Yashica ML 50mm f/1.4 Lens Review

Yashica ML 50mm f/1.4 Handling and Features

Yashica Ml 50mm F1,4 Front Oblique View

We are firmly in the area of manual operation with this, but in the event the Canon EOS 5DS R presents no problems with the totally electronic-free mount. The lens has to be focused manually of course and the diaphragm set using the ring on the lens. The diaphragm remains at its set value and there is no stopping down.

There is a 52mm filter thread, multi coating and an ultra smooth manual focusing ring. That's it. The metal construction as always gives an impression of solid manufacture and the finish is excellent. One of the things we have lost with AF lenses is the sheer tactile pleasure of the smooth manual focusing that we have here. Absolutely gorgeous. Focusing is quite precise and the focusing screen on the 5D SR is fine in terms of acuity. This may not always be the case with all camera bodies.

Yashica Ml 50mm F1,4 Vertical View

Optically, we have 7 elements in 6 groups, a fairly conventional design for f/1.4 standard lenses. There are no aspheric or low dispersion glasses here, just plain correction that should be fine for use on film, but will always be interesting to evaluate on digital. Some classic lenses behave well and some less so. Digital sensors like telecentric lenses, where the exit light rays are parallel, whereas film does not need such considerations. Consequently, many wide angle film-era designs do not perform so well on DSLRs.

One thing that is very obvious at first glance is that lenses were once much smaller than they are now. Built in AF motors, ambitious zoom ranges and large apertures have all contributed to larger lenses. The traditional manual focus lens is minuscule compared to many current offerings, although for its size the weight of 320g seems quite heavy. Metal and glass are the culprits with that.

Yashica Ml 50mm F1,4 Rear Oblique View

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