Online research is much like panning for gold. There is information like sand, but only a few and far between nuggets of any value. Moreover, most of the useful information is copied over and over, just to create a critical mass for the search engine to bite. About five years ago I looked for information about Linhof. Texts I found seemed to be suspiciously similar, so I run an online plagiarism checker utility. Not surprisingly, the same text, to the dot, was posted on eight different sites; with Camerapedia, camera-Wiki, and Wikipedia being the top three. Checked the same today, three of the eight sites had vanished altogether and new ones popped up. About that in a further post.
Most web pages are mere vessels to carry advertising. The copy is made by a ghostwriter who scrambles words into sentences, in most cases with no subject knowledge. Either that or an automated bot that generates articles to trap the search crawler, hence with no real value to the reader. Better stare at a blank page. I get daily spam mail suggesting to write articles for this site, which does not carry a single ad.
A search for a mainstream camera model returns hundreds of entries. Some are copy and paste as above, some just mention the subject on the fly and some are ‘for sale’ offers. Moreover, good luck where the search term is similar to another popular subject. When looked for info about Taron cameras, I was inundated with articles about a certain Taron Egerton, who came to prominence as a movie star. But that’s beside the point.
Having said that, I was in a different situation researching the Yashica 35. There are articles galore about the Yashica Electro 35 and derivatives, and more information about the pedigreed Yashicas such as 35 ME, MF, and variations thereof. The camera I was looking for returned little results.
But, lady luck did finally smile. Two sites gave me all the information needed about this camera.
The first is at mikeeckman.com. I have already mentioned this site in a previous post. Mike’s reviews are clear and concise, covering camera characteristics, a brief history of model and brand, and his own opinion. Once you’ve gone through that there is little to add.
In this case, there is more to add. The excellent yashicatlr.com site details anything Yashica. History and models and variations thereof. Serial numbers guide and miscellaneous paraphernalia. All that to a detail warranting a Ph.D. thesis. Having the TLR in the site’s name does not do justice to it, as it covers much more than that. Navigation could improve, assuming evidence to the way it was written, adding information as it became available.
Adding more about this brand would mean recycling the information from above so I am not going there. To summarise, Yashica flourished after the great war, from a humble beginning as a maker of TLR and cine cameras. Cine cameras are simple to make, as they lack the leaf shutter, being the most complex part, and optics are less demanding. TLR cameras borrow shutters and lenses from specialized manufacturers, to be assembled within a large hence less complicated body.
Till 1958, when the Yashica 35 was introduced, the cameras have been made under the Yashima brand, where the models bore either Yashima or Yashica names. The exemplar I have is marked as made by Yashima, while later editions of the cameras were marked as made by Yashica. Another example I have is a Yashima TLR, identical to the parallel Yashica equivalent. Not sure why the name change was made, perhaps to cater to foreign markets. Nonetheless, the names Yashica or Yashima make no difference to the west as both are meaningless, in good company with brand names like Kodak and Sony. The only justification for the brand name change could have been following Leitz Camera branding, though there was only the model name being Leica, not the brand or manufacturer’s name change.
The Yashica 35 rangefinder was Yashima’s first venture outside the cine and TLR cameras line. There are conflicting opinions about its origin. At about the Yashica 35 introduction date, Yashima acquired Nicca, so it is sometimes assumed that the Yashica 35 is Nicca’s design. However, since it’s inception in 1938, all Nicca cameras were Leica’s clones, while the Yashica 35 went a different way by technology and style. The YE had been available under Yashica and Nicca banners, meaning that even after the Yashica 35’s introduction Nicca’s cameras were still made, at least for this model.
The later 35mm rangefinder models by Yashica, the YK, and YL, have little resemblance to Nicca cameras or the Yashica 35, so the Nicca line was discontinued altogether.
The Yashica 35 looks as if it wanted to be a Nikon S but gave up halfway. It is slightly bigger and heavier than the Nikon, looks similar in frontal view. The camera has a fixed lens, is manual, with just what is needed without any fancy options. The top plate is rather plain, having the winding lever, frame counter, shutter release, cold shoe, and a pull-up rewind button that does not release the back cover catch. A smallish ASA reminder window is by the rewind button. The hinged back opens via a latch over it, where once opens it resets the frame counter to the starting point. Further, the frame counter progresses over three-dot marks prior to the # 1 frame, to allow for the film leader when loaded. The viewfinder is large and bright with parallax offset marks.
Controls are on the fixed lens barrel. Focusing dial travels long, making it easy to focus, with a nice and large finger rest which was later replaced with a round knob. DOF marks are on the barrel base. In front of the focusing dial are the aperture and speed dials, where an errant finger may wander between them. Too close to my taste. In between these dials, on the left is the sync selector, and on the bottom the self-timer lever.
The camera was available with two lenses – 1.9 / 45 and 2.8 / 45.
On the early models, made towards the 1958 end, there is a hole on the top plate by the shutter release. I am not sure what purpose was it supposed to serve, as later models are alive and well without it. Would it be a current electronic product it could serve as a reset button, but I strongly doubt that this is what the designer had in mind. I could not find any information about it. Wrote to several contacts found online. Paul of yashiactlr.com, the only person to kindly reply, shares my puzzlement. Further, the user manual is not found on the net so it leaves a lot for guessing. Lucky the camera is plain and straightforward, save for the above mystery hole.
|Weight||770 gr, Body with lens|
|Class average weight||770 gr, Body with lens|
|Filter size||46 mm|
|Lens mount||Fixed lens|
|Aperture||1,9 – 16|