Sunday, February 3, 2008

First impressions of Yashica FX-D stereo camera

My first impressions of the new camera were very positive. I already own two RBT SLR cameras: The RBT X4 and the RBT X3. The X4 is a simple camera with manual advance and no autoexposure, while the X3 is much more sophisticated. They both take Pentax K mount lenses. In the past, I had owned a RBT 108 camera, and for a while I had accumulated a number of matched Contax lenses, but the camera advance and auto exposure were not very reliable and I had a hard time switching lenses, so I ended up selling the camera and lenses.

From my own experience and needs, a stereo camera must:
  1. Be easy to operate
  2. Have reliable film advance/rewind
  3. Have reliable Auto Exposure
  4. Come with well-matched lenses

My favorite RBT camera is the S1 which is extremely easy to operate, with excellent matched lenses and autoexposure, but the film rewind is giving me problems. Also, the fixed lenses and rangefinder (RF) nature, limit the things that one can do with the camera.

The X3 is too complicated for me (I need to read the manual to switch from manual to auto exposure mode), while the X4 is too primitive, lacking auto exposure, and other automations.

It seems that this new camera met all my requirements. It is solidly built and it is definitely easy to operate, with a large dial to select the manual speeds or automatic (I prefer dials and switches over LCD screens and menus). The advance/rewind is manual, but a Yashica/Contax winder can be used, if desired. The exposure system is very accurate and it is easy to lock a given exposure measurement while moving the camera around to meter. The lenses are fixed focal length and perfectly matched (f-stop and focal length).

I shot a couple of pictures during our family vacation in Minneapolis. The pictures turned out to be sharp and well-matched. I am in 3d heaven. My excitement for stereo photography is reaching a new peak again.

In the meanwhile I wanted to learn more about the person who built it and also about the Yashica/Contax line of cameras, lenses, and accessories. I was told by the seller that the camera was built by Fritz Ochotta, a stereo photographer from Germany

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