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Yashica 6×6 TLR (crank advance)

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Japanese 6×6 TLR
Postwar models (M–Z)
6×6cm
M–Z
(edit)
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Prewar and wartime models and postwar models (A–L) ->
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The Yashica company made a long line of 6×6 TLR cameras, comprising many models which were the result of a gradual evolution rather than radical change; they are conveniently divided into knob advance models and crank advance models.

The Yashica-Mat Edit

The first Yashica TLR with crank advance was the Yashica-Mat, released in 1957. The earliest models are equipped with a 75-mm 3.5 Lumaxar taking lens and a 75-mm 3.2 Lumaxar viewing lens, succeeded by 80-mm lenses with the same specifications. According to some authorities (most notably Mark Hama, who formerly worked in a Yashica factory), the Lumaxar was manufactured for Yashica in West Germany; according to others, it was made in Japan by Tomioka. The lens, a four-element design said to be of the Tessar type, was later re-named Yashinon. The Yashica-Mat's shutter speeds are marked according to the older system (1/25, 1/50 etc.) and range from B to 1/500 second. (Note: the cable release is of the "Leica nipple" style which is also used on subsequent models ).

The Yashica-Mat LM Edit

The Yashica-Mat LM was introduced in 1958. "LM" stands for Light Meter, referring to the uncoupled selenium cell exposure meter in front of the viewfinder. It's an all-mechanical camera; even the light meter doesn't need a battery. The Yashica-Mat LM is a solidly made, easy-to-use camera.

Features Edit

It has a Copal central shutter with speeds from 1s to 1/500 and B. It offers flash sync at all speeds. The taking lens is a 3,5 Yashinon, an 80 mm four-element lens said to be of the Tessar design. It can be stopped down to F/22. The viewing lens is a 3,2 Yashinon. It accepts bay I filters. Shutter speeds and diaphragm are set by two wheels on the front plate, the values set are shown in a window above the viewing lens. Looking onto the ground glass in the waist-level finder, both values and light meter indications are visible.


Focusing is done by a focusing wheel on the left of the camera. It has a distance scale surrounded by a depth of field scale engraved in the body. There is a small window in which you can set the ISO value of the film you use and scales for LV, shutter speeds and diaphragms.


The body is all-metal, covered by black leather. It is quite a heavy camera, about 1.2 Kg. Film transport and cocking the shutter is done by a crank. Winding makes a rattling noise.

Its viewing hood contains a fresnel screen with red grid lines (5×5) to help composition. For exact focusing, it has a magnifying loupe. The camera is loaded by opening the bottom: turn towards the "O" to open. It uses 120-rollfilm only, on which it takes 6×6 pictures (or more accurately: 55mm × 55mm)

The Yashica-Mat EM Edit

Released in 1964, the Yashica-Mat EM features an uncoupled light meter and an 80mm f/3.5 Yashinon shooting lens. The "EM" stands for Exposure Meter, referring to the uncoupled selenium cell exposure meter in front of the viewfinder. It's an all-mechanical camera; even the light meter doesn't need a battery. The Yashica-Mat EM is a solidly made, easy-to-use camera. It can be found for a reasonable price on eBay, and is an excellent introduction to medium-format photography. It's clearly an evolution in the line of the 1957 Yashica-Mat and the 1958 Yashica-Mat LM. It differs from the latter camera only in its easier-to-use exposure meter.

Features Edit

It has a Copal MXV leaf shutter, capable of speeds ranging from B and 1 second to 1/500s. It offers flash sync at all speeds. The taking lens is a 3.5 Yashinon, an 80 mm four-element lens said to be of the Tessar design. It can be stopped down to F/22. The viewing lens is a 3.2 Yashinon. It accepts bay I filters. Shutter speeds and diaphragm are set by two wheels on the front plate, the values set are shown in a window above the viewing lens.

Focusing is done by a focusing wheel on the left of the camera. It has a distance scale surrounded by a depth of field scale engraved in the body. There is a small window in which you can set the ISO and DIN value of the film you use. ISO 400 is the highest value. The exposure meter is not coupled, so setting this speed is more a reminder than of any practical use.

The body is all-metal, covered by black leather. It is quite a heavy camera, about 1.2 Kg. Film transport and cocking the shutter is done by a crank. Winding makes a rattling noise. Looking onto the ground glass in the waist-level finder, the selected shutter speed, aperture and light meter indications are visible. Its viewing hood contains a fresnel screen with red grid lines (5×5) to help composition. For exact focusing, it has a magnifying loupe. The back plate of the waist level finder could be flipped open to expose the sports finder for additional composition possibilities.

The camera is loaded by opening the bottom: turn towards the "O" to open. It uses 120-rollfilm only, on which it takes 6×6 pictures (or more accurately: 55mm × 55mm)

Images Edit


The Yashica 12 and 24Edit

Before the 124 there were two separate models, the Yashica-12 (for 120 film) and the Yashica-24 (for 220 film). Both shared the characteristics of the later 124 and 124G.


The Yashica Mat-124 and Mat-124G Edit

The Yashica Mat-124 G was made from 1970 till 1986 and was the last TLR produced by Yashica. Even if this type of camera seemed to be obsolete at the time of its appearence, the 124 G was a success in that time.

The 124G has a four-element, 80mm F3.5 taking lens, of the better "Yashinon" variety. Focusing is via a ground glass screen, with a 3x diopter loupe for critical focusing, as well as a sports finder. The focusing screen is used with the camera at waist-level. The sportsfinder, incorporated in the focusing hood, is operational by pushing the front cover backwards. According to the Instruction Booklet, it comes in handy for snapshots or when shooting fast-moving objects at eye-level. No screen to check focus in this set-up though. The Copal shutter features speeds 1 to 1/500 sec., plus B.

The 124 and 124G are largely identical, save for trim (the Mat-124 G was all black) and electrical differences. The 124G pressure plate slides between 12-exposure and 24-exposure settings, while on the original 124 it pulls out and rotates. The 124G also features a coupled match-needle exposure meter, although it uses now-discontinued 1.3v mercury cells. Suitable air-zinc replacements and adapters for modern alkaline or silver oxide batteries may be obtained at camera stores and on the internet.

The 124(G) can handle both 120 and 220 film. The Yashica 12, 24, Mat-124 and Mat-124 G all accept Bay 1 accessories, such as those made for the Rolleiflex. An artificially inflated demand for the 124G has raised the price somewhat in the used market.

Since the Yashicamat camera is basically a Rolleiflex copy, the controls take a similar configuration. Build quality is very good. Yashica’s are considered to be an excellent choice for entry-level medium format. The 4-element 80mm f/3.5 Yashinon (taking) lens cannot be considered of equal quality compared to the Rollei’s, however it produces very good results, especially when stopped down to f 8-16.

Links Edit

General links Edit

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Manuals and documentation Edit

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