Another big step in Yashica’s growth was the groundbreaking introduction of the TL-Super in 1966. Yashica started making 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras in 1959 with the Pentamatic ’35’. The Pentamatic was a solid first offering by Yashica but it was a timid first step. On one hand, the Pentamatic was a beast but lacked some serious upgrades… no self timer and no built-in exposure meter. The self timer was not much of an issue as Yashica made an accessory timer that could be used on many of their camera platforms and was simple to use. There was an option to buy a separate exposure meter (more money) and slide it on the accessory shoe so that at least you didn’t have to hold a meter in your hand to take a meter reading. Awkward. What was groundbreaking for the TL-Super is the fact that two CdS resistors were mounted inside the finder and would accurately measure the amount of light actually reaching the film. The ‘TL’ part was for through-the-lens metering (TTL) and it became the standard practice from that point forward.
Two other firsts for the TL-Super… first camera in the world to use silver-oxide 1.5v batteries and the Super marked the first time Yashica permanently mounted an accessory shoe (hot shoe) to the top of the pentaprism. Small stuff but big for Yashica.
Over the course of production for the TL-Super, two versions (3 actually) were made. V1 still used a baseplate locking system similar to the previous ‘J’ series of SLRs. The film advance lever was a rather plain but elegant lever much like some very early Yashicas used. The lenses were chrome nosed Auto Yashinons and came in two different apertures… f/ 1.7 and f/ 1.4 50mm. V2 changed the baseplate to a new cleaner style that no longer had the locking lever to open the film back. Instead the back was opened by lifting the rewind lever upwards and that would release the door. The film advance lever changed to a part metal and part plastic design which looked more like the more modern cameras at the time (1967-1970). The lenses became the black nosed Auto Yashinon-DX 50mm in both f/ 1.7 and f/ 1.4. The third unofficial version? Mine. Caught between part upgrades my Super has the old style film advance lever but has the later baseplate and uses the rewind knob to pop open the film back. My Super also came with a black nosed f/ 1.4 lens and a much later edition of the instruction booklet. So I’ll call it V1 (a).
Thanks again for your visit! Chris and Carol
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