Yashica screw mount cameras

Yashica Company, Kyocera Corp., Tokyo, Japan

Yashica Penta J, 1962-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: 1/2-1/500,B
Flash:??
Metering: none
Finder: microprism spot in ground glass screen
Battery: none

Non automatic diaphragm
Instant return mirror (?)

Yashica J-3, 1963-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: 1/2-1/500,B
Flash:Standard F and X synch at 1/50 (?), no hot shoe
Metering: selenium meter
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar.
Battery: none

Non automatic diaphragm (?)
Instant return mirror
Self timer

Yashica J-P, 1964-??

Like J-3 but without meter


Yashica J-4, 19??-??

(Photo by courtesy of Marcell Havelaar)
Like J-3 ??

Yashica J-5, 1964-??

Like J-3 but with automatic diaphragm and shuter 1/2-1/1000
From David Copping
Flash:Standard F and X synch at 1/60, no hot shoe(?)
15 second timer

Yashica J-7, 1966-??

(Also Wards SLR-600) Like J-5 but with shuter 1/2-1/500 (?)

Yashica TL Super, 1967-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: 1-1/1000,B (mechanical)
Flash:X-synch hot shoe and standard X and F sockets at 1/60(?)
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in full focusing screen; metter needle.
Battery: ?

Automatic diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self timer
Mirror lock up

Yashica TL, 1968-??

As TL Super but shutter 1/2-1/500 and there is no mirror lock up.

Yashica TL Electro X, 1969-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: 2-1/1000,B (vertical electronic metal; stepless 1/60-1/1000)
Flash:X-synch hot shoe and standard X and F sockets at 1/125
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering, diode in viewfinder
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in full focusing screen
Battery: PX28, 6v

Automatic diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self timer
Mirror lock up

Yashica TL Electro X ITS, 1970-??

As TL Electro X, but arrows in viewfinder instead of circles.

Yashica TL E, 1970-??

As TL Electro X, but shutter 1/2-1/500 mechanical

Yashica TL Electro, 1972(?)-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: 1-1/1000,B (mechanical)
Flash:X-synch hot shoe and standard X and F sockets at 1/60
Metering: stoped-down TTL metering, diode in viewfinder
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in full focusing screen
Battery: 2xRM640R

Automatic diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self timer
No mirror lock up

Yashica Electro AX, 1973-??

Fixed pentaprism
Shutter: metal, 8s-1/1000,B and auto (electronic)
Flash:X-synch hot shoe and standard X and F sockets at 1/125
Metering: stoped-down aperture priority TTL metering
Finder: microprism spot and ground glass collar in full focusing screen
Battery: PX32 (or E164), 5.6v

Automatic diaphragm
Instant return mirror
Self timer
Viewfinder blind
Note: According to the manual, the follwing lens can't be used with the Yashica AX due to special constraction of the mirror:
- Yashinon-DX 21/3.3
- Yashinon-DX 28/2.8
- Yashinon-DX 50/2, 50/1.7, 50/1.4



Should you buy a Yashica?

From [1]: "Yashica of the J series are less then reliable ... The TL electro cameras ... are better designed and manufactured. Find one that has not had very much use and you you will have a fine camera at a very moderate price."

From Turkay Cevik:
About Yashica Tl-electro: These are very built cameras. I also had a Yashica fx-2. It also has cloth shutter just like the Tl-electro, but lacks led light-metering. I found the Tl-electro smaller and lighter than the fx-2. The only drawback is its screw mount. If you find a very good screw mount lens,this camera is a very good and at the same time cheap option, please note that these are very well made cameras, but underrated.

From Iain Ross
I found my fathers old TL Electro X of early 70s vintage in the roof space. With some TLC, including replacing all foam to repair a light leak & replacing the focus screen with one out of a broken TL Electro, it now works great!
It is a little heavy, but its a solid camera, of the highest quality, and i get some stunning photographs from it. I find it easier to use and more faithful to the real scene than my Nikon F70! (modern bells n whistles SLR).
I have nothing but love and respect for this camera. You need to get good lenses though...

From Tom Long
Found one of these rarities (Electro AX) in a s/h goods shop for just $30. A new 6v battery was hard to find and cost 20!
The Yashica AX has some interesting and unique features, but I am not surprised it is rare as it must have been a commercial failure. I have never seen another one.
The AX appears to have spot metering: the single meter cell is on a pop-up stalk behind the mirror. The single CdS meter cell is on a little stem that pops up behind the mirror, just in front of the shutter. During exposure the stem drops down into a recess in the base of the body, and springs up again when the shutter closes. The mirror is semi-transparent, but there is a good bright viewfinder.
Viewing & metering is in constant stop-down mode, but there is a button to push for full-aperture viewing. This is the opposite to my Pentax and most M42 cameras. There is a amber light in the viewfinder if the auto shutter speed will be slower than 1/30, or red if it will be over-exposed at 1/1000. There is no other information in the viewfinder.
I can see why this camera did not succeed commercially against the Pentax ESII and other M42 automatics, but it is well made, interesting, pleasant to use, and makes excellent pictures.

From Gary Raehse:
Ah, the Electro AX. My first camera - bought back in 1975, because I couldn't afford an Olympus OM at the time. It is still working fine today, in great condition. Uses screw mount. Aside from the inconvenience of no manual metering, (all metering is auto), once you get a feel for this camera, it is very easy to use. I've gone thru a couple of Nikons with autofocus (N6006) that never gave me the "feel" of this Yashica, so I'm constantly returning to it.
The Electro AX will always seem "right" to me because it was my first SLR. Since learning on the AX, all other cameras seem "wrong" somehow. The stopped down aperture (with the button to open up the lens for clearer focusing) seems to me to be a better idea than the reverse (found on most other cameras). I've had a few Nikons and now I've got a nice Olympus collection, but I'm always conscious of the differences between them and the AX. And whenever I go back and shoot a roll with the AX, it seems to always surprise me with its' ease of use. It wasn't the most technically advanced, and was a bit on the heavy side, but it just had that "feel" that you look for in a camera. And I was always delighted with the quality of the photos that came out of that thing. The Yashinon f1.7 lens was a winner too!

Any personal experience?
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