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Yashica J 35mm rangefinder camera

The Yashica J is a 35mm rangefinder camera made in about 1961. It is of fairly simple construction with a limited range of settings and is fitted with a 45mm f/2.8 Yashinon lens.

Yashica J Images

My Yashica J Camera

I paid only a couple of pounds for this camera from eBay and bought it simply to add to my Yashica 35mm collection.

When I received it I found a camera in just about perfect cosmetic condition with hardly a mark on it apart from a very small amount of pitting within the flash/accessory shoe.

The camera also seems to be in good mechanical condition with all the controls working properly, although the shutter speed control is a bit stiff to operate. The coupled rangefinder is a very bright yellow square in the centre of the viewfinder and the framing lines are also nicely defined and bright.

Yashica J Description

I assumed that this camera was made in Japan since Yashica was a Japanese company, but on the top plate, under the serial no it clearly says ‘Hong Kong’ so I assume this means the camera was actually made in China.

Other than its country of origin, this is a fairly standard coupled rangefinder camera.

There are only 4 shutter speeds available, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 & 1/300 along with the bulb setting and the aperture covers the values f/2.8 to f/16 with a clickless aperture ring. This gives the camera an EV range coverage of about 8 to 16.

The shutter has an X sync socket fitted to the front of the camera and there is a mechanical self timer fitted to the bottom of the shutter.

All in all, this seems to be a camera aimed at the bottom end of the market – perhaps an entry into rangefinder photography for people who had outgrown a simple viewfinder camera but weren’t yet ready for the complication of an SLR camera.

Yashica Model J Specification

  • 35mm coupled rangefinder camera
  • Copal shutter offers 1/25sec to 1/300sec + B
  • Yashinon 45mm f/2.8 lens
  • X sync socket
  • Frame counter around film advance
  • Made in Hong Kong about 1961
  • Ser No: 6943
  • Manual available on line here

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I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

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