Back in 1958 Yashica produced what was then the one and only dual format TLR, the Yashica-635, capable of taking both 120 and 35mm. When I saw this camera it was most definitely love at first sight! “I must have this camera!” I exclaimed, I scanned the internet for a complete one since a lot of them unfortunately seemed to be missing the 35mm kit and fount this one with an original case and kit.
The Yashica-635 has an 80mm f/3.5 Yashikor lens although later models had a higher quality Yashinon lens, a Copal MVX shutter and originally came with a 35mm adapter kit so you could shoot either 120mm or 35mm film.
The shutter needs to be primed before you can shoot which is done by pushing down the lever on the camers front, this is actually a bonus as it means the shutter is not coupled with the film advance making double exposures quick and easy!
The two discs in between the lens are used to change the f-stop and shutter speed which ranges from Bulb mode to 1/500. I’ve found that the slower shutter speeds on my Yashica can be a little sticky resulting in over exposure, this is likely just this particular camera and could be resolved with a little maintenance. Unless you have a light meter to hand, exposure times are guess work as there isn’t one built into the camera. I use the Sunny 16 Rule as a guide since I don’t have a light meter.
I absolutely love shooting 120 film with this camera, of course its a little slower to operate than an SLR and it can be disorienting looking at the reverse image on the view finder, but in return you get a beautiful 6×6 crisp image and its great for street shooting as people often don’t notice your holding a camera since its shot from waist level.
Shooting 35mm with the Yashica-635 is good for portraits as the film is oriented that way within the camera. The view finder has a marked area so you know what’s going to be in shot since 35mm is a lot thinner than 120. The kit has a mask to give you a 24×36mm image but its also possible to shoot 35mm without using the mask giving you a 60×35mm long image with wonderful sprockety goodness! I used the 35mm holder but left in the 120 take up spool, taped the 35mm on the spool and shot as if it was 120. This advanced the film the correct amount after each shot.
Shooting with this camera really is wonderful and I hope we have many years together.