Yashica ML 28, cheap and smart?

Some years ago I bought the “cheap fantastic” Yashica ML 28 for just 60 euros.
That after reading all around about his quality and his similarity in performances to the more expensive Zeiss Distagon 28mm and to be able to use it on my Sony Nex5 and after a while, just to play with my Canon 6d.
On the first, the Nex5, become a very sharp and colorful 40mm, big as usual for the size of the small mirroless; in the full frame Canon 6d was just a good wide angle lens. I also had a chance to use it on other Canon full frame bodies like 1dsmkii and 1dsmkiii (my work bodies) with some good shots taken (like this ).
I always thought that was just a good enough lens, superb valued compared to the price, nothing more.

Today, after a while I changed my mind about weights, sizes, IQ. Today I have two setups for my Sony A7r3: the one for work, heavy and limited in one zoom and two primes; one for walkaround with three primes, 12mm 40mm 100/200mm with a big hole between the 12 and 40mm.
So it’s easy to find on this Yashica 28mm, the right candidate to fill the gap. Another point was to find on his 52mm the same filter diameter of the Voigtlander 40mm for ND screw filters!

So I bought the CY to LM adapter from China and I finally had the time to test this combination for IQ and af reliability with Techart!

The combination is lightweight and easy to carry with my mini shoulder bag.

Let’s start from the key factor, the use with Techart and the AF performances.
On good light, cause the not superfast 2.8 aperture, the AF in AFC is fast, reliable very good.
Coming from the Voigtlander 40 1.2 I found the first issue when the aperture was closed over f4, 5.6 and f8: the reliability of the focus was easily going from good to bad and very bad so I had, to keep higher the rate of images in perfect focus, to start working in stop down (focusing at 2.8 and changing the aperture before the shutter). Eventually, the images were ALL in focus.

What about the Image Quality?
As you can see in the Full sized image above, I was surprised!
That photo was shot at f11, with a tripod (the MINI Pixi by Manfrotto) and the IQ is impressive if you look at the price tag and if you remember we are talking about the A7r3 with 42 mpx!

At f11 corners are quite sharp and the general micro-contrast level is pretty good (the image was processed just with general sharpening, recovering and color corrected with my Velvia profile) considering we already are in diffraction using a big megapixel sensor.

I shot three different times this subject, f 2.8, f4 and f5.6 finding almost the same sharpness level in the central area:

The iso settings give more differences than the aperture value as you can see.

On the corner, I found interesting the difference between 2.8 and f4 (5.6 is useless as the quality is the same with a bigger iso level)


As we are talking about 100% crops on 42mpx camera I think this result is amazing!
Last but not least, I found some CA when you have a high contrast scene like the following, easy to be removed with Lightroom or Capture One.

Conclusions

I found this lens in my drawer, and I think I’ll use it in my next walk around, during my workshops or just traveling.
It’s a great part of my super light setup and with TechArt works pretty well using the stop-down technique.

I’m sure this could be different for you, reader of my review; there are so many lenses in the vintage market some of them cheaper with lower quality, many more expensive and not always better on the final image.
Perhaps you have a Sony a7 and you are looking for something small, cheap and easy to adapt.
On that case, you’ll be happy with that small glass!