Gear Profile I: Yahsica-D

Yashica-D near St. John's Bridge

Here's my latest addition. We had an outing by St. John's Bridge in Portland, OR, to take pictures.


  • Medium Format TLR
  • Copal leaf shutter- bulb, 1 – 1/500 sec
  • Taking lens- coated 3 element Yashikor 80mm f/3.5-22
  • Focusing lens- Yashikor 80mm f/3.5
  • Strengths: medium format, quiet operation, convenient adjustment and focusing
  • Weaknesses: no meter, heavy, largest aperture is f3.5
  • Quirks: it’s old and smells like a good used bookstore; dust, incense, and old paper
  • This Yashica-D likes taking pictures people, lonely scenes, old cars

The Yashica-D is my first twin lens reflex camera and my first medium format camera. This is my most recent acquisition, purchased from eBay for about $35. I’m super impressed with the quality and ease of use with this guy. The view finder window is in really good shape and is sufficiently bright. This is the early production on the ‘D’, the later models had a brighter f/3.2 focusing lens, but this does the trick. When I first fooled around with it I was amazed by how clear the ground glass viewing screen is. It’s almost like looking at an LCD screen. Originally I was worried that without any focusing aids like on an SLR that it’d be a challenge to focus, but it’s so clear that focusing is easy. It does take some time to get used to seeing everything flipped in the viewing screen.

looking down through my TLR

whoa, everything is flipped!

I never knew much about TLRs nor had much interest in them until I saw some great photos taken with one by NoiRcORNEr’s great photos of cats and Tommy Oshima’s intimate and moody portraits on flickr. Before this I was too intimidated to actually consider getting and using that old of a camera, especially one without a meter. But after seeing the possiblities of medium format, especially from TLRs, I knew that I had to get one.

old caddy in portland or

old car, old camera, had to take the shot

For anyone interested in getting started in medium format I’d definitely recommend a TLR. They are simple and no fuss. Yashica’s are decent quality and can be purchased for a fair bit less than a Rolleiflex or Mamiyaflex. I can’t wait to put this guy to more use.

Interested in getting a TLR or medium format camera? Check out this post on Holga Blog


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