by Kar Yan Mak
In 1958, Yashica manufactured a one and only dual format TLR, the Yashica 635. It takes 6×6 on 120 rollfilm and 24x36mm on 35mm film (with a special adapter kit). It has a Copal MVX shutter and a Yashikor 80mm f/3.5 lens. The 635 looks similar to the Yashica D, except for the additional knobs for 35mm film operation.
The 35mm adapter kit consists of six items: 35mm sportsfinder mask, mask assembly, pressure plate, spool, adapter ring, and supporter shaft. For 35mm framing, a mask goes on the sportsfinder and red line marks are shown in the viewfinder. There are seperate frame counters for 120 and 35mm films. The counter for 120 film is above the focusing knob and for 35mm, it surrounds the 35mm film advancing knob (where marked “35mm Film Only”). I’ve heard mixed opinions about the 35mm kit. Some say it’s a waste of time due to the mediocre quality and the all vertical shots but some are paying way over $40 for the kit only. MY opinion is, how many cameras out there have dual formats? I will cherish this camera. I have yet to find out the results from 35mm film, if I do I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve heard that the 635 also came with a version that has a Yashinon lens (see below). It’s supposedly superior to the Yashikor due to the 3-element glass versus the Yashinon’s 4-element. Many people are going after the Yashica 124G, which I also happen to own, because of the Yashinon lens and a couple of interesting features. The 124G is the last of the Yashica TLR line. You ask, how do the 124G and 635 compare? For starters, I doubt you could tell the difference between a 635 and 124G’s quality. The pluses of a 124G are the crank handle advance which automatically charges the shutter for the next frame, the built-in coupled meter, and being able to use a standard cable release. The 635 requires a special adapter (called the Leica nipple) for cable releases.
|Yashica-635 with 35mm kitimage by Yi-tao “Timo” Lee (Image rights)
Here is a nice set on flickr produced using yashica 635