It’s always a joy to discover film cameras, especially those hidden gems. There’s an air of mystery about them that is begging to be explored, tempting you to learn more about these relics of the past. One such mysterious character is the Yashica FX-D. At a glance, one may think it’s nothing more than a simple, basic SLR — but a dive into its history and spec sheet reveals otherwise. Join us as we get to know the camera that’s considered by some to be the “last Yashica”.
The FX-D was a 35 mm single-lens reflex camera introduced to the market in 1979 by the Japanese camera manufacturer, Yashica. Back then, Yashica and Contax were known basically as “sister companies” and their products usually had striking similarities. Yashica catered to the amateurs with their more basic and newbie-friendly designs while Contax created more refined gear for the professional and advanced user markets. This particular Yashica had a “big sister” in the form of the Contax 139 Quartz.
This camera was called the “last Yashica” because, in 1983, Kyocera acquired the Yashica/Contax brands and the cameras that followed were made for them by Cosina. People loved the original build quality of most Yashica cameras — something that was missing from their later models. The FX-D benefitted from this Yashica design mindset. It was a reliable camera through and through, even after years of hard use and minimal maintenance. Only minor repair notes like the stock leatherette peeling off and light seals becoming sticky were commonly reported.
Feature-wise, the Yashica FX-D had a little bit of everything to make anyone’s shooting experience fun and comfortable. It had aperture priority mode, through-the-lens center-weighted metering, quartz-timed shutter speeds, and a short stroke film advance lever among other things. The FX-D also had thoughtfully placed controls and a lightweight body (composed of fiberglass-infused plastic) that contributed to its easy handling. A separate motor drive could also be used with the body, thanks to the metal contacts on the bottom of the camera. Lastly, one caveat for the FX-D was that it could not function without batteries.
Like a lot of Yashica and Contax cameras, the FX-D shared the same C/Y bayonet lens mount. This meant that a wide variety of high-quality lenses, including Carl Zeiss glass, could be used. Crystal clear and sharp photos are just around the corner with the help of Zeiss lenses. However, the Yashica ML 50 f/2 which came as a standard lens wasn’t shabby either — rendering sharp details and gorgeous bokeh.
All in all, the Yashica FX-D was an under-the-radar camera. It was easily over-shadowed by other popular cameras during its time, but it was a camera that aged well. And since it’s a Yashica, it is relatively more affordable to acquire now unlike its relatives from Contax.
Photos Taken by Our Community Members
Type: 35 mm single-lens reflex with aperture preferred automatic exposure
Image size: 24 × 36 mm
Lens mount: Contax/Yashica large-diameter bayonet mount
Shutter: Electronically controlled vertical-running, all-metal focal plane shutter
Shutter speeds: Quartz-timed electronically-controlled shutter with speeds semi-continuously variable on AUTO from 1/1000 to 1 seconds. Manual shutter speeds from 1/1000 sec. to 1 sec., plus X (1/100 sec.) and "B" Synchro contact: X contact (1/100 sec.)
Auto flash control: When used with CS-201 Auto Flash Unit, shutter speed automatically set at 1/100 sec. upon full charging of the flash unit
Self-timer: Quartz-timed electronic self-timer with 10 sec. delay. LED flashes and audible warning device sounds during operation, simultaneously accelerating 2 sec. before shutter release
Shutter release: Electromagnetic release system; auxiliary remote release via "Release socket"
Exposure control: Through-the-lens (TTL), center-weighted metering at full aperture using SPD (Silicon Photo Diode) cell. Aperture-preferred automatic exposure (LED matching type on Manual). EV 1 to EV 18 sensitivity range at ASA 100 with an f/1.4 lens. ASA range 25--1600
Exposure check button: Pressing button activates LED indicators for ten seconds
AE lock: Setting AE lock lever locks in shutter speed in effect at the time of setting
Exposure compensation: + 2 EV (Doubles as film speed dial)
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism type; field shows 95% of picture area; 0.86 magnification (with 50 mm lens)
Focusing screen: Horizontal split-image spot, surrounded by a microprism collar and an outer matte field
Viewfinder display: Shutter speeds indicated by 16-indicator LEDs (correct exposure on AUTO; exposure selected on Manuals; over- and under-exposure indications; special mark shows when flash is fully charged; battery check warning
Film advance: With rapid advance lever; 130° setting angle; 20° standoff position.
Winder: Accepts Contax 139 Winder II
Film rewind: Film rewind crank and film rewind release button (automatic resetting type)
Exposure counter: Automatic resetting type
Accessory shoe: Direct X contact, and terminal for coupling CS-201 Auto Flash Unit
Camera back: Opens by lifting film rewind knob; with memo holder
Power source: Two 1.5 V silver-oxide batteries (Eveready S76, Ucar S76, Mallory MS-76 or equivalent); or alkaline-manganese batteries (LR44 or equivalent)
Battery check: Indicated via flashing of LEDs inside the viewfinder
Dimensions: 135 × 86 × 50 mm
Weight: 460 grams with batteries