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
“My name is RaúlM. and I’m a cameraholic”.
This is a very cool self-introduction!
Raulm is a photographer and camera collector. The post above shows a fabulous Yashica 635. Yashica 635 TLR is a unique TLR. With the 35mm adaptor kit, it can shoots both 135 and 120 films, of coz, not the same time.
See PauIM’s post on how to load film on this piece of beauty.
|Yashica 635 in black leather case|
I have already told you in a older post, “A camera for the case”, about how and why I bought this camera.
Now I intend to make a light review of it.
This camera is able to use 120 roll film or 135 cartridge film.
That’s why it has a profusion of controls, dedicated to the advance of one or the other kind of film.
In order to use the 135 cartridge film there is a dedicated adapter kit.
|The 35mm adapter kit|
If we are using 120 roll film we use the right side of the camera to control it’s advance.
The knob on the top left controls the advance of the 120 roll film.
The film is loaded and advanced until the start mark is aligned with the arrows in the film path, back closed, turn clockwise the knob until it stops and you see the number 1 in that small window, top right.
To advance to the next exposure you have to press the button in the centre of the knob to release it and once again turn it CW until it stops. Repeat that all the way to the 12th exposure.
The scale around the knob is a ASA/DIN reminder.
The other knob is the focus control, being the above scale for depth of field control.
On the left side we have another set of controls, most dedicated to the advance of the 135 cartridge film. Although the big knob, top right, where we can read “35mm only” and the one with the red arrow, on the bottom, are used to secure the 120 roll film also.
The drill is the same, on this side to control de advance of the 135 cartridge film.
The film is loaded using the adapter after the back is closed we have to press the 35mm stop/release button, that isolated silver button, and wind CCW the “35mm film only” knob.
We have to repeat this operation three times to advance the exposed film, during loading, after that we have to turn the exposure counter, the scale around the knob, in the arrow direction and align the 1 with the index dot.
After that all we have to do is, after every exposure, press the 35mm film stop/release and advance to the next frame.
The small knob with the engraved red R is pulled out and turned, to release the sprocket axle and allow the rewinding of the film, performed turning the bottom knob in the arrow direction.
|Loaded with 120 film|
The 120 film loading is quite simple, as I explained above, like in most TLR cameras of this kind.
Using 35mm is a little more tricky but it isn’t rocket science.
To secure the 35mm cartridge, first we have to screw the spacer ring, left, then insert the cartridge with the spool stud adapter in the other end.
In the above picture I have already installed the film frame also.
In the above picture I’ve inserted the film leader in the 35mm take-up spool.
After make sure that the sprocket holes are engaged in the sprocket teeth it’s time to set the pressure plate and close the camera.
Advance three exposures, reset the counter and we have a film to burn.
I have to confess that, although I’ve taken several 120 films with it, I’ve not yet tried it with this kit.
|Yashica 635 and cased 35mm adapter kit|
|35mm mask for sports finder on display|
In the previous post about this camera, I told you that when I bought it the 35mm mask for the sports finder was missing. I didn’t have the leather case either.
I found a kit missing the spacer ring and the spool stud adapter, at a flea market, paid four Euro for it, and completed my kit.
I can’t say this is the most simple or intuitive camera but it’s not a challenge also. It’s a bit awkward but I like very much all kind of waist level finder cameras.
This one has the advantage of a big brilliant viewfinder and the ability of using 35mm film, that taking advantage of the 80mm Yashinon lens must be very good for portraits. When I try it that way I’ll come back to it.
With 120 film it is a perfectly capable shooter as you can see in the following shots.
|“TLR Man” by RaúlM.|
|“Back in the tunnel” by RaúlM.|