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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1 comment

  1. 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)

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