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Yashica Electro 35 GSN: The Night Owl

The Yashica Electro GSN is a 35mm Rangefinder Journalist-style camera, or what I call the "Night Owl" Rangefinder. It's as near as I will get to a Leica for the next couple years.

“I need to have a rangefinder,” a thought went through my mind one late night in August. The Yashica Electro 35 GSN is one. A cheap one indeed, although with a very sharp contrasting lens.

When I got a second-hand unit from the Internet, it was the first camera I disassembled myself! You have to know that this baby comes with some quirks: When cocking the shutter you have to hear a loud “CLONK.” Inside is a small rubber pad and time may have destroyed it if you only hear a “pling.” The rubber material preventing light leaks can (like with many 70’s and 80’s cameras) became disintegrated. I removed it with alcohol and replaced it with foamed rubber from the DIY store.

Like most old rangefinder cameras, the viewfinder of my GSN needed cleaning. But don’t be discouraged by all of that; the web offers a variety of repair manuals and you can’t get a better rangefinder camera for such little money.

The basic technical details:

  • 35mm
  • Aperture Priority
  • f:16 — f: 1.7
  • 1/30 sec — 1/500 sec
  • 1:1.7

That’s why I called it the “Night Owl” in the beginning. It’s one of the things that make the Yashica Electro GSN interesting for Lomographers: You can capture low light situations without flash, keeping the natural atmosphere. Plus, the aperture priority lets you keep control over the depth of field.

I mostly use my GSN in low light situations like dusk and dawn, and also for taking photos of artificially-lit scenes indoors and outdoors. I also use it as a point and shoot camera for street photography.

Probably the GSN could be an addition to your collection? Give me a note or two about your experience if you get hooked too!

Cheers!

written by zark and translated by zark

26 comments

  1. superlighter

    superlighter

    I love this camera!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. traaaart

    traaaart

    i just got my battery in the mail for a GSN i found at a store for $40, cant wait to try it out!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. clownshoes

    clownshoes

    Great find

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. neanderthalis

    neanderthalis

    Nice report :D

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    Best battery source = www.zbattery.com Part # tr164a, = Excell PC164a, = PX32a

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. wuxiong

    wuxiong

    Nice review. I especially like the somee of the pics when the DOF is shallow and get a sort of selective focus, That is the result of aperture priority... great...<:)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. awitee

    awitee

    damn it! im actually thinking of buying one because of this article! :D
    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. zark

    zark

    You can get excellent adapters for most Yashica Rangefinders from Yashica Guy: http://www.yashica-g(…)attery.html @herbert-4, @traaaart

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. freelancer

    freelancer

    a fast little sexy thing ;-)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. freelancer

    freelancer

    btw....: "You can use a more common, smaller (170 mAH lithium, 150 mAh alkaline) PX28 if you jam in an extra spring and wrap the smaller battery in something to keep it centered in the Electro 35's larger battery hole." quote (http://www.kenrockwe(…)ctro-35.htm)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. pesoto74

    Probably the most camera you can get for the money.
    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. kiri-girl

    kiri-girl

    Great photos!! I love yashicas... I feel like some of my favorite shots I've taken is with a Yashica Minister III, unfortunately I had to give it back to my friend. It is now on my wish list.

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. iandevlinphoto

    iandevlinphoto

    i am waiting on my new battery coming through the post but im in love with mine :)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. iandevlinphoto

    iandevlinphoto

    i am waiting on my new battery coming through the post but im in love with mine :)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  15. iandevlinphoto

    iandevlinphoto

    i am waiting on my new battery coming through the post but im in love with mine :)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. feeqajamal

    feeqajamal

    i got one last year and so far i tried it out with two rolls of films but nothing turned up! the rolls are like new and i still can't figure out what's wrong with the camera. help? :(

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. mapix

    mapix

    got 2 Canonet QL17/GIII which is a vera similar rangfinder - but both with seious trasport problem (also first time i disassembled) perhaps i really should try the GSM... thanks for the review!!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. thomas-matthew-wood

    thomas-matthew-wood

    Gorgeous images. :)

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. iandevlinphoto

    iandevlinphoto

    Battery is here you've inspired me to take it back out the cupboard and shoot xmas on it :)

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. flying_lotus

    flying_lotus

    I absolutely love this camera, it makes such amazingly sharp pictures!! Mine broke down after carying it in a backpack for 2 months ... definitely not a travel camera :P @feeqajamal : If the self-timer lever is not all the way up (it may be stuck half-way), this will prevent the shutter from releasing.
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  21. tbyrdc

    I am bidding on one on Ebay, so wish me luck everyone :)
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  22. jdestro970

    i think i need this camera in my life, by the reviews it sounds amazing!
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  23. feeqajamal

    feeqajamal

    @flying_lotus : thanks! i checked and it is all the way up. shutter works fine too, can see and hear the clicks. still can't figure out what's wrong though. :/

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  24. highdesertdan

    highdesertdan

    I got a Yashica Electro 35 from a friend in Japan who got it for free because it was debatable if it worked or how well (because it was soooo old). I found Mark Hama, who worked in the Japanese Yashica factory in the 60s, and now lives in Georgia. I sent him my camera and he said he can make almost any Electro like new for $140. When I got my Electro back from Mark, I ran a roll of Fuji Velvia 50 through it and I was blown away how accurate the auto function was, even indoors. (check my Sedona album) http://www.markhama.com/ <- I couldn't be happier with this guy. The Electro 35 is an amazing machine.

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  25. ajagee24701

    ajagee24701

    They are great cameras!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  26. bartian

    bartian

    I use this one as my primary camera now ,,, really like it :-)

    6 months ago · report as spam

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The original version of this article is written in: Deutsch. It is also available in: Nederlands.