Closing out the Summer with some film and the Yashica 230AF by Ibraar Hussain

Closing out the Summer with some film and the Yashica 230AF by Ibraar Hussain

Goodbye Summer..

Well, the Summer is almost over, and we didn’t get much of one, by much I mean an extended couple or more months of heat, sunshine blue skies and not much else. We got mostly rain, May was fine for the most part, but All of June and most of July was a complete wash out, and August has freaky changeable weather.

But I was lucky, lucky that for a few days here and there when the weather was fine, I was off from work and on leave and was able to go and visit my favourite place in the whole wide world – Wales, especially Brecon and Pembrokeshire. On the few visits I lugged around a huge backpack packed with camera’s, and I thoroughly enjoyed using them

I had a few Cameras in my bag, the Rolleiflex 6008i, Rolleiflex SL35 and a Kodak Easyshare max Z990. The Rolleiflexes are out of this world and precious, and I will give a brief review soon.

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Amongst these was my Yashica 230AF, a relic from a bygone age, but a camera which also heralded in a new age – a sort of cross over. It was one of the first Auto Focus SLR’s. It was also the first and best of the Yashica AF SLR range which was made alongside the Contax/Yashica mount range.

The special thing about this camera is that you can only use the Yashica AF lenses with this series and NOT with any other, nor Digital as no adaptor has been made for it. So the lenses are pretty unique. The lens line up isn’t vast, you get a 50mm f1.8 prime, a 28mm, 24mm, a kit zoom, a 70-210mm zoom, a 60mm Macro lens, a 28-85mm zoom and a couple of other longer lenses. The body is pretty well made, constructed of plastic and metal and very solid and dense with a real 80ies type design. The controls intuitive enough yet different in ways from more modern SLR’s, the selector is a slider rather than a toggle, and it uses a ‘cyclops’ flash unit which is actually part of the body set up but can slot out.

As expected, the AF is slow! it’s quicker on the Primes, but it’s pretty usable and if things get a bit slow there’s always the MF option – and with the huge bright Viewfinder, focussing shouldn’t be a problem. the light meter nails it every time, it’s simply flawless with E6 slide film. It has a clever way of compensating for backlit subjects which meant I was not obliged to use exposure compensation much – the user manual does specifically state this too.

It also has a clever feature called ‘trap focus’, which i’ve never used but I presume it allows you to pre focus pretty easily. I have in my kit bag the 50mm f1.8, the 28-85mm f3.5-4.5. The 70-200mm f4.5 and the 60mm f2.8 Makro.

The 50mm f1.8 is an able performer, sharp and contrasty. I suspect the lens range is basically the Yashica ML range in this form, I’m no expert on lenses but I’ve used various ML (and Contax Zeiss) lenses and these lenses are easily comparable to at least the ML range and much better than the DSB. The 60mm Macro is very special, research and you’ll discover that it is very similar to the Contax Zeiss 60mm Makro Planar, some say it’s probably the same lens! regardless, the results are also very pleasing, and it doubles as a beautiful portrait lens. The 28-85mm is a versatile quality lens, and has a useful Macro feature which enables closer focussing. to be honest, all the lenses are pretty decent, even the standard Kit zoom is pretty good, I’ve heard it’s much better than the Minolta, Canon and Nikon contemporaries.

The longer zoom has a fixed aperture and a one piece design – it looks superb and is also a good performer, and all three of these especially are beautifully constructed, metal, solid and very fine with attention to detail. The range lacks a long portrait prime or even a telephoto prime, and a faster standard lens, but it was short-lived so perhaps can be forgiven. The one big advantage for buying into this system is price. Most lenses and the bodies are dirt cheap, a scout round eBay will get you a decent 230Af body plus a selection of lenses for around £40.00 (That’s how much I bought my one for – with the kit zoom and the 70-210 f4.5). In fact the only lenses which cost a premium (and are pretty rare too) are the 24mm f2.8 and 60mm f2.8 Macro.

Look out specifically for the 230AF, it is a much better camera than the others in the series, it’s Japanese made, solid, and mechanically/electronically very reliable.

For more information go to;

So WHY use this camera? Why bother when there are others available? Well I use it as i like it, i like the controls and feel, it was so affordable I was able to get an almost complete kit for peanuts, and I like the look of it – it’ll give you some unique photo’s and is a decent piece of kit! All in all, I really enjoy using this camera, it is unique, has character, charm, the photographs are very pleasing and high quality, and it is built by the same guys who were responsible for the excellent Contax G2, N1, 645 and Aria SLR ranges, so they were hardly amateurs. Using it attracts stares as it’s obviously an 80ies camera, and most importantly, it’ll gives you very nice results for such little outlay.

