I found this camera in Arundel while walking around with a wedding client.
We popped into an indoor emporium called Nineveh House for a browse, and upstairs was my kind of treasure shop.
It was full of old leather bags, record players, bakerlite radios and things from yesteryear.
Tucked away in the corner was a cabinet stuffed with photo bits and bobs so I started digging and the boutique owner came over, I told him of my love for old cameras and with pride he showed me some of his favourites including a box brownie. I look for cameras that grab my attention, they might have a unique design or strange mechanism. After digging a bit he produced a beautiful tatty leather case, and inside was this beautiful Yashica-E.
It’s from the 1960s and has two lenses which is known as a ‘TLR’ which stands for Twin Lens Reflex. This is where the top lens is used for focusing and composing the image, and the bottom lens holds the shutter and aperture for creating the image. Reflex means there is a prism or mirror in the composing lens which projects the image onto a focusing screen.
This camera is pretty unique, it has a fixed shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and the only variables you have control over are the film speed and the aperture. You can shoot this camera on full auto too.
The two dials in this picture are for focusing on the right and film advance on the left. That top part is what you look through to compose your image.
The beautiful circle holding lots of tiny lenses is the in-built light meter. This Yashica happens to be one of the first TLRs to have in-built ambient metering.
The shutter is primed by a lever to the left of the taking lens, and released by the chrome button on the bottom left. It makes a silent but satisfying click.
Blurred on the right is the PC sync port for flash which means this could make an interesting studio camera!
While looking at the composing lens, you’ll notice the green lever to the left, this selects the auto function and apertures from f3.5 to f22
To the right of the lens is the metering needle, it’s not very accurate but it’s useful!
Underneath the Yashica nameplate is a bulb based on board flash.
This is the composition screen on the TLR. It’s square like the picture it takes, and features a flip out magnifying eyepiece for more accurate focus.
The great benefit of looking down into the camera, is that you can hold the camera at waist level ,and without a camera stuck to your face you can communicate with your sitter using normal eye contact! It’s good for getting great candid pictures too.
You load the film using this beautifully over engineered open-close dial. It’s my favourite part of this camera and It releases a clasp and the spring loaded door opens.
Inside the door is a pressure plate for keeping the medium format film running flat and smooth, the ‘120 film’ refers to the width of the film being 120mm.
There you have it, the Yashica-E. I photographed it while in friends clump on the Ashdown forest, the same place from the kudos panorama in my next post.
I’ll post some example pictures next time I fire up the darkroom, and might even shoot a fashion feature with it one day. Till then check out some more images below and check out my other camera features!
Age: Around 50 years old 1964-1966
Type: twin lens reflex film camera
Lens: 80mm f3.5 fixed
Medium: 120mm Colour or B&W roll film
Shutter: leaf shutter, single speed: 1/60