Monday 6 January 2014

Yashica Electro 35 GTN

Couple days ago, just before the New Year eve, I was sitting home browsing photo galleries, reading gear reviews, checking sales sites and contemplating about my own photography. Do I need all these new digital toys or should I go back to basics and use good ol' film more often?  Digital vs. film is my typical year-end dilemma/question :) I was on the local Graigslist when spotted this beauty:

Well regarded Yashica Electro 35 GTN for $30. A perfect sign that I need to shoot film more often in 2014! Obviously I called the seller immediately and picked it up next morning.
To my surprise the camera came with additional wide (37.7mm)  and tele (58.4mm) adapters

Both are huge and I am not sure if I will ever use them, but who knows. It is nice addition to my collection anyway:) 

Yashica Electro 35 is an old coupled-rangefinder but still very popular among the film enthusiasts. This particular model is from early 70s and made in Japan (some other models were made in Hong Kong, not sure if it makes any difference).

It was inexpensive but pretty advanced for its time, the first camera with electronic automatic exposure albeit Aperture priority mode only (no M or P or S). You can't set the shutter speed manually and you don't know what speed was selected by the camera:) But the yellow light is up when the speed is below1/30 and the red light is up if required speed is above 1/500 (upper limit). There are plenty resources on the web to find more about various models, specs, and camera operation. But I was interested in this particular camera not because of its "advance auto exposure" but because of :
  • Fast COLOR-YASHINON DX 45/1.7 lens. According to some internet resources it was made by legendary Tomioka (!)
  • Very quiet Copal stepless leaf shutter, 30 sec - 1/500, B. Flash sync at all speeds
  • Excellent bright viewfinder with auto-paralax correction
  • Cool look and its "cult" status:)
The camera didn't have the battery and I wasn't sure if it works (without the battery the shutter fires only at 1/500) until I brought it back home.

Originally Yashica was powered by 5.6v PX32 mercury batteries, discontinued long time ago. I found that 6v 4LR44 battery can do the trick, but requires an adapter because of the smaller size.  You can buy a very well made adapter from the The Yashica Guy or, thanks to The Learning Lensman, you can make your own.  All you need is 4LR44 (aka PX28A, A544) battery, scissors, small piece of cardboard (roughly 70mm x 35mm), tape and aluminum foil.

I wrapped the battery in the cardboard (like a tube), taped over and filled free space on top of the tube (where the battery + sign) with crumpled aluminum foil.

Put it back and…the camera is alive again!

The shutter fires at all speeds and warning lights kick-in as designed, but I am not sure if the light meter is still accurate though.

Yashica Electro 35 seems a very fine camera and pleasure to use but I have to shoot a roll or two to find out if she can do the magic as stated by numerous "cult" followers raving reports:) 



  1. You seriously need to try the old fashioned way!
    - I have done so for about a year now, and it makes you think so much more about your photograph!
    Some of my best photos in my portfolio is taken with an old film camera :)
    DO IT.

    1. I've never stopped the old fashion way :) Still shooting film on a regular basis


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