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Yashica YL
Old 05-08-2012   #1
seajak
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Yashica YL

Last night my daughter's boyfriend brought around a camera which had belonged to his grandfather and was bought just after he arrived here from England. It is a Yashica YL with the 2.8 lens still in its original leather case. The body is in in excellent condition, not a scratch or dent anywhere. The lens has a few dust spots but I don't think they would affect the image. The viewfinder needs a good clean as is to be expected. However, the main problem is with the focus ring. The focussing tab has been broken off and the ring is locked solid. I did read that this can often be due to the old lubricant drying out and it can be freed up with a little heat from a hair dryer but I'm a little nervous about trying that. Are there any other easy fixes or is this a job for a repairman? I think the camera is worth spending some money on but neither the owner nor I can afford it at the moment.

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clay
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Old 05-08-2012   #2
farlymac
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If you've ever done any camera repairs before, it's a simple matter of tearing down the lens to replace the focus ring, and to clean out and replace the dried lube. If you haven't done this type of work before, then it's better left to the professionals. You need a major replacement part, so it's either buy another camera just to get the ring, or send it to a shop that would have the part available.

And seeing as the camera has quite a bit of sentimental value, then the owner should consider getting it professionally repaired, so that he won't get back a pile of parts from someone who doesn't really know what they are doing. YL's are not that common a camera, but can be found now and then. If he is really interested in rangefinder photography, maybe he can get a different model to use while he saves up for repairing the heirloom. Lots of good Yashicas on the market these days, particularly the Lynx models, as they are a full manual control type like the YL.

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Old 05-08-2012   #3
Greyscale
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It's not the focusing ring that is missing, but the focusing tab. But if it is like the YK, you still would need to tear down the lens to replace it, as it screws on from inside the focus ring.

I don't know if you really need a blow dryer to soften up that old grease, I would try putting the camera beneath a desk lamp, that may warm it up enough to get it turning, and maybe a drop or two of naphtha will suit to re-amalgamate that old grease. But it probably should be torn down and re-greased.

The lens assembly on the YL might be similar enough to that on the YK or J that some parts may be interchangeable (it looks the same in pictures, at least), so that gives a little hope as to availability of parts.

Considering the rarity of the camera and it's obvious sentimental value, I'm with Phil; it is well worth getting that fine old rangefinder serviced professionally. If I were you, I would get in touch with Mark Hama (http://www.markhama.com/) or Russ at Camerarefurb (http://camerarefurb.com/), both of whom specialize in reapair of Yashica rangefinder cameras.
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Old 05-08-2012   #4
Greyscale
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I got to thinking after I posted above. You may not want to force that focus ring too much, it could be that the screws from that broken focus tab are jamming up the works.
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Old 05-08-2012   #5
Leigh Youdale
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First up, for general interest there's a Yashica YE RF for sale currently on the big auction site - looks really nice. Item number: 160529610807.
But what might be of more immediate interest is the seller is in Perth, is VERY knowledgable about Yashicas, usually has lots of TLR's for sale and can probably give you some good advice or contacts regarding the repair you're faced with. He's very nice to deal with (or was when I bought a 124G from him a few years back) and is a hidden resource for Yashica and Mamiya TLR owners. His name is Peter Pickering.
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Old 05-10-2012   #6
seajak
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Thanks everyone for the sound advice. I agree that the camera really deserves some TLC from a professional.

Leigh, thanks for suggesting Peter Pickering. I wandered onto his Yashica Camera Club page a while back when I was thinking of buying a Yashica for myself but I wouldn't have thought to contact him about this camera. I'll send him an email.

cheers,
clay
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