Yashica Lynx. Not bad for $40! / by Rennie Brown

Yashica Lynx 14E (circa 1968)

Yashica Lynx 14E (circa 1968)

The Yashica Lynx 14E was introduced in 1968. It was a big deal in its day, and it was also just plain big. The body is so large that when you see it beside other 35mm rangefinders and you might assume it takes 120 roll film. Built like a tank. But it was great camera at the time because it had a very fast F1.4 45mm fixed lens, easy-to-use push-button light meter and exposure controls and a reasonably large and bright viewfinder. You don't see many Lynxes around now, but one popped up on Craigslist a little while back and decided to go for it. 

A young fellow appeared at the train station with the 14E in a brown paper bag. "It was my grandfather's" he said. He assured me it worked and that he had used it up until a year or two ago. It looked good but when I fired the shutter it seemed to stick, and there was no battery to check the meter. After a little negotiation I acquired the Lynx for the reduced price of $40 on account of its shutter being questionable. Upon additional testing at home, the Lynx's shutter ceased completely. Oh great. I just got hoodwinked by a 20-year-old with a broken camera and a paper bag. But I was wrong. 

After a little research I discovered that the stuck shutter syndrome is very typical of the model, especially when it's been in hibernation for a while, and is often remedied with with a solvent flood. I carefully removed the front ring and element. I liberally doused the shutter with solvent, cleaned things up, reassembled and viola! Shutter works perfectly at every speed. 

To put it to the test I ran a roll of 100 ISO Lomo colour negative film through the Lynx. I had to replace the batteries of course. Ordered them online. The camera is fully mechanical and will operate without the batteries, but the batteries operate the push-button meter which turned out to be very accurate. 

A sampling of the results is below. Not bad for $40!

You can learn more about the Yashica Lynx here