Yashica J-7 SLR Camera
This was the first Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera I ever owned. Screw-mount lens, and match-needle builtin light meter. I bought it in 1967 while serving in Vietnam. I really wanted the new Nikon F SLR retailing for a whopping $300 USD, but I was only a lowly Sergeant and couldn’t afford the steep price tag (about a month’s wages for me in those days). This Yashica, brand new, cost less than $100 USD (which was still a lot of money to me).
I used this camera for years and years until I purchased a used Nikon F in the early 1980s. This Yashica served me faithfully, and it is still in my collection, although the light meter quit working many years ago. Finally getting a Nikon F was a dream come true, and with its 50mm f/1.4 lens it was fantastic (and still is). In the 1980s, after my father died, I inherited all of his “mint condition” camera gear, including: another complete Nikon F setup with assorted lenses, a Rolleiflex TLR and a large format Speed Graphic amongst other stuff.
In the 1980s and 1990s I acquired a couple of Leicas, a M3 and IIIf, and host of classic rangefinders for my collection. Most of these cameras are now in the care of my daughter back in the States. In 2009 I finally made the switch from film to digital, and I’ve never looked back. Digital is the only way to go, and the quality of the images today matches or surpasses any film produced in the marketplace (in the beginning that wasn’t the case). I currently shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II full-frame DSLR and assorted L-lenses.
My camera is about 7-years old, and has seen a lot of action during this world adventure. It’s still working good but starting to show some wear-and-tear. Should it finally crap out I will probably upgrade to a 5D Mark III or the soon to be released 5D Mark IV. A Canon EOS 1Dx or 1Dx Mark II would also be (very) nice, but with a retail price of over $6,000 USD doesn’t seem very practical (I am not a professional sports shooter). Well, thank you for letting me take this trip down memory lane for the last three posts, its been fun.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler