Thursday, December 27, 2012

Yashica TL Electro X

Made: 1968 to 1974
Shutter: Electronically controlled Copal Square SE. Metal focal plane type.
Shutter Speeds: Step-less from 2 to 1/1000 and B.
Type: SLR
Film: 35mm
Exposure: Cds TTL stop down meter.
Standard Lens: Yashica Auto Yashinon-DS 50mm 1:1.7
Weight: 983 g

The Yashica TL Electro X was the first SLR that I bought back in 1974.  I remember at the time it got some bad press because of its use of stop-down metering made it seem dated.  Still for what it cost then, which I seem to remember I paid slightly less than $200, it is an excellent camera. Amazingly the camera in the picture is the actual camera that I bought all those years ago.  I actually didn't didn't use it much as I bought a Canon F1 a few months later, however my brother used it for a few years.  After that it went into storage and wasn't used until a couple years ago when I got into film again. I found it when I went looking for any film stuff that I still had.  When I put a new battery in it the Yashica TL Electro X came back to life. And since then it has worked flawlessly. I should add that in the photo above I applied a filter for GAF 500 slide film.  Maybe some old-timers may remember that film.

I should say something about batteries here.  Some versions use 2.7 volts and others need 6 volts.  Mine uses 6 volts and a l1325 works fine.  If you get one of these and need to sort out battery issues a search on Google will turn up plenty of answers.

The Yashica TL Electro X was somewhat of a historic camera.  It was the first camera to use electronic lights in its exposure meter. Instead of the match needle meter that was common at the time, the Electro X used two lighted under and over lighted arrows. The Yashica TL Electro X also had the first electronically controlled step-less shutter.   So theoritically you can set the shutter speed to any speed between 2 seconds and 1/1000.  Although of course you won't know exactly what speed you have set unless you are on one of the marked shutter speeds.  The shutter will operate without a battery at one speed.  It seems like I remember that speed was 1/1000.  I do remember shooting some pictures with the assumption of that shutter speed before I got the new battery and they turned out fine.

The Yashica TL Electro X has a nice battery strength light. It also has mirror lock-up which isn't often found in an SLR of this price range. The lens mount is the of the M42 variety.  So it can use a lot of the great screw mount lenses.  And this is the camera that I use to test a lot of those lenses.

The Yashica TL Electro X seems to have most of the features that one could want. To me what makes it an excellent camera is the Yashica lenses.  Their sharpness and good contrast make them very good for b&w work. The one here is the Yashinon-DS 50mm 1:1.7.

I like the patterns that shadows make in the winter.  The Yashinon-DS 50mm 1:1.7 does well at capturing that.  The film in both images is the much lamented, by me at least, now departed Legacy Pro 100.

The Yashica TL Electro X must have been a good seller. I have seen a lot of them on Ebay.  It looks like you can easily find one for between $20 and $40.  And in my opinion if you are looking for a capable M42 mount camera you can't do much better that the Yashica TL Electro X.

The last two pictures are with the Yashica Yashinon-DX 1:2.8 28mm lens.

On a foggy morning. 

Our red barn on the same foggy morning.