Back in 1958, Yashica produced what was then the one and only dual format TLR, the Yashica 635 and it was capable of taking both 120 and 35 mm. When I saw this camera it was most definitely love at first sight! “I must have this camera!” I exclaimed. I immediately scanned the internet for a whole day since a lot of them, unfortunately, seemed to be missing the 35 mm kit and I found this one complete with accessories.
The Yashica 635 has an 80 mm f/3.5 Yashikor lens although later models had a higher quality Yashinon lens, a Copal MVX shutter, and originally came with a 35 mm 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 camera’s 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 overexposure, this is likely just this particular camera and could be resolved with a little maintenance. Unless you have a light meter at hand, exposure times are guesswork 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, it’s a little slower to operate than an SLR and it can be disorienting looking at the reverse image on the viewfinder, but in return, you get a beautiful 6 × 6 crisp image and it’s great for shooting street photographs as people often don’t notice you’re holding a camera since its shot from waist level.
Shooting 35 mm with the Yashica 635 is good for portraits as the film is oriented that way within the camera. The viewfinder has a marked area so you know what’s going to be in your shot since 35 mm is a lot thinner than 120. The kit has a mask to give you a 24 × 36 mm image but it’s also possible to shoot 35 mm without using the mask, giving you a 60 × 35 mm long image with wonderful sprocket goodness! I used the 35 mm holder but left in the 120 take-up spool, taped the film 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 enjoy many years together.
This is a review submitted by Community Member craigramsden.