Costly Mistake…

It’s the best looking non-working Yashica TLR in our collection! There. Got that out of the way. This Yashica-Mat medium format camera is from 1968 and is in mint condition. The Mat had a super long run for Yashica – 1957 to 1973. Lots of pretty Mats out there to be had. Lots of dogs too. Sometimes the dogs work great and sometimes the pretty ones are dead in the water (DIW).

This one is DIW (nautical term meaning not moving). In my haste to add a good looking Mat to our collection, I overlooked a fatal flaw that often happens with these cameras…


Do you see the flaw that I missed?

How about now?


Look closely… do you see it yet?

How about more of a hint?


Okay, I’ll point it out.


Missing self timer lever. Did you see it right away? Pat yourself on the back if you did.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, in my haste to add a nice Mat to our collection, I failed to notice that the self timer lever was missing. No big deal right? It is and I know better. The lever is a small thingy with a little red dot of paint on the end of it. When it’s there, it should be all the way to the right (when looking straight on at the camera’s face). If it’s missing (as in this case) don’t buy it unless you enjoy repairing cameras. If it’s all the way to the left then ask questions of the seller. What happens is that the self timer lever should not be missing and should not be engaged to the left. In the instruction booklet, Yashica clearly cautions – “Be sure to move the synchro selector to the X position when using the Self-timer”.

The synchro selector lever is the little thingy sticking out just above the right thumb wheel as seen in image 1 (it has a little yellow dot of paint on it). The X position is pushing the level down (you can just make out the red X in the image above).


Syncro selector lever (yellow dot thingy) in the up M position (M is in yellow on the camera body).

Remember, yellow dot thingy lever up is in the M position. Yellow dot lever pointing down is in the red X position. A review: no self timer lever = run! Usually someone has forced the lever one way or another because the lever is stuck to the left. If the lever is in the left position and the yellow dot lever is in the up or M position then ask the seller a bunch of questions. Please ask if the shutter button trips the shutter when pressed. More then likely the answer will be no.

In closing, if the camera you’re interested in is photographed slightly turned as in this example below, it’s easy to overlook the missing self timer lever. Ask questions before purchasing it.



Here is an example of a Yashica-Mat with the self timer lever almost all the way to the left. I checked another image of this camera and the syncro selector lever is on M (which is in the up position). This is a classic case of what I’ve been talking about. You need to ask the seller if the shutter fires. More likely it does not. Run!

Completely my fault for not checking the lever and not asking questions of the seller.

Thanks for your visit… comments are always appreciated.



4 thoughts on “Costly Mistake…

    1. Sorry to hear that. They’re old machines and time is their worst enemy. 99% of all my Yashica TLRs work just great. But in this case I didn’t pay attention to the obvious clues that it was messed up.


  1. How sad. Such a beautiful camera. Thank you for your post. I’ve been thinking of maybe buying another Yashica TLR in the not so distant future, they’re just such a joy to shoot with. Now I know what to look out for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anneli. Overall they’re great cameras – they were inexpensive when new and for the most part Yashica used quality components and assembled them well. I actually like shooting with the basic Yashica TLRs – the Yashica A has no self timer so no worries with it messing with the shutter due to operator error. The Yashica Mat-EM is another model I’ve had good luck with but it can be tricky to find one with a good exposure meter (not a deal breaker as I usually guess at the exposure settings). I don’t mind turning film advance knobs and then cocking shutters manually on the simple models. Again, less stuff to fail. Most photographers can’t see the difference between the images produced by the various Tomioka lenses that Yashica used. IMHO, the Tri-Lausar, Heliotar, Yashimar, Yashikor, Lumaxar and Yashinon lenses produce excellent images. They differ in their construction but the glass is basically the same. Some are more prone to fungus and mold and some are easier to clean. Happy hunting!

      Liked by 1 person

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