Impressions: Yashica-Mat LM

Twin lens reflex.

I’d never considered one until recently. When I resumed shooting film and began exploring eBay, TLR’s looked interesting. My first acquisition was the Yashica-Mat LM.

First impressions are of a tank of a camera. It’s all metal and very heavy. Focusing is done on a ground glass screen on the top of the camera. A magnifying loupe flips up to aid with detailed focus. The entire front of the camera moves in and out using a knob on the left side.

LM stands for light meter; the YashicaMat uses an uncoupled selenium meter which reads in EV. A mechanical computer built into the focus knob translates EV into shutter/aperture combinations. Shutter speed and f-stop are adjusted with small knobs on either side of the lenses and visible in a small window on top. Film advance is via a crank on the right side which also cocks the shutter. While smooth to use, this does preclude double exposing, whether intentional or inadvertent.

It uses 120 roll film, taking 12 6×6 exposures per roll. Mine came ready to roll right out of the box with only a quick superficial cleaning.

As an experienced manual camera user I had no trouble figuring it out, or so I thought. I mis-read the exposure computer and overexposed half of my first roll.

Once I learned the controls, the results were very nice. This one is a current favorite shooter.

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One comment

  1. mr618

    The old Yashica Mats were favored by press photographers for their durability, flexibilty, and overall quality, according to my father (who spent most of his working life as a journalist), replacing the even older SpeedGraphic 4×5 (that’s the one in all the movies from the 40’s)