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Yashica J-P 35mm slr camera

The Yashica J-P is a 35 mm single lens reflex camera which according to camera wiki was made in about 1964, and was a modified version of an earlier camera, the Penta J.

Yashica J-P Images

My Yashica J-P Camera

I added this camera to my collection because it was being sold quite cheaply as not working, but I thought I knew what was wrong with it. On the pictures I could see that the self-timer was angled down, so when the description said, 'shutter stuck', I assumed it was the self-timer that was frozen, and it should be a relatively easy fix to get working again.

As it turned out, when I received the camera, it wasn't a straight forward fix at all.

When I received the camera the mirror was in the up position and the film advance lever was locked. Sure enough, the self-timer lever was at an angle, but when I pressed the start button it ran down without a problem and the film advance lever was still locked.

My next move was to remove the top cover and have a look at the film advance mechanism, but there wasn't anything obviously stopping the film advance from turning, so the most likely reason was that the shutter was simply locked mid-cycle and needed to complete.

After a few minutes working out how the mechanism worked I found that the shutter release bar was stuck on the downward part of its travel and with a bit of poking and pulling I managed to get it to return, and the mirror dropped, and the shutter completed its travel. I could then advance the film again, but the whole shutter assembly was very sticky and difficult to get moving. It was then that I discovered that there was only one shutter curtain moving when the camera was operated.

I opened the back of the camera and found that one of the ribbons which attach the shutter curtains to their rollers was poking out of the back of the shutter. So my simple repair job is now actually probably the most advanced repair I've ever done because I will need to release the tension on the curtain, re-attach the curtain to the roller, re-tension the shutter and then make sure it's all working. Still, it sounds like an interesting repair.

Yashica J-P Description

The Yashica J-P is a basic 35 mm SLR camera of typical design for the time it was made in the early 1960s. It's a fully mechanical, fully manual camera with no exposure meter, auto aperture, split-level focusing aid etc.

Although there is no in-built exposure meter, it was possible to buy an optional exposure meter which clipped on to the camera body and coupled to the camera's shutter speed dial. This made the exposure meter semi-coupled - only the aperture reading needed to be transferred to the camera after the reading had been taken.

The shutter button is fitted to the front panel of the camera which may seem to be an odd place to put it, but normally this was done, so the camera could use a lens with a stop-down button which coupled to the shutter.

The Miranda D I own has one of these lenses, and you can see how it works with that camera.  The basic principle is that the button on the lens is used to press the camera shutter and as the lens button is pressed the aperture is stopped down to the set value. This allows the photographer to compose and focus the camera at maximum brightness, but have the correct aperture set at the time of exposure. Later, of course, auto aperture mechanisms replaced this sort of arrangement.

The lens fitted to my example is an M42 mount Yashinon f/2.8 lens with pre-set aperture. Pre-set was another mechanism used in the early 1960s to allow photographers to use full aperture until exposure time. In this case the lens aperture is set, but the actual blades don't close until the pre-set ring is turned. So the photographer can set the exposure correctly, focus and compose and then turn the pre-set ring to its full travel and take the picture.

Being M42  means the camera could accept a large range of lenses made by both Yashica and lots of third party lens manufacturers.

The shutter is a horizontal travel cloth shutter with a range of speeds from 1/2 sec to 1/500sec. Although today that seems to be quite limited, in the early 1960s it was normal for film to be in the range of 32 to 125 ASA with a really fast film being perhaps 400 ASA. This made the 1/500sec quite fast enough for the majority of people.

I hope I manage to get the shutter on this camera working again because it's a nice looking camera and would be a useful addition to my collection.

Yashica J-P Specifications

  • Yashica J-P 35mm manual slr camera
  • Horizontal cloth shutter offering 1/2sec to 1/500sec + B
  • Optional exposure meter coupled to shutter dial
  • Front mounted shutter release with cable threading
  • Mechanical self timer
  • X & FP sync sockets
  • Optional flash shoe fitted
  • 50mm f/2.8 M42 Yashinon lens
  • Tripod bush
  • Central microprism focusing circle and Fresnel screen
  • Auto reset frame counter
  • Body Serial No: 4514837
  • Lens Serial No: 600248
  • The manual can be downloaded from here.

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