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The Yashica J-3 is a 35mm film SLR camera introduced in late 1962. It was an update of the Penta J, but incorporating a more conventional top shutter release and introducing a semi-coupled CdS light meter as a feature incorporated into the camera rather than using add-on light meters. This arrangement is very similar in layout to the contemporary Minolta SR-7, with the light meter placed on the left side of the body and measurements taken through a small bull's-eye lens (not through the primary camera lens). The Minolta SR-7 is rightfully credited as being the first 35mm SLR with built-in CdS metering, but the J-3 was not far behind, being released just a few months after the Minolta. The J-3 meter includes high and low measuring ranges, and the user manually transfers the suggested aperture setting to the lens. The meter is powered by a mercury battery.
The J-3 uses an M42 lens mount, with an aperture actuation mechanism that supports the use of semi-automatic aperture lenses, also known as pre-set lenses. This aperture system requires the photographer to manually cock a lever on the lens, separate from the shutter winding lever, to open the aperture of the lens to maximum aperture for the purposes of focusing more easily. When the shutter is released the camera triggers the aperture to stop down to working aperture, where it remains until manually cocked again for the next photo.
The J-3 retained the cloth focal plane shutter, with speeds from 1/2 to 1/500 second, and the two flash sync ports of the Penta J. The J-3 included a new self-timer lever on the face of the camera body.
The J-3 was succeeded by the J-5 the following year.