My slides were scanned as quick basic Jpegs in Epson Scan Epson 4990, they don’t do the slides a justice. So don’t expect drum scans. i assure you, under an 8x kaiser loupe on a light table and projected the slides are lovely.


Grasses in sunlight
60mm Macro f2.8. Fuji Provia F100F. St Davids, pembrokeshire, Wales.

Rainbow over Carn Llidi

Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
60mm f2.8 Macro Fuji provia 100F

At the Seaside
60mm Macro f2.8 Fuji provia 100F (top)
28-85mm f3.5 Fuji Provia 100F (bottom) Newgale Pembrokeshire Wales

28-85mm f3.5 Fuji Provia 100F Newgale Pembrokeshire Wales

Under the rainbow
28-85mm f3.5 Fuji Provia 100F Brecon Beacons, Powys Wales

Achtung Sheep!

The Beacons Road
28-85mm f3.5 Kodak Elitechrome EBX 100 Brecon Beacons Powys Wales

28-85mm f3.5 Kodak Elitechrome EBX 100 Pwll Deri, Pembrokeshire Wales

Kid with a Sheep Mask, binoculars, camcorder and toy gun
50mm f1.8  Kodak Elitechrome EBX 100 Pembrokeshire Wales

Bluebells and Flowers
60mm Macro f2.8. Kodak Elitechrome EBX100 Pembrokeshire Wales.

Kid goat at a Farm (50mm f1.8 Kodak Elitechrome EBX 100)


  1. Hi. It is very reassuring to hear a professionals opinion of the Yashica 230AF. I bought mine new in 1988 along with a 35-70 macro & a 70-210 macro. I have since added a further absolutely mint 230AF body & a 75-300 macro ( both bought from tpolony,Pudsey ( E’bay).
    I have several 35mm film cameras including a Minolta Dynax 505si,a Pentax MZ-7 and a Nikon F80 but the 230AF is without doubt my much favoured one.
    The Nikon is running a close second but I do not think that it comes close to the Yashica albeit it is a light and very pleasant camera to handle – the menus and sub-menus are somewhat complex.

    My two Yashica 230AF kits and lenses will always be nearest and dearest to me.

    • I too had a Yashica 230 af in the eighties very underated camera .I sold mine a long time ago but have recently bought one on ebay, and have since added some lenses 28mm ,50 mm, 80-200, and 60 mm macro

      • Hi Ian. Where are you located in the greater scheme of things,I am in West Lancashire.
        When I purchased my Yashica 230AF kit – it was from Ormskirk Cameras and the proprietor was a chap called Len – as I recall.
        It was not long after that the business either ceased trading or moved premises but either way I never did find out.
        The only criticism that I have ever had of the Yashica 230AF camera kit that I have; is the weight when the body and the two lenses are present in my bag.
        The Trap Focus mode was a truly magical piece of technology that can be used with or without a tripod.and is especially useful for ground-level action shots of small mammals and feeding birds.

  2. Hi, I had a yashica 230 myself, loved it and despite now having digital gear Canon 5D original and now a Sony A77v, I went back on ebay and bought a second hand 230 Af, and tracked down some lenses,:60mm macro 50mm 1.8, 28mm 2.8 and 80-200 zoom. Fotodiox make adapters for the yashica lenses to lot’s of current cameras including Canon eos and Sony alpha, they also make one for the Canon with confirmation Af chip, these are available on Amazon uk, good to see someone else still using this underrated camera and great lenses.

  3. Film is not expensive – as I only photograph when I go out on a weekend trip or a day trip – I go months without photographing anything, and sometimes I go months with a camera with a half used roll in it. i’m only extremely eager to see my results AFTER I’ve developed the Roll or retrieved the slides from the lab – and only then when I have time.

    • Digital just doesn’t do it for me, and I personally have no interest in trying to get that film look with digital, as it’s not Film – it’s like wearing a bogus Rol ex, getting some Botox or hiring an Escort girl, it’s just not the real deal!

      So for the Film Look, even if you’re predominantly a Digital photographer, grab a Film camera, even a Half Frame Pen or a 110 miniature , take your time, don’t get all craving to see your results, take the odd special shot and enjoy Film.

      And grab a bargain, there are so many lovely old Film cameras available, after all, it’s about Art isn’t it? Memories? Ideas? Creativity? or just plain clean cut resolution?

      And as for Scanning being a pain, I agree, Scanning IS a pain, agreed. I hate it….
      … but then again I hate pratting about with Photoshop, and shooting in RAW and then all the DNG and ACR palava, sitting in front of a computer screen trying hard to make my image appear acceptable or sharper or playing with Bit depths and profiles or trying to make it look like it was shot on Ektachrome– Scanning and mistakes in colour are no different than pure digital workflow, so it has Nothing to do with shooting Film.

