Yashica MG-1 Rangefinder

Went to the fleamarket for a second weekend in a row. Hot and humid today. It was already near boiling at 9am in the morning. Not much to see today, lots of knick-knacks but not anything interesting for me. There were some cameras but not anything that appealed to me. Mostly compact digitals, some Polaroids from the 80’s and 90’s and also a Yashica FX-3 SLR but the condition was bad. As with all Yashica FX-3’s and later Yashica SLRs, the fake leatherette flaked off with use over time and this one was no different. It had a Yashica 50mm lens attached to it. I was surprised when I picked it up, it was very light and felt plasticky. I was expecting it to be all metal and heavier. The seller wanted $25 for it, so I passed it off.

My black Yashica MG-1
(note that the black version does not have the “atom” logo)

Walking further on I saw another Yashica. This was made earlier than the FX-3 and a rangefinder. Yashica rangefinders are excellent and available for cheap ever since the digital revolution. People were selling them off for AUD$15 to $20 in Australia a decade ago. Prices now have stabilized to around US$25 to $50 nowadays on eBay. This particular rangefinder was the Yashica MG-1 in chrome finish. As I already have an MG-1 (in black finish), I wasn’t planning on acquiring another one. “How much?”, I asked the seller. $5 was the answer. Without much further thought, I took out my wallet and handed her the $5.

Examining it more closely at home, this particular MG-1 is in excellent condition. It looked like it just came out from a camera shop from the 70’s. The chrome body is pristine and mint, the Yashinon 45mm f2.8 lens is super clear.

In the 70’s, the MG-1 operated with a 5.6V mercury battery. These are no longer available. When I pressed lightly on the shutter button, the orange and red exposure indicator lights flashed meaning that there was power supply to the camera. The MG-1 is an aperture-priority camera and the CdS light sensor on the lens barrel needs power to work. Opening the battery chamber, a working new looking Duracell 6V PX32A battery popped out – an extra bonus! Not sure when this battery was put in but apparently Duracell stopped making the PX32 batteries in Jan 2000. No worries, the Yashica Guy sells battery adaptors for the Yashica series of rangefinders.

The camera is missing the lens cap and currently a 57mm diameter Yashica lens cover/cap cost 3 times more than what I paid for the MG-1. So I’ll make do without a cover until such time one comes across for cheap!

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