Friday, June 12, 2009

Yashica D

Yashica D
Yashica D; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Canon 430EX

I've been thinking about getting a TLR for a while now, and considering various models. Recently, a fellow photographer on a forum I read was selling his Yashica D TLR, and I decided that this was a good time to get one. It arrived, and I had a chance to put it through its paces as well as take some photos of it.

Yashica D Taking Lens
Yashica D Taking Lens; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Kenko 56mm extension tubes, Canon 430EX

Vital stats:

  • 120 film in 6x6 format

  • 80mm Yashikor lens pair, f/3.5 - f/22

  • Copal MXV shutter, B, 1-1/500 seconds

  • Ground glass focusing with pop-up magnifier and sports finder

  • No double exposure prevention or shutter/film transport coupling at all; you must cock the shutter manually after setting the speed, and you can continue to expose the same frame as many times as you like

  • Knob film advance with automatic spacing

  • No built in metering; use a handheld meter or sunny 16

Yashica D & Luna Pro F
Yashica D & Luna Pro F; Canon 30D, Sigma 10-20mm, Canon 430EX

I took it for a quick photo-walk on the way to work one day to get some first impressions and test it out. I quickly decided that I love having the ground glass to focus on, although it will take me a little bit to get used to the left-right reversal. Being able to actually see the image almost exactly as it will appear on the film is very very nice. Furthermore, I feel that having the viewing not be at your eye makes it feel more like you are looking at a picture, rather than looking at an object through a viewfinder. Very helpful for visualization.

Yashica D Shutter Release Yashica D Yashikor
Yashica D Shutter Release & Yashica D Yashikor; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Kenko 56mm extension tubes, Canon 430EX

In operation otherwise, it's very nice. Having to manually cock the shutter is not especially onerous (especially since my other medium format camera requires it too). A little viewing window just above the viewing lens means that you can set the shutter speed and aperture while keeping the camera at your waist the whole time. Like all TLRs, it suffers from the "viewfinder camera" problem, where what you see through the viewing lens (or viewfinder) is not exactly what the taking lens sees, but at reasonable distances this stops being an issue; close-up, I guess I'll just have to learn to compensate for it.

Pink Flower Bush
Pink Flower Bush; Yashica D, Kodak Portra 400VC

I took the chance while testing the camera to also test some color film, in this case Kodak Portra 400VC. Every time I shoot color film I keep hoping it will look great, and every time I'm reminded why I shoot black and white film, and use digital for color work. That said, many frames on the test roll came out nicely. The Yashikor lens is supposedly only the second best lens found in Yashica TLRs, but from these tests I think I'll be quite happy with it.

Red Plant Telephone Pole Fire Box
Pink Tree Empty Lot
Various; Yashica D, Kodak Portra 400VC

The inside shots of the Yashica D were all taken using a Canon 200mm f/2.8L lens, with some of them using 56mm of Kenko extension tubes as well. Strobist setup was one Canon 430EX into a reflective umbrella high above left of the subject; the white board used as a base also acted as a nice reflector, spreading the light around even more. The outdoor shot used a Sigma 10-20mm, with one Canon 430EX bare on a GorillaPod camera left. More to come in a further post about shooting camera pictures with flash outdoors.

Yashica D Nameplate
Yashica D Nameplate; Canon 30D, Canon 200mm f/2.8L, Kenko 56mm extension tubes, Canon 430EX


  1. does it take any kind of batteries?

  2. I LOVE my Yashica D, but I find in lower light situations I have a hard time focusing, maybe because of the screen. Have you tried it it other types of lighting conditions?