      • NB. This isn’t film vs digital thing, not at all, for many things Digital is so much better than Film, and there’s no doubt.
        Each has it’s place.

        This is purely my opinions about preference and a bit of annoyance at the reasons why people reject Film and 35mm especially.

  4. My thoughts are that if the photo’s are pleasing, then it doesn’t matter whether shot in Film or Digital.

    I shoot Film as I like it, I like projecting slides and admiring the realism under a loupe and lightbox – contrary to what scanned film is like; Slides viewed under a loupe or projected are as close to actually being there as can be – far more ‘Real’ than a digital picture – with a 3D look and loads of depth, whereas for some reason Digital looks more clinical and ‘real’ on screen but without the softness that film gives.

    I’ve heard similar comments regarding 35mm vs Red code and other Digi formats used in Cinema – lately, most movies are filmed in Digital, and they cannot hold a candle to even 16mm Film.
    Just listen to Tarantino and Nolans thoughts.

    • Hi Ibraar! I really appreciate your contributions; the opposite of a “fanboy”, if I may be so bold.

      “pleasing” is not what I look for primarily in an image (apart from family and holiday shots). Challenging, provoking, interesting is what I try to go for.

      “gear” is an associated focus of interest. I really like the ’80’s type mechanical-mostly slr’s, and I must say, a lot of the (Nikkor) glass I bought 2ndhand late eighties (Ai-S) still shines, and is useable on my ff DSLR. The outsourcing of film (developing, scanning) is a constant source of frustration though. Shot a roll of Plus-X portraits today with my RTSIII + 1.4/85 Zeiss (@f2.0), concerned about the results I’ll see later.

      Photography is a permanent source of inspiration!

      • Hi Michiel, I do concur, pleasing is a bit of a generalisation though and I reckon if a photo is Challenging, provoking, interesting it eventually pleases.

        mmmm an RTS III? Glorious piece of kit (I am a bit of a Gear head I think)

  5. Nice article Ibraar! I must say though, being a bit of a Yashica supporter myself (had a TL Electro long ago, now some FR’s, and of course the Contaxes), that 230AF really fell out of the ugly tree, hitting every branch on the way down.

    It reminds me a bit of the F301, my first Nikon in ’88 or ’89, which not only was plasticky (no AF), but failed miserably within a week of purchase on a long weekend to London. Something electronic. I palmed it off on a mate and got myself an FM2n body, which I still have and which of course never missed a beat. Good old workmanship, as was the case with the TL Electro. Yashica/Yashinon lenses (the ML versions, as you rightly mentioned) are quite good as well. I have a scruffy old 139 Quartz lying on the rear seat of my car permanently, fitted with a 2.0/50 ML and a roll of Tri-X…
    I love your photographic spirit!

  6. So I finally find an OM1 to buy after your last article and now you bring out THIS? Just kidding, looks like a fun system. There are so many underrated, cheap, yet extremely capable film cameras out there, 35mm and 120 alike, that make the whole digital rat race seem pretty crazy. Great article.

  7. Thanks ever so much for the comments guys, I really appreciate it.
    Mainly, I’m so glad I’ve been at least somewhat inspirational for lads to go and try out some old camera gear and have fun.

    As regards slide Film, I love the colour and look, the pop they give is really nice, and excuse any magenta cast, Epson scan software does this, I should’ve used Vuescan but I was in a bit of a hurry to scan loads of slides and Vuescan is sloooow.

    Thanks again!

  8. I was really liking these shots until I got to the 4th (the candid portrait with sunglasses) and it seemed to have a strong purple tint to it as if it was cross-processed… and suddenly I couldn’t unsee the purple tint, and everything looked cross-processed to me. Only the last three seemed to be back to “normal” to my eyes. (The last three are the best to my eyes.) Not sure if this was the intended look, a result of the film used, deliberate PP manipulation, etc., or perhaps simply the way this camera captures a scene, but it does seem to me like the colors are off on majority of them. Maybe it’s part of “that film look”. All the posters above me really seem to like it – so maybe it’s me and I should just shut up.

      • Ibraar….pretty hard to ‘ignore it’ since we don’t have the luxury of enjoying the original prints like you. Film is awesome but this is a perfect example of why I can’t be bothered with it anymore…..scanning is a pain in the a$$.

        • Scanning IS a pain, agreed. I hate it….
          … but then again I hate pratting about with Photoshop, and shooting in RAW and then all the DNG and ACR palava – Scanning and mistakes in colour are no different than pure digital workflow, so it has Nothing to do with shooting Film.

