I have always appreciated square format. I have always loved twin lens cameras. When photographers think TLR, Rolleiflex immediately comes to mind. When I saw this camera in the case at my local film camera store, I knew I needed to own it.
The Yashica-A is a twin-lens reflex camera. The lens is a Yashimar 80mm 1:3.5 lens, it’s a triplet lens design. The Copal shutter has four speeds 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, and 1/300, plus bulb of course. The shutter speed dial and the aperture lever are stepless. Which I think is a bonus. There are five curved blades. It has a slightly dim viewfinder, but the magnifier does a pretty good job. The viewfinder has a grid on the screen, which is handy for street shooting.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind before buying one of these. First, there isn’t a mechanism to auto-stop the film at the next frame when advancing the film. You have to use the window on the door to navigate to the next frame number.
The Yashica-A is very well built. It feels good in hand and if you have a comfortable neck strap, it’s easy to carry the camera. The Yashica weighs in at 2 lbs (909g) without the case, with the full leather case it packs on a few more ounces, 2.44 lbs (1110g). It’s only slightly heavier than my Rolleicord and slightly lighter than my Rolleiflex.
There is PC connection on the front and there is a cold shoe on the left side of the camera. The cold shoe is handy. I have a small Rollei E15B flash that I could mount and it works like a charm. I could also easily attach my Godox trigger for remote off camera flash.
This camera is a dead simple camera to use. It doesn’t have a meter, it doesn’t have any fancy features. It slows you down, but not in a bad way of course. I’ve certainly enjoyed shooting this camera. It’s comfortable, it looks cool, and it takes lovely pictures. Really, what more could you want from a vintage TLR camera. This would certainly be a great first TLR. This is not my first one, but I really like it.
Sample Images: Ilford FP4+
Sample Images: Rollei RPX 400
There are more than a few technical reviews of this camera online: I think you should read Dave Carulli’s article on Casual Photophile: https://casualphotophile.com/2021/01/29/yashica-a-review/
Old cameras are a lot of fun to shoot. This one is no exception. I am glad I bought it.