half frame 35mm, full frame 35mm, medium format 645, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9 and 4×5 large format cameras!  Everything from multiple Leica film cameras, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Rolleiflex, Fuji, more Nikon SLRs and then all the lenses for each camera system!  I moved from the Nikon D800 and now shoot with digital Leica cameras.  I still teach, I still do weddings, I still fly all over the place searching for the most beautiful girls on the planet to photography and I still shoot and develop my own film (now both B&W film and colour film!).

The camera gave me my voice and improved my life for the better

The last 8 years of my life has been quite a journey (in terms of non stop cameras, photography and learning) but I’ve loved every minute.  Photography has opened so many doors for me and given me so many opportunities.  Having a camera has given me a voice (literally).  I barely dared to look up when walking in the street let alone try to make eye contact with a pretty girl before.  Having a camera slowly built my confidence enough to now approach these same girls and engage in conversation.  Why?  Because I knew if they would let me take their picture they would like the photos and then in return would be happy to be around me.  It sounds very shallow but this increase in general confidence then slowly improves all other aspects of life and I feel I now enjoy my life more than ever before.  It sounds cheesy but it was the camera that gave me my voice.

Final Point

If you have never used a film camera treat yourself.  It might change your life the same as it did for me!  Head over to eBay and pick yourself up a £100 film camera. Go buy a few rolls of film and then let the magic begin!  Enjoy!


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Pentacon Six Review (Pentacon Six TL Camera)

Pentacon Six Review

Here is a short Pentacon Six Review after getting myself a Pentacon Six TL on eBay!  Soon after the purchase I was buying P6 lenses and that lead to the next camera, the P6 lens mount ARAX-CM (a modified Kiev 88 camera)

Katie trying out Pentacon Six  on me

Model (Katie) trying my Pentacon Six TL camera!

My Film Photography

First – Contax 645

I started to get into film properly in the autumn of 2012. I decided to buy a Contax 645 medium format 6×4.5 film camera to obtain super shallow DOF using the Carl Zeiss 80mm f2 T lens. The original plan was to purchase a digital back until I saw the cost. I realised that the film look is more to my taste than the sterile digital look and it would save me adding aging textures to my photos to get the looked I desired.  After looking at more and more film photos on Flickr I decided within about 2 weeks of ordering the Contax that I already wanted more.

Next – 6×6 Film Love

The Contax had not even arrived I was starting to develop a love for the 6×6 square format of Hasselblads (and other brands).  The long late nights of research commenced once again. Back to the forums, Flickr, YouTube and then of course finally…eBay!

Katie SOOC in front of the Pentacon Six

Pentacon Six Ebay- Cheap!

I could not get over the Pentacon Six eBay prices.  So cheap compared to the Contax 645 I had just bought and the Digital D800/D700 I was used too.  It was about the same price as a spare film back for the Contax 645!  I had to get one to try.  I knew enough that there would be a lot of rubbish on eBay and some Pentacon Six overlap issues and the like so I bought a ‘mint’ condition one and hoped it worked OK.

Pentacon Six TL Arrives!

“Proper” film camera! – Arrival!

Arrival! When it arrived it felt and looked like a ‘proper’ film camera and not like the DSLR-like  Contax.  I loved the lack of electronics and the waist level finder.  It is both quite weighty and large but feels solid to hold.  The lens it came with was a standard Carl Zeiss Biometer 80mm/f2.8 which equates to around 50mm on a 35mm sensor.

Pentacon Six Film Loading / Test Roll

Test roll!  I had planned to lab develop my film and C41 processing was the cheapest so bought 10 rolls of Ilford XP2 Super C41 B&W film.  I had read many reviews on how to load film correctly so watched a YouTube video to remind myself as I did so.  I had also read that you can get 13 exposures from a 120 film so took that into account also and loaded the film with the arrow perhaps 2 inches before the arrow marker.  I’m a Model Photographer so tried the Pentacon Six first on a shoot with Katie near Reading.  Here are some samples:

Pentacon Six Flickr Portraits

Katie with the 6x6 Pentacon Six TL + Biotar 80/2.8
Katie with Pentacon Six
Katie also tried using the Pentacon Six to get a photo of me taking a photo of her with my Nikon D800!:
6x6 Me! :)  ..with Pentacon Six TL
I thought I had shot the entire roll so opened the camera film back to see it was not actually finished so closed it back up again.  As a result light got in (as you saw above) but also more so here:
Harriett with Pentacon Six

Pentacon Six Film Overlap

The overlapping also resulted in a few interesting images!
Harriett with Pentacon Six
I was keen to solve the overlap issue so spoke to an old camera shop in Liverpool that a Flickr friend recommended.  The guy on the phone suggested I tried taping 3-4inches of backing paper to start of each new roll before loading the film so the spool has more film wrapped around to ‘bite’ on.  I did so and had no further overlap problems.

