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3. What Yashica 35mm SLR bodies are available?

Most Yashica bodies are manual focus, except for the 200AF and 230AF which come with a small range of lenses (and as they don't appear on the Yashica corporate Website anymore, I take it they discontinued it).

3.1 FR series

FR-I

I own an FR-I, so I'll start with that one first (it is also the most versatile of the FR series, another reason to start with it). It's a body with an electronic shutter and TTL metering put onto the market together with the Contax RTS, with which it can share most accesories (so go shopping and put a 5fps Professional Motor Drive and a 250 exposure back on it - can't do that with a Nikon N90x ;-)).

The FR-I is a very nice classic body, with an aperture-priority mode and manual modes with shutter speeds from 1/1000th to 1 second and bulb. Exposure compensation is possible +2 to -2 in full stops, film sensitivity can be set from 12 to 3200 ASA. The front of the body sports an X-sync socket, the self-timer and a depth-of-field preview button. The rear has a button to activate the meter, which can be locked by the film winding lever. Next to the meter is the socket for the remote control cord. The 92% viewfinder shows diafragm, metered shutter speed and a manual mode indicator. You can attach an FR (or RTS) winder to the bottom and replace the back with a databack (or any RTS back). At its time, it competed with classics like the Nikon EM, Minolta XG-1 and Canon AV-1, and it compares very favourably with them (more features, less money).

FR

The FR is basically the same box, but without the automatic (aperture priority mode). It was introduced around '76 as the first of the FR series and, apart from the fully manual operation it mainly differed by the fact that it had a CdS-based metering system with LED indicators.

FR-II

The FR-II is fully automatic, with auto, flash and bulb settings and shutter speeds ranging from 4 to 1/1000th. The viewfinder only shows time information (no aperture) and the X-sync socket is missing, too. The FR-II is only available in chrome.

3.2 FX series

The FX series (at least the FX-D) was an offspring of the Contax 139 and was designated to replace the FR series.

FX-D Quartz

The FX-D Quartz is a scaled-down version of the Contax 139 with reduced compatibility (though it can use the Contax 139 winder which gives 2 fps). Compared to the FR-I, several advances were made: exposure time measuring with quartz oscillator, a flash-ready function and 1/100th flash sync, a larger time range in automatic mode (11 to 1/1000th), a vertical metal shutter, and auto-exposure lock. Apart from this, it wasn't a lot better than the FR-I, on the contrary: the material quality was inferior, and a lot of small features were missing. The viewfinder didn't give aperture information, the x-sync socket was gone, as was depth-of-field preview button. You couldn't change backs, and exposure compensation was done by changing the ASA setting (on the FR-I, the ASA setting is locked). The ASA range was smaller, too: 25-1600 vs. 12-3200 on the FR).

In the beginning, Yashica didn't offer a special winder for the FX-D, so you had to buy the expensive Contax 139 winder. Later on, Yashica made this up with a dedicated FX winder which misses the vertical release button featured on the Contax version. The body was available in black, but a FX-D SE (special edition) was in chrome and sold as a set with a zoom lens.

FX-3, FX-3 Super, FX-3 Super 2000, FX-7

A fully mechanical body with a simple metering system. I have never seen a more basic body: you can set shutter time and film speed, there is a button to switch on the TTL LED meter (which shows a plus, a minus or a zero in the viewfinder to indicate its opinion of the current settings), a film wind lever, the shutter release, a timer lever, and a lens unlock button. That's all there is. Nice points: it's very compact and light-weight, you have mirror lock-up with the timer, and it doesn't need batteries to operate. And it does have all the necessities of life: split-image focusing, hot shoe, a vertical metallic shutter (so flash sync is at 1/125th), etcetera. I like this box a lot.

The FX-3 Super is mostly the same as the FX-3, but activating the meter is not via a separate button, but by pressing the shutter release button lightly. That's generally a sound ergonomic improvement, but especially left-eyed shooters will benefit from this.

The FX-3 Super 2000 has an added shutter speed of 1/2000th. Full specs on the FX-3 Super 2000 are on Yashica's website under http://www.yashica.com/yashica/slr/fx3super2000/fx3super2000.html. Other differences: flash ready display in viewfinder and a built-in hand grip.

Later, a version of the FX-3 called FX-7 was marketed. It is a chrome body which was sold in a set with two DSB lenses and a hardbag.

FX-1, FX-2

Predecessors to the FX-3 were the FX-1 and the FX-2, which had an all-metal construction. The FX-3 is mostly plastic.

The FX-2 has a fully mechanical shutter, needle-match metering, horizontal cloth shutter (flash sync at 1/60), and DOF preview button (missing from FX-3!). I'm not sure about split-image focusing. The FX-1 is like FX-2, but it has an electronic shutter, so there is an aperture priority AE mode in addition to manual. I've heard about a battery problem with the FX-1 that would influence metering, but no confirmations yet (with fresh batteries or after prolongued off-time, the battery output voltage was reported to be too high).

