2other Yashica cameras in my collection:


JapanYashica FX-D Quartz [1979 - 1983*]



Yashica FX-DThe Yashica FX-D is the little sister of the Contax 139 Quartz released about the same time, but it lacks some of the Contax's refinements, and has styling differences whilst sharing the Contax/Yashica bayonet lens mount. Details of the full differences can be found here.

Quartz refers to the electronically timed *semi-continuously variable* shutter speeds. With aperture priority auto exposure, and full manual override capabilities with guiding LED indicators visible in the viewfinder, it's a camera that offers everything; easy snapping, and creative control. Just like the Contax, the shutter button employs a smooth electromagnetic release system, so the camera will not function without batteries installed.

According to Amateur Photographer's March 1981 Test Report, the average selling price was £142.00, presumably with a standard lens, which is not far short of an average week's UK wages at that time.

*I haven't been able to establish when production ceased, but I believe the FX-D was sold until 1983, prior to Kyocera acquiring Yashica/Contax in October of that year. Sadly, the FX-D was effectively the last Yashica. The FX-3 and FX-7 which preceded the FX-D were made by Cosina. New owner Kyocera, repositioned the brand towards budget photography with the later Chinese produced FX-3 Super/Super 2000 suffering from a cheaper parts, a more flimsy top and bottom plates, plus meter failure.

Amateur Photographer Test Report - March 1981




Lens mount: Contax/Yashica bayonet.

Yashica viewfinderFocus: Horizontal split-image spot, surrounded by a micro-prism collar and an outer matte field. 0.86x magnification shows 95% of picture area. Shutter speeds indicated by 16-indicator LEDs: correct exposure on AUTO; exposure selected on Manual; over and under exposure indications; special mark shows when flash is fully charged; battery check warning.

Shutter: Electronically controlled vertical-running, all-metal focal plane shutter. Quartz-timed speeds *semi-continuously variable* on AUTO from 1/1000th to 1 seconds. Manual shutter speeds from 1/1000 sec. to 1 sec + B. Self-timer with 10 sec. delay. LED flashes and audible warning device sounds during operation, accelerating 2 sec. before shutter release.

Meter: TTL, centre-weighted metering at full aperture using SPD (Silicon Photo Diode) cell.

Exposure: Aperture-preferred automatic exposure (LED matching type on Manual). +2 EV exposure compensation button. Setting AE lock lever locks in shutter speed in effect at time of setting.

Film Speed: 25 to 1600 ASA.

Flash: Standard X-synch hot shoe at 1/100.

Film Advance: Rapid advance lever; 130° setting angle; 20° standoff position.

Frame Counter: Automatic count-up and reset.

Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.

Size: 135 x 86 x 50mm (W x H x D).

Weight: 460g.

Battery: Two 1.5v LR44 type.


*Semi-continuously variable* ?

A variable is a quantity that may change (e.g. an aperture size or shutter speed).

A continuous variable does not have limits (e.g. 0 to ∞), yet all cameras have maximum and minimum shutter speeds, so these are NOT continuously variable.

Semi-continuous variables are variables that must take a value between their minimum and maximum potentials, so all continuously or infinitely variable shutters are in fact more correctly described as semi-continuously variable.



My Camera

I paid £12.50 for this camera, with a Yashica 50mm f2 ML lens (6 elements in 4 groups), in January 2014. While I generally prefer the look of chromed cameras, I opted for the black version because it better mirrors the Contax upon which the Yashica is based. I have a couple of lenses for this camera, which are shared with my Contax 137 MA and MD. They include: a Yashica MC 35-70mm f3.5-f4.5 zoom (11 elements in 8 groups), and a Yashica MC 75-200mm f4.5 macro zoom (13 elements in 9 groups).

My camera is in good cosmetic condition and full working order, however, like all Yashica/Contax cameras of the period, it required a new body covering. I fitted a red hide skin (not sure why I picked red?), courtesy of Aki-Asahi (note that the FX-D skins are very slightly oversized, and require about half a millimetre to be trimmed off the width of the back panel for a really good fit). I also replaced the light seals and mirror damper. The other common problem with FX-Ds is the plastic battery holder tends to get very chewed.

I really like the FX-D: definitely one of my favourite cameras. It may appear to have too many plastic parts, but the cameras seem to stand-up very well to normal use. The trade-off is that the FX-D is compact and light-weight. All the controls are easy to operate and ergonomically placed. It's relationship to Contax cameras is very apparent, and in my opinion it's better than the comparable yet far more popular Pentax ME Super. However, this (Yashica) gem of a camera doesn't command very high prices, making it inexpensive to replace should anything go wrong.

Click here for a detailed comparison of the Yashica FX-D and Pentax ME Super.



Yashica FX-D

Yashica FX-D

Yashica FX-D

Yashica zoom lenses


Yashica MC/ML lenses

MC (multi-coated) and ML (multi-layered) were the premium range of lenses for the serious photographer, while DSB lenses had single-coated optics.

The MC and ML designations are down to nothing more than a name change - for marketing reasons - and I believe the MLs came before the MCs. There are many more ML types than MCs, and
a) the Yashica FR (the first Yashica C/Y mount camera) was a system camera, so the majority of lens options should have been available at the outset, plus
b) the MCs are all zooms, but the first C/Y bayonet mount cameras would have been sold with a prime lens.

These were expensive lenses when first produced: the typical price of my two zooms was around £150. I paid £12.99 for the small zoom, and £10.50 for the bigger one.

From late 1949, the Tomioka Optical Company (Tokyo) became the exclusive lens supplier for Yashica, and in 1983, the company became part of the Kyocera ceramic group following its takeover of Yashica. Tomioka's origins date back to 1924, when optical products were designed and produced for the Japanese military and other industrial clients. After the war, the company supplied lenses to a number of Japanese camera makers. Tomioka was bought by Yashica in 1968, and made Carl Zeiss licensed optics for use with Contax cameras in the late 1970s.