Andra with Pentacon Six

Pentacon Six Lenses (P6 Lenses)

Over the next few months I bought more lenses.  See examples with each:

Pentacon Six TL + Carl Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f2.8 – for super shallow DOF:

Katie with Pentacon Six TL
Sarah with Pentacon Six TL + CZ Sonnar 180/2.8
Katie with CZ Sonnar 180/2.8 on Pentacon Six TL

Pentacon Six + Russian Mir 26b, 45mm f3.5 a wider view:

History brushed away..
Katie with Pentacon Six TL
Katie with Mir-26b on Pentacon Six

I kept buying lenses but also cameras and the next chapter in my Film Photography began.

Arrival of the 6×6 ARAX-CM (Kiev88) aka ‘Hasselbladski’!).

*ARAX-CM and Contax645  reviews (plus others) coming soon.
**Pentacon Six TL now for sale. It comes with a mint condition leather case and 80mm f2.8 Biometer lens (stuck open at f2.8).

I bought it like this and like to always shoot wide open so was great for my needs.

My Film Crew!

Pentacon Six Review Summary

I enjoy using the Pentacon Six TL camera and especially the P6 mount lenses but found buying the ARAX-CM (Kiev 88) killed it off a little.  The ARAX-CM has the same Pentacon Six mount (P6 lens mount) but has all the benefits of a Hasselblad styled camera design. The ARAX-CM became my go to camera for the next few years.

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Nikon D800 Portraits

Nikon D800 Portraits


Nikon D800 is my primary digital camera for model photography (and weddings).  Here are a few sample Nikon D800 portraits from my Flickr feed.  For B&W I shoot using the D800 B&W in camera JPEG settings then resized and tagged in LR3.

Nikon D800 Portraits

Roxana SOOC
Roxana with CZ Planar 80/2 T
Gina with Arri Light
Gina & Samyang 85/1.4
Stacy with 50/1.2 AIS
Stacy & Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Katie, as shot
Katie with Rollei Planar 50/1.8
Justina with Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Andra & ARAX 80/2.8
Katie with Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Katie & Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Katie (v2)
Katie & Samyang 85/1.4 (Tagged for Samyang)
Farrah Gibson
Farrah & Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Andra Getting Ready
Andra & Samyang 85/1.4
Devon & Samyang 85/1.4
Emma & CZ Planar 80/2 T
Photo Shoot with Maria
Maria & Nikkor 50/1.2 AIS
Galyna SOOC
Galyna & Samyang 85/1.4
Sensual (2)
Devon & Lottie & CZ Planar 80/2 T
Agnieszka SOOC, ISO 6400, 1/20, f1.8 Handheld
Agnieszka & CZ Pancolar 80/1.8
Elka 6x6 Crop
Elka & CZ Pancolar 80/1.8

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6×6 Film Photography – ARAX-CM in India!

6×6 Film Photography – ARAX-CM in India!


I was out in India on a work trip and got some time at the weekend to go exploring with my cameras. I’d managed to fit my Nikon D800, a Nikon FM 35mm film camera and my favourite, a rebadged Russian Kiev88 (“ARAX-CM”) 6×6 medium format film camera into my hand luggage for the flight, with lenses. I soon realised I only wanted to shoot film. This post, “Part 1”, includes B&W 6×6 film photos taken.

It was my fourth visit to India so I was able to get around on my own and see the real street life. I picked up an auto on the side of the highway, agreed my fare then headed into Pune.

6×6 Film Photography

Truck filling up with water outside our hotel – Four Points Sheraton.

India on 6x6 Film!
ARAX-CM (Kiev 88), Mir-38v (65mm/f3.5) @f3.5. 77mm orange filter

My first stop was Pune railway station as there is always lots to see.

India's Railways (3)
ARAX-CM (Kiev 88), Mir-38v (65mm/f3.5) @f3.5. 77mm orange filter

India's Railways (2)

India's Railways (1)

Next, onto MG Road. One of the main shopping areas.

India Street Food (1)
ARAX-CM (Kiev 88), Mir-38v (65mm/f3.5) @f3.5

India Street Food (2)
Afternoon Nap, India
India Street Life
Street shooting, India

All photos shot on Kodak TMAX 100 120 B&W film pushed to 800 in developing. Developed using Rodinal 1:100 stand developing for 1hr10 at 20 degrees.

Part 2: India, March 2013. Part 2 – 6×6 Colour Medium Format Film (not yet developed.. to follow)
Part 3: India, March 2013. Part 3 – 35mm B&W Film (not yet developed.. to follow)

More 6×6 Film Photography!


I use quite a few medium format cameras.  Here are a few more 6×6 cameras I use –

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