We all know the story: Carl Zeiss in Germany calls up several Japanese camera and lens manufacturers and asks the question: “Would you like to make cameras to which we can fit our lenses?”. The first response came from Asahi Pentax, “Sure, let’s give it a go”. And so they did. But it didn’t go anywhere. Zeiss expected Pentax to develop an advanced range of electronic cameras to which they would mount their teutonic masterpieces. But Pentax were obsessed with the K1000 concept and it all crashed and burned.
So then Zeiss went through the garbage and dug out some of the other responses, one of which came from a medium-sized player in the camera market – Yashica. They were full of ideas: all electronic cameras, computer controlled, real-time, no battery – no camera. All of this greatly impressed the Germans.
Yashica lenses are as sharp, if not sharper than Zeiss lenses in the centre area of the frame. Zeiss are more consistently sharp across the entire frame at the cost of contrast.
Yashica ML lenses have a unique rendering quality, similar to Nikon in terms of contrast but with higher resolution.