Yashica TL-SUPER

The Yashica TL-SUPER is my regular walk around film SLR camera. I think this is a very solid piece of craftsmanship and I thought I might share my experience with it.

Storyline

I have plenty of vintage cameras most of them in a pretty bad shape, but those which are in good condition I try to use as much as I can.

This Yashica however isn’t mine but belongs to a very good friend David, who gave it to me for use. He is not shooting film, so I guess it could stay for a while. In fact he gave it in a set which consists of a very retro looking camera bag, 3 lenses, a filter, eye-cap,a truly wonderful leather case an of course the body itself. Everything is in an almost perfect shape and I also take care of this equipment a lot.

Unfortunately the battery was left in the camera for a couple of years and as far as I could investigate all the wires are burned out, therefore the meter is dead. It could be fixed by rewiring everything, but until now I have not take the challenge, plus I use an external meter for my other cameras anyway.  Despite this issue and the fact that the light sealing rubbers have been pretty much eaten by time it looks as brand new. Thank you David so much!  The sealing is a common problem of this kind of cameras, and not on the level of rocket science to solve. (Repair informations can be found here)

Yashica TL-SUPER in case

I have done some research on the web in order to be able to give some non subjective facts about this camera. So here it is what I have found so far.

Data sheet (from Matt Denton’s site)

  • Produced 1966 Yashica Co., Ltd. Japan
  • Film type 135 (35mm)
  • Picture size 24mm x 36mm
  • Weight 24.4oz (691.7g) body only; with Auto Yashinon normal lens 2lbs .1oz (910g)
  • Lens M42 screw mount Auto Yashinon GX 50mm 1:1.7-16
  • Filter size 52mm
  • Shutter rubberized focal plane
  • Shutter speeds B, 1-1/1000
  • Viewfinder SLR w/coated window and mirror lockup
  • Exposure meter stopdown CdS TTL w/match needle, activated by switch
  • Battery SR44/LR44 1.5v (for meter only)
  • Hotshoe and PC sync
  • Self-timer
  • original price in Japan: 50.000 Yen (reference)

The camera has 2 variations both produced in the same year. The significant difference is the way how to open the back of the camera. While v1 has a switch at the bottom of the camera, the v2 opens the back with the traditional rewind-knob pull solution. My version is the more interesting v1.

I love this camera because of it look and feel in my hands, it is really solid indeed. All the dials and switches operate very precisely and I have always a very nice quality feel when I set the time on the body. The lenses are equally well made, on the standard there is even a scale for infrared photography which  is also not usual. My other favorite feature is the mirror look-up. I can flip off the mirror from the way, so I can take pictures without any vibrations due to the mirror movement.

I do love the leather case so much because it is very well made and over-thought.You can remove the front-top part while the back of the camera is still covered by the rest of the case. In addition there is a screw-mount at the bottom of the case in the knob, so you can actually mount it to tripod without unwrapping your camera. Finally the knob fixing the case to the camera is somewhat over-sized compared to any other I have seen before, which makes it very convenient to attach and detach.

Yashica TL-SUPER in the case

Some more photos

Yashica TL-SUPER naked

Yashica TL-SUPER back

Yashica TL-SUPER mirror look-up and self timer

Yashica TL-SUPER time-dial and film advance

The KIT

Yashica TL SUPER kit bag

Yashica TL SUPER KIT

Yashica TL SUPER kit still in the bag

Yashica TL SUPER Full kit

Yashica TL SUPER Full kit: Camera, Yahinon 50mm f/1.7, Hansa 35mm f/2.8, Hansa 135mm f/2,8, lens paps and hoods, eyepiece, protective filter

Advantages

  • Very good chance to get one which is working well due the robust  design
  • Cheap
  • Good built quality
  • Integrated meter works with a common battery type
  • Works without battery
  • Huge selection of cheap yet excellent lenses
  • Nice leather case

Drawbacks

  • Nothing, if you like this manual way of photography.
  •  In fact my only minor concern is that I miss the split-image type focusing aid from the viewfinder. It does have micro-raster but the split-image method is much better for me especially when shooting indoor with a not as fast lens. It could be hard to focus in dim conditions.

Links

Test shoots

Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.7 Fuji superia 200

Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.7 Fuji superia 200

Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.7 Fuji superia 200

Hansa 35mm f/2.8 Fuji superia 200

Hansa 35mm f/2.8 @ f/11 20 second, mirror lookup Fuji superia 200

Hansa 135mm f/2.8 Fuji superia 200

Hansa 135mm f/2.8 Fuji superia 200

Carl Zeiss Jena Panclolar 80mm f/1.8 DM Paradise 400

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2 comments

  1. spcamerastyle · December 11, 2011

    Hello, Gábor. Your posts are always fantastic. I had a Yashica TL-Super but not as new as yours. it is a good camera. Simple and reliable as it can be. Sold to a friend of a friend. Great post anyway. Best Regards.

    • camerajunky · December 11, 2011

      Thank you, I love it too. It has a great style and as you said solid and reliable as a rock.

      Cheers,

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