Film: 120 or 35mm
Type: twin-lens reflex (TLR)
Lens: 80mm f/3.5 Yashikor lens, aperture range f/3.5 to f/22. Minimum focus distance is 1 m / 3.3 ft. Bay-1 filter mount.
Shutter speed: 1 s – 1/500 s, and “Bulb”. Copal MXV leaf shutter. Shutter is cocked with a lever on the front. Shutter release is on the bottom left of the front of the camera.
Included conversion kit for 35mm film, shot in portrait orientation.
For medium format, there is a film counter that is automatically reset when loading film
For 35mm format, there is a manually-set film counter
“Cold shoe” accessory attachment
PC flash sync
Double exposures possible, as shutter may be fired without film being wound first.
My father-in-law was given this camera and he plans to sell it on ebay. Knowing my obsession, he asked if I wanted to borrow it first. So I took it for a test drive. I already have a Yashicamat which I like a lot; it has a nicer lens than the 635, but doesn’t also shoot 35mm. I decided to try the 35mm option, since that was new to me.
It probably made more sense back when the camera was made, but shooting 35mm in this camera has some distinct disadvantages. First off, you’re forced to shoot portrait orientation as the film runs vertically through the camera. And unlike a regular 35mm camera, turning this camera on its side to shoot landscape orientation is extremely difficult. Also, composing and focusing with the 35mm crop lines in the viewfinder takes some getting used to. I found myself with my eye up to the pop-up magnifying glass constantly, to make sure I was getting acceptable focus. Swapping out the 35mm kit takes a few minutes, and of course you can’t swap it out mid-roll if you decide you want to switch formats. I’d rather just carry two cameras, but back in the 60s if you only owned one camera, this made a lot more sense.
80mm is a slightly wide lens for medium format. When you use it for 35mm however, it is a mild telephoto lens. Which theoretically is ideal for portraits at that focal length actually. I didn’t get a chance to try the camera with medium format film, but the experience was very similar to my Yashicamat. Would I go out of my way to find a 635? No. I don’t think the 35mm option is worth the trouble. Better to get a dedicated 120 format camera with a better lens in my opinion. But if you’re set on this for the novelty of the camera, it seems to handle pretty well.
Below, what the insides look like without the 35mm kit installed.
And below, the camera with the 35mm kit installed.