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Yashica Electro 35: Silent, Sharp, and Shiny

A large aperture fixed-lens rangefinder, Yashica Electo 35 is an aperture-priority camera with a very good and accurate meter. Not only will it give sharp, detailed images it will give them consistently and but silently making it a perfect street shooter.

There are many reviews of this camera up on this site already, so why am I doing one? Most of the reviews are very similar praising the camera and its lens, I actually dont like the camera and sold it in this review you will find out why I did so.

After selling stupidly my FED 4, I set to ebay looking for a replacement, I came across a mint Yashica Electro 35 for £20 so snapped it up, I had heard many great things about the camera. When it arrived it was literally like new. I picked up a battery which have to be fitted by padding the battery compartment with tin foil. To my joy the camera was fully working and appeared to function correctly.

Here is an image of the Yashica Electro 35, and actually the one I used when I sold it on eBay.

The camera itself is aperture priority only, and has a very simple meter system, where a light on the back of the camera telling you whether at the set aperture will be under or over exposed and you adjust the aperture accordingly. The camera is equipped with a fantastic yashinon 45mm f/.1.7, the only other thing to speak of is the cold shoe, later models had hot shoes.

Anyway, I loaded the camera with a roll Neopan 1600 and went on a walk with my girlfriend and her family, it was actually a sunny day, so I rated the film at 400 and then developed accordingly.

We went on a walk in Austwick a small Village in the North Yorkshire, England.

Here are some results from that day:

As you can see the images are very sharp and consistent, also the tones are very nice.

After reading what I have said so far you may be thinking “why do you dislike the camera and why did you sell it?” Well, I have a number of things to mention as to why I dislike it. Firstly, there is basically no control with this camera, the only thing you can use to change exposure is ISO. Personally, with a rangefinder camera I like to set everything myself. Second is the build quality: the camera doesn’t feel solid at all. The top plate is hollow, and the metal parts on the camera don’t match—parts of it are chrome and others are brushed.

I also got one of the earlier ones which were built in Japan, which are supposedly better built so I dread to think what the later Hong Kong made ones are like. Thirdly, the grip of the camera is very awkward and the lens is to far to the side. Fourthly, the camera suffers from what is known as the pad of death, so the camera will inevitably one day die. Finally, the size—the camera is very large and is basically the same size as an SLR.

After iI sold my Yashica Electro 35 I got a camera I’ve wanted for ages: a Kiev 4. It’s a much better camera than the Electro 35 and the FED 4 I initially sold. I will hopefully have a review of it up soon.

Thanks for reading, keep shooting!

written by brandkow93

9 comments

  1. chib3h

    chib3h

    @brandkow93 whats the pad of death?? ._. It's the first time I've heard of it... Great article by the way ^^

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. gvelasco

    gvelasco

    @brandkow93 Nice article.

    @chib3h "Pad of Death" affects some cameras that have parts in them that spring back into position when you advance the film or reset the shutter. To make them quieter and to help the small metal parts last longer, they install rubber bumpers or "pads" for the metal parts to bounce against. On some cameras, like the Yashica Electro 35s, the pads can wear out or simply disintegrate with age. Some cameras can keep working with worn out pads. They just get noisier. Some cameras, like the Electro 35, develop problems like not resetting properly. I don't know if this is the case for all the Electro 35s or just some like the first ones or maybe just the Chinese ones. In either case, it's very difficult, or impossible to fix.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. bloomchen

    bloomchen

    i want to test this camera myself because there is one on my shelf. i didn't use it yet because of the batteries missing and the hard to find and expensive batteries that would fit instead of those original ones not produced anymore. your pic shows you obviously used a "normal" battery. it would be great if you would tell which one because i can't tell from the pic and how you fixed it. btw i have a 35FC but i think but i'm not sure the batteries are the same. thanks.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. stouf

    stouf

    @bloomchen http://www.ebay.com/(…)197.c0.m627
    I have the transparent ones, and I'm happy with it. Nice review !

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. brandkow93

    brandkow93

    @chib3h pad of death is exactly what gvelasco said and it is preent on all of the yashica electros, i mainly messes with the metering which is vital with a camera like this and it can eventually stop the shutter from firing.

    @bloomchen it uses a A544/4lr44 battery and then you use the kit stouf linked to.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. bear1973

    bear1973

    I have one of these and it is awesome. I got it in a bargain of a lifetime. $12 in a thrift store and it works great. i would pay ten times that amount now, knowing how good a camera it is.

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. chilledvondub

    chilledvondub

    shame it wasn't a bit more compact as it looks nice :)

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. i_so_bel

    i_so_bel

    It's kinda heavy too. Haha. And since my Yashica's view finder is not that clear, It is hard for me to get the focus right sometimes. But it does the job...and sometimes even greater. =)
    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. rbruce63

    rbruce63

    It was my first camera, given to me by dad in 1979. After decades of use and good pictures, the camera went into disrepair. It couldn't be fixed in Costa Rica. I became an SLR user and didn't look back until last year that I found her and with the aid of Flickr and Lomo magazines I found CameraRefurb.com where I had it overhauled! It is now my secondary camera and I am shooting color and black and white. Ilford hp5. I have a couple of EIR rolls!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Italiano, 한국어, ภาษาไทย, 中文(简体版) & 中文(繁體版).