The Yashica 45mm F1.7 Is a Beautiful Dream to Shoot with When Adapted

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There are lots of awful things that can be associated with the name Yashica. But this is more so the case if you’re considering a modern Yashica. Vintage Yashica, on the other hand, is as appealing as vintage Rolex. That’s to say that there’s a ton of hype, and it’s well deserved. So after Junior Photo Editor Feroz Khan interviewed Terry Godlove, I thought I’d buy one of his creations. Luckily, I scored the Yashica 45mm f1.7 lens. This is the legendary lens that was on the GSN Electro 35. Let me tell you, it’s a dream on digital.

Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, easy-to-digest posts.

The Yashica 45mm f1.7 is a beautiful lens. And here are the reasons why:

  • Solid build quality. It’s made of metal.
  • Typical old school design that won’t be sharp when focusing to infinity unless you stop the lens down.
  • Aperture ring
  • Smooth focusing
  • Sharp, but not too sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh

None of those reasons sound very specific, for sure. The amount of times that we’ve said a lens has beautiful bokeh is uncountable. But this lens is far different. It’s a vintage design on a brand new Sony sensor. Unlike modern Sony lenses which are very overbaked, the Yashica 45mm f1.7 isn’t the case. The bokeh isn’t perfectly round. You’re not going to pixel peep and stare at the pores on a subject. And the way this one was designed is quirky. Terry positioned the aperture and focusing on the bottom instead of on top. Why? It probably just worked out that way. But I continued to work with it because, well, it’s better to just work with an issue than fight it and potentially negate a good lens. In this situation, it made me shoot with more care and consideration.

Take a look at the image above and below. You’ll see how the bokeh very slightly changes based on the focus. It’s really nice, isn’t it?

The Yashica 45mm f1.7 is also not very contrasty. So, even when shooting against a strong backlight, it won’t seem too sharp. If anything, it will give off a really gorgeous lens flare. There’s also some extra character where the lens seems to have a bit of bokeh swirl.

Quite honestly, I’m flabbergasted here. The Yashica 45mm f1.7 is a fantastic lens, but that’s I could go on saying that over and over again. So, I’ll tackle this a bit differently.

  • The Yashica 45mm f1.7 is for a photographer who wants something completely different. They don’t want a 40mm. They don’t want a 50mm. And they want a sharp lens that’s not overly sharp. They also want great colors and bokeh.
  • The photographer who wants this lens wants something totally unique.
  • What makes this lens so special is a sharpness that isn’t overdone. There’s also beautiful colors and bokeh.
  • I’d be careful with this lens. It’s not weather sealed. And we tested it on a Sony a7r III. Sony cameras are great, but their sensors get dirty quickly. 
  • The best thing to do is find this lens on eBay and have it adapted to your camera.
  • Why use this lens specifically? It’s kind of a token look with a je ne sais quoi about it I really put my finger on. But let the sample images do the speaking for me.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.