FX-103 Program

The FX-103 Program was an addition to the FX series after the Contax 159MM had been released. More or less identical to the FX-D, it featured TTL flash control and two program modes (a standard mode and a high speed mode). Contrary to the 159MM, though, it did not made special use of the MM lenses, which have special light aperture blades made to be controlled by camera electronics. The Yashica Program bodies (up to the current 109MP) are all the same in this respect and therefore can use all Yashica and Zeiss lenses in program mode.

FX-D, FX-70

Some other bodies that were mentioned, more information on them is welcome.

3.3 107MP, 108MP, 109MP

The 109MP is a body with a built-in motorwinder. As full details can be found on Yashica's website under http://www.yashica.com/yashica/slr/109multi/109multi.html, I won't repeat them here (as long as above link stays intact).

The next paragraphs are verbatim copies of mails I received on these bodies. I'll edit them when I have time...

Marcus Hanke: Unfortunately the next Yashica SLR I have more detailed informations about is the 109 Multi Program: Its aperture-priority mode ranges from 16-1/2000 sec., flash sync 1/90, manual 1-1/2000 (strange, isn't it: the 1/1000 sec- FX-D had a flash sync faster than the 1/2000-109!); again standard and HP-program mode (see FX-103); DX-coding (no manual override possible); no real exposure compensation (only a +1.5-button), AE-lock; viewfinder information: Only four LED-symbols for over/under and correct exposure, flash; integrated winder (1.3fps) with motorized film rewinding (the previous F-108 had manual rewind), back interchangeable for databack.

Andrew: I now know something of that Yashica TR-7000 I mentioned to you before... In desperation I called Yashica in New Jersey and asked. The Camera is in fact the European version of the FX-107, and it is very similiar to the Yashica FX-109MP. Based upon my conversation with Yashica about the only difference I could determine is that it has a NON-metered Manual mode in addition to the Program mode. The lack of a manual light meter is in fact probably the reason for it's early demise and subsequent replacement by the FX-109MP. When you get around to upgrading the FAQ you may want to include some of this info in it. I will also send off a slightly edited version this E-mail to your Digest so others can read it.

Bob: I have a Yashica TR7000 and as far as I can tell, it's the same camera as the MP107, and I may want to sell it (new condition) as I don't use it. Mine came with a 50mm f2.0 lens.

The button near the shutter release is the self timer switch. The camera has three program modes (normal, slow, and high speed) as well as manual mode. In the manual mode, there is no metering. The button on the side of the lens mount is for back light compensation. The lens mount is metal while a lot of the body is plastic.

It's very similar to the MP109, but the film rewind is manual instead of motorized. A manual is available from John Craig.

Andrew: Copied and Edited From the Yashica 1996 Catalogue

108 Multi-Program, Motor-Driven SLR, Multi-mode LED display - DX film setting (ISO 25-3200) Normal program mode, high speed program mode, aperture priority AE mode, manual exposure mode, manual flash mode CPU controlled timing precision with a maximum 1/2000 sec. shutter speed. Built-in auto-winding with auto load/automatic film advancing to the first frame. Exposure compensation for back-fit subjects.

109 Multi-Program, Motor-Driven SLR, Multi-mode LED display - DX film setting (ISO 25-3200) Normal program mode, high speed program mode, aperture priority AE mode, manual exposure mode, manual flash mode Automatic film rewind CPU controlled timing precision with a maximum 1/2000 sec. shutter speed. Built-in auto- winding with auto load/automatic film advancing to the first frame Exposure compensation for back-lit subjects.

Lenses Currently Available (As of 1996)

MC      75- 200mm Macro
MC      28-80mm 
MC      35-70mm
ML       50mm 1.9 Lens   
FX Series Case
Case for 108 & 107
Case for 109
CS-15 Electronic Flash,
CS-140 Flash
CS-220 Auto Flash

Neal Zondlo: I have a Yashica 108MP, and can tell you that there is really only 1 difference as far as I can tell between the 108MP I have and the description of the 109MP on the Yashica website. Whereas the 109MP has motorized film rewind, the 108MP has a crank for manual film rewind. Everything else (1/90 flash sync, manual 1 - 1/2000 s exposure, +1.5 EV backlight compensation, auto 16s - 1/2000 s exposure, bulb, 1/90, aperture-priority, program and high-speed program exposure modes, motorized film advance, hot shoe, electronic cable release attachment, auto DX sensing ISO 25-3200 in full stop increments, 10s self-timer, TTL metering light display) seems identical between their description of the MP109 and the reality of my MP108.

3.4 Dental Eye

For some reason, Yashica has a system consisting of what looks like a modified 109MP body, a macro lens and a ring flash especially for medical use. It's horrendously expensive, like everything made for dentists. The current version is documented on Yashica's website under http://www.yashica.com/yashica/dental.


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