Yashica 635: TLR Goodness to the Max!


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!

image from Frode Inge Helland from Wikimedia Commons

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

This article was written by Community member falsedigital. Pair the Yashica 635 TLR with a good-looking 120 film from the Online Shop or from Gallery Stores.

written by falsedigital on 2009-10-29 #gear #yashica #medium-format #120 #35mm #review #tlr #yashica-635 #no-light-meter #full-manual


  1. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Your gallery is out of control amazing. I'd love to see some color shots as well.

  2. lomocore
    lomocore ·

    not that i don't think these B/W shots are amazing, but i agree with lomosexual_manboy. long live the TLR

  3. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Thanks so much guys!
    Well I bought some Fuji Reala to put in this thing. (my first color roll in it)
    Haven't finished my first roll yet but I'll definitely share my results when I do.

  4. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    sh*t thats one fine tlr!! iv seen those photos in ur home before, still amazes me! =)

  5. anarchy
    anarchy ·

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!! =)))

  6. crayfish
    crayfish ·

    very cool gallery :)

  7. fivedayforecast
    fivedayforecast ·

    I see you're really lovin this camera!

    I already have a Yashica Mat but I'm thinkiing about buy one of these. The Mat has a Yashinon lens which is a 4 or 5 element lens and the 635 has a Yashikor which has a 3 element lens. I like the look that the photos have better when its a 3 element lens

  8. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    fivedayforcast - To be honest even though the one is a 4 element and one is a 3 there is hardly any difference between these lenses. I have a friend with a yashica mat also. It's all about focusing and film. I'm a perfectionist so I try my best to focus as pinpoint accurate as possible. If you already have a mat, you're set. Don't bother getting this one too unless you just like to collect them :3

  9. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    What a wonderful gallery!! Your models are beautiful, you just need to feed them more!!

  10. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    herbert-4 - Haha, actually we all eat quite a bit!

  11. 3lla
    3lla ·

    This camera is a portrait powerhouse!
    Beautiful gallery! I especially love the swirly bokeh, I think it adds a certain charm to your photos.

  12. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    very very very good portraits

  13. dogma
    dogma ·

    Great camera indeed! Love the pictures!

  14. adbigmilk
    adbigmilk ·

    Amazing gallery

  15. eyecon
    eyecon ·

    A great portrait series.....!

  16. stouf
    stouf ·

    High class portraits !

  17. seiglie
    seiglie ·

    Love the photos mate! Thanks a lot for the review, I'm dying to get me one of these venerable TLRs!!!

  18. longcg
    longcg ·

    Oh man, because of this review and your wonderful pictures, I just got myself one of this classic camera. I'm very lucky to find one with the full 35mm kit and the mechanic is very smooth... Can't wait to test this beautiful camera. Thank you!

  19. eddie_2k9
    eddie_2k9 ·

    Great review!!! And really great portraits....this camera will surely appear on my wishlist =)

  20. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    really great portraits...!

  21. jaguarwomon
    jaguarwomon ·

    Beautiful portraits of beautiful people! The people in my life are never willing to be photographed :(

  22. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    @jaguarwomon - Thanks! Hmmm well maybe they require some alcohol beforehand. I think after people have a few drinks they are less likely to care if they're being photographed or not. haha :P

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