At first glance you would think that the Lynx-14 was just another mid-1960s fixed lens rangefinder, along the lines of the Minolta Hi-Matic line or a cousin of the Yashica Electro line. But the model of camera gives you an idea of what makes this camera stand apart from its contemporaries. The Lynx-14 is the only fixed lens rangefinder to feature an f/1.4 lens, which gives about an extra stop over most others that only have an f/1.8 or f/1.7 lens. Big thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning me this beauty.
Type: 35mm Rangefinder
Lens: Fixed, Yashinon-DX 1:1.4 f=45mm
Year of Manufacture: 1965
The feature that really makes this camera stand out is the lens, a whopping f/1.4 is great for lowlight and narrow depth-of-field junkies. But it’s also quality glass producing wonderfully sharp images and if shooting colour excellent contrast. The camera does boast the fastest lens among fixed lens rangefinders, you’d have to hop over to the Canon 7’s iconic f/0.95 50mm lens or Leica’s Noctalux (another 50mm f/0.95) to get any faster and those will take a chunk out of your wallet. Another feature I found handy with the camera is the simple on-demand meter. The camera uses a CdS style center-weighted meter that isn’t always on, you press and hold a button on the front to activate the meter than adjust the aperture and shutter speed until the simple over/under match needle sits in the middle, then release to turn it off. Saves battery power.
Probably the biggest draw back to using this camera today is getting a battery. You guessed it, mercury cell, which thankfully only operates the meter and the camera can still be used without it using either an external meter or sunny-16. Additionally you can get an adapter to use a modern battery or just throw in an unadapted battery and shoot a film with a wide latitude to compensate. And secondly the film advance throw on this camera is long…longest I’ve ever used, and it can get annoying at time and keeps you from using the camera in a quick manner for say street photography.
The Low Down
If you like razor depth-of-field and shoot a lot in low light situations this is a great camera for you. Additionally if you like the mid-60s rangefinders but want to stand out from everyone and their Hi-Matic, this one certainly will do that for you as well. But you will pay, these cameras do tend to go for 200$ or higher on Ebay. Plus they have a tendency to jam. If you’re a fan of Yashica optics, I would suggest going for one of the more common models before dropping some coin on the Lynx-14.
All Photos shot in Listowel and Mitchell Ontario respectively.
Yashica Lynx-14 – Yashinon-DX 1:1.4 f=45mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 15:00 @ 20C