There is also a SE version. Could not find any reference to it, assume it is Special Edition.
Most past camera makers were identified with a particular camera style. Zeiss and Leitz with rangefinders, Pentax with SLR, Cannon with rangefinders and SLRs, and so forth. Leitz made SLR cameras, but they were never considered mainstream. Mamiya’s claim to fame is from medium format TLR and SLR models, where their rangefinders and SLRs were deemed to be second best.
Olympus is most known for its TLR and compacts. They also made SLR cameras that never made a splash.
Yashica sold SLR cameras under its own and CONTAX brands. The SLRs sold under the Yashica banner can be grouped into four generations. I do not know how many they made of each model, so the only way to quantify this is by today’s popularity, meaning how many are sold now.
Yashica SLR sales registered on eBay.com for a given period:
|1960-1968||Penta, Reflex, J||139|
|1966-1973||TL , Electro||217|
|1975-1986||FR , FX||559|
|1987-1988||Under Keyocera, three digits numbers||112|
Note that the years above represent the model introduction, and the model’s lifetime overlapped.
The above figures only mean the importance collectors and hipsters attach to these models. eBay sold about 2,400 Canon SLRs of that generation over the same period, and about 1,200 Yashica made CONTAX SLRs. Tho get a meaningful idea, the total units sold is to be supplemented by the full value, or better still, an average unit cost:
Yashica SLR average – $40
Canon SLR average – $108
Contax SLR average – $232
The low sales figure could also be as the Yashica SLR cameras were either not kept by users or were not attractive to eBay buyers.
Looking at the Yashica FX-D, it seems that Japanese camera makers took the opposite route than the automakers.
When the major carmakers in Japan looked to increase sales, they branched into a new market segment, the luxury models, aiming up. Toyota with Lexus, Honda with Acura, and Nissan with Infinity. Even Mazda toyed with the idea, and Hyundai now follows suit.
Pentax’s way to increase sales was the S1a, a scaled-down of the successful S model. Same with the FX-D, as Olympus scaled down the Contax 139 of the year before. FX-D is a no-frills version of the 139, gone are the high-end extras that nobody used, other than bragging rights.
The camera is compact and easy to handle. It is surprisingly lightweight for a hand accustomed to older bodies yet heavier than today’s digital cameras. The other cameras in the Yashica FX lines are even lighter. Guess metal was out and plastic in. The skin has a kind of velvety feeling, perhaps popular at the time. It does not age well and excels in collecting dirt. I see many cameras offered with replaced skin.
Other than the straightforward settings and dials, there are some confusing features, at least for me, so I had to consult the manual:
The film speed-setting dial doubles as exposure compensation. Here, setting the speed against up or down exposure values ‘cheats’ the camera processor. A neat feature, instead of adding another lever or dial. Note that to move the dial, press the little button on the back, just by the dial. Else, the inside hilding pin will break, a common issue with users that avoid the user’s manual.
The multi-purpose dial assembly under the logo has three settings.
- 0, where it cuts the AE electric circuit to preserve the battery.
- AE-L, auto exposure lock – auto mode enabled, see below.
- S-T, self-timer. When set to that and trigger pressed, the led below will blink at a changing frequency.
- Button, battery check, and exposure check see below.
By the winding lever, a threaded socked for a mechanical remote trigger.
The camera is ready for a power handle, with an exposed interlock that turns with winding, which can be annoying if shooting without a case.
The camera has auto, aperture priority mode, and manual mode.
The shutter speeds scale is at the viewer’s right side, where red led dots indicate selected speed.
Auto – Set the front lever to AE-L. Set the shutter speed dial to AE, select the aperture value, and the camera will set the shutter speed. Look into the viewer and press the exposure check button to see the selected shutter speed. Override is by changing the film speed dial, as above. As a warning or under/over exposure, the camera will beep.
Manual – set the aperture to the desired value, and while half-pressing the trigger, move the aperture dial. A fixed LED dot at the speed scale indicates where you are, and two traveling dots, driven by the aperture ring, need to park by the stationary dot for ideal exposure.
For depth of field preview, half-press the trigger.
|Mode||Auto / manual, AP|
|Weight||470 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||620 gr, Body only|
|Filter size||52 mm|
|Lens mount||Yascica C/Y|
|shutter||Focal plane vertical metal|
|Light meter||TTL, manual override|
|Battery||SR44 x 2|