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A Day Out With Yashica 635 Twin Lens Reflex Camera

Do you know what is Twin Lens Reflex camera, the TLR? It’s an old vintage camera which has two lens and your viewfinder is on top of the camera and people look down into the camera to take a shot.

My uncle borrowed me an very old camera, the Yashica 635 dual format TLR camera to play out. He kept it for super many years, it still looking good and in a very good condition for taking photograph. The dual format means that it can support both 120mm film and the 35mm film that we normally use.

120mm is not really my favourite as it’s not easy to find and the processing and developing of it is costly. Luckily there’s an adapter which allow the camera to use 35mm format film, though this turn the camera into portrait mode.

With much excitement about this ancient camera, brother and I went to buy a Fujifilm Superia 35mm film for RM12 to try it out. Spent about half an hour to figure out how to put in the film as there’s no manual for it and finally we’ve successfully have the film fixed in the camera.

Everything is in manual, focusing, shutter speed and aperture. It has a wide aperture of f3.5 and fastest shutter speed of 1/500. We have to wind every exposure film ourselves manually as there’s no battery and automated part.

After fixing the film, we quickly go to Straits Quay to try out the camera since the day was still bright. As you know, film camera without a flash and slow ISO film is always not advisable to shoot during low light situation.

Focusing is easy with a magnifying glass on the viewfinder. However, setting up the best setting for shooting is not easy and we have to refer to the setting of DSLR like shutter speed and aperture. Haha. We are not pro to estimate it yet, I really salute the user of this camera back then. There must be a standard for it but I don’t know yet.

We wanted to shoot all 36 exposure of the film but failed because the winding problem of the camera and we wind all till the end and we shot about 16 shots.

Thought of going to the camera shop to developed the film right after it but couldn’t find any photo shop that is still open on a Sunday evening. Haha. And not much of them are developing and printing film, that’s a sad thing. Then we went to develop the next day, scanned into digital format and turn out to be good and love the bokeh and the photos taken by me. Haha, so proud of myself. XD Some shots were taken by my brother too.

Seems like film camera is kinda fun, especially old old one. =D

One more thing, it’s not easy to frame the photo as it’s inverted in the viewfinder and superhard to take landscape.

About Author

Nick is an interior designer and tech enthusiast based in Penang, Malaysia who constantly exploring places, indulges great food, discovering good design and is a shutterbug. Nick usually writes about Penang, happenings, travel, food, design and personal thoughts.

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