As stated in my Shanghai GP3 film review, I bought the Yashica 635 camera on a whim. I had never shot 120 before, let alone with a TLR but I decided to dive in head first. And boy was I ever happy that I did!
Upon first glance, you’ll notice one of the different things about this camera is that has the ability to shoot 35mm and 120. Although you need an adapter for 35mm the film winds correctly to the next frame unlike having to guess it on a Holga or other red windowed medium format camera.
After loading the film it’s geared to automatically stop at the next frame. You’ll hear a nice CLICK when it’s locked into place. Focusing is fairly easy and there’s a fold-out magnifying circle that allows you to place your eyes closer to the window to focus more precisely. Or you can move the glass back and just shoot from the hip. If you’re feeling really lucky you can fold the back down and look straight ahead. But you better know your focusing distance to a T if you do that…because then you’re focusing based on range and not through the viewfinder.
To take a photo you must set the aperture and shutter speed wheels and then cock it to set it in place. Then you can press the shutter release button. Be sure to set it right the first time because after you cock it…there’s no changing your settings until after the shutter is pressed!
After you take your photo you must push a button on the winder to release it and then turn to your next frame. Yet again, upon that frame, you will be welcomed with another friendly CLICK! Or if you want to expose it multiple times you can wait to do this. BUT DON’T FORGET TO WIND IT!
Now I must say the focusing is really great on this camera. It’s incredibly accurate and the lens is incredibly sharp. There is a wonderful depth of field and almost a swirling type of bokeh in all the photographs. It’s an absolute BEAST for portraits. It does take a little longer to set up each photo but that’s part of the charm in it. There are tons of cameras out there if you wanna shoot and run but this baby is great if you wanna set things up with full control.
Also, I should mention there is NO light meter built in. So you can follow the Sunny 16 Rule or get an external light meter. Sometimes I use my digital point and shoot camera as a Ghetto Light meter by using it to test the available light set to emulate the same speed film I have in my camera. Either way, I’m sure you’ll find this camera a joy to use. Hope you guys dig it! Now stop reading this and get out there and shoot! :D