The Yashica J-7 was the last camera in Yashica’s popular J-Series of 35mm SLR cameras that ran from about late 1962 to early 1968. They were: the J-3, J-5, J-4, and the J-7. You could throw in the J-P but the J-P was closer in design and function to the Penta J and not the J-Series. All of these SLRs featured the famous and common M42 screw mount lens camera bodies.
The J-Series featured a CdS exposure meter which was built into the camera body on the camera’s left front top plate (see images below). The disadvantage of this type of meter was that the exposure readings did not accurately reflect the amount of light passing through the lens. Adjustments needed to be made if filters were used. The Yashica TL was Yashica’s first SLR to feature an exposure meter built inside of the camera and took readings through the attached lens (hence the “TL” for through the lens). As Yashica stated in the instruction booklet for the TL – “The two CdS resistors measures the average degree of light entering through the lens and directed to the focusing groundglass. In other words, the average value of light directed to the film plane is accurately computed”. This was a giant step for Yashica and would lead them to pioneer the use of electronics in photography as each new SLR made major advances towards the goal of accurate “computer controlled” exposure readings. The Yashica TL Electro-X and the ITS were the pinnacles of these accomplishments by late 1969 and early 1970.
And there you have it. A very short history of Yashica’s early 35mm SLR cameras.
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