Yashica introduced the model 44 in 1958 as Japan’s first 4×4 TLR.. The camera was offered in several color options, but the gray version (no doubt inspired by the gray Baby Rolleiflex of 1957) proved to be the most popular.
The Yashica 44 features crank film advance, with automatic frame spacing after the user aligns frame number “1” in a red window. The shutter is cocked manually with a lever on the shutter itself, however, and there is no interlock to prevent double-exposures. The Copal SV shutter has speeds from 1 to 1/500 second plus ‘B’, and switchable ‘M’ and ‘X’ synchronisation, with a PC socket. The lens is a 3-element Yashikor 60mm f/3.5. There is a standard bayonet mount for lens attachments; a hood, filters and close-up lens pairs were available. A metal lens-cap, hinged in the middle, attaches to the upper bayonet.