          It’s my fault though, I should take more care with my scanning, Epson Scan has a tendency to shift to magenta, not always, but at times, I can’t really notice it, other’s don’t but some other people do, and I should correct the colour.

          I only Scan to share with others on sites such as this, and people I know, apart from that I’ve a mostly traditional workflow, from developing to printing and projecting.

  9. This is what I like about Steve Huff and his site – the mix between old and new – digital and analogue…. Great stuff and great review. I have much of the latest gear but my favourite cameras are all film and my favourite film is Delta 100. Love the analogue reviews – keep up the good work.

  10. Lovely photos Ibraar, especially the flowers with a narrow depth of field. I recently emigrated from the UK to Australia, so seeing Pembrokeshire again brings back some great memories.


  11. Loved the shots, Ibraar.

    I know Prembroke and the Brecons pretty well, and your shots capture the timelessness of the areas… and, as you’ve proved, it’s not all about having to have the latest ‘must have’ gear to produce an interesting and thoughful portfolio.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. I had one too – actually still have, in perfect shape, even if I don’t use it.

    If somebody wants to buy it or one of the lenses I have (the 24, 35-70, 60 macro, 70-210 and a fairly rare Sigma 400/5.6 for Yashica AF), make me an offer 🙂

    • man, that’s a nice kit – only thing I’d add would be the 28-85.
      That 24mm is as rare as a pair of ants testicles.
      Are you looking to sell the kit or separates? I’d like to know how much you’d offer the 24mm for.

      • It would be nice to sell all the kit at once, but piecemeal would do too. I’ve been planning to put it on eBay when I have time (whenever that might be). But if you’re interested you can contact me via my web site ( — sorry, buy I rather not put email addresses here, as you can imagine).

  13. My mate had an A230′ loved it to bits, till some slime balls stole it. The replacement model, I forget the numbers was not a patch on it. Great shots by the way.

  14. Wonderful stuff, love old and forgotten cameras being used. If they work why not try them out.
    I know the area well having served in the military and the sheep are dangerous..ha..ha..”Welsh Killer Sheep”.
    The scale of the Brecons is very deceiving, a huge vast area that can be beautiful one minute and almost deadly the next. At least you got some decent weather. Thanks for sharing everything.

  15. Now that’s really scary, going to Wales and suddenly encountering a “Kid with a Sheep Mask, binoculars, camcorder and toy gun” !!!

    Thanks Ibraar, for once more posting some nice slide film pictures.
    Currently I am shooting mostly film, and slide film that is, instead of digital.
    And that choice was heavily influenced by your previous posts.

    It’s fun and astonishing that you can nail the right exposure even without a light meter (Leica M3) with just a little practice. I can only recommend to shoot slide film, I like the results much better than color negative film (which you have to scan and color-adjust to see the picture).

    I’m looking forward to your report on the Rolleiflexes.
    Kindest greetimgs froom Germany.

  16. Hi,

    this was my first AF camera… I got back a lot of nice sensation (I was much younger)… thank you for sharing and nice pics.

    Bye, Devid

    • You can buy a copy of TJF magazine at Selfridges or RD Franks, I’m just watniig for my free copy. Oh for the camera, you may need to buy a battery (I think its CR-2?), best to go to Boots or camera shop to buy one. Would be a good idea to read a manual before you start pressing the shutter :S Shooting with film, there’s no going back to correct a mistake :S

  17. Thanks for this inspirational post Ibraar – the Yashica 230AF was my first AF 35mm SLR and I had two bodies, the Yashica flashgun, the 50, 28, 35-105 and a Tamron 400 5.6 that the dealer couldnt sell!

    It seems ages ago – yet they were cracking cameras, built like brick outhouses, and when I moved to using EOS system SLRs, I definitely felt something missing!

    You’ve cheered me up – I think one of these second hand and some lenses could really light my photographic fire again! Off to trawl the net then…

  18. Hi, Ibraar.

    Not sure which UK you have been living in when you say May was mostly fine. I don’t recognise your description of May! 🙂 It was the wettest on record since records began in 1910, and this carried over into June and July, producing the greyest, wettest most miserable 3 month period ever. Glad you managed to find some sunny periods amidst all the misery. 🙂

    Liked the Bluebells.

    • 🙂 May was not too bad, June and July were pants. Though I did keep tabs on the weather forecast hence I was able to get away a few times and get some really nice weather!
      And I have had absolutely nothing to do with the Olympics – avoided ’em totally so far! yay!

      • Ibraar,

        Perhaps your memory of May was clouded (sorry about the pun) by your getting in some good days. Like school children we all remember the summer holidays as being sunny all the time, whether (phonetic pun this time) it was or not.

        As for the Olympics, you must surely agree our little island isn’t doing too badly. 🙂 🙂

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