Introduced in 1966, the original Electro 35 began Japanese camera maker Yashica's successful line of 35 mm rangefinder cameras with fixed Yashinon lenses. It had an aperture priority exposure, step-less automatic shutter, a "cold accessory shoe," and a parallax-corrected viewfinder. Accepted film speeds were from 12 ISO to 400 ISO, while shutter speeds go from 30 seconds to 1/500. Light levels were measured by a meter with cadmium sulfide (CdS) photoresistor and powered by a mercury battery. It also has a set of Magic Lamps that indicate over-exposure and underexposure, which made it the first 35mm camera to have accurate warning lamps.
Over the years, Yashica introduced upgrades and cosmetic changes to the original model. The Electro 35 G, introduced in 1968, accommodated film speeds extended to 500 ISO and had the lens labeled with "Color Yashinon" to ensure that it was color corrected. The Electro 35 GS (satin chrome) and GT (black) were introduced in 1970 and boasted of gold-plated internal electrical contacts (to prevent oxidation) and film speed range of 25 ISO to 1000 ISO. Finally, the Electro 35 GSN (satin chrome) and GTN (black) was released in 1973 and sported a hot shoe while keeping the PC socket.
The impressively fast f/1.7 45 mm Yashinon lens, quiet Copal leaf shutter, and sturdy build are just some of the qualities that make the Electro 35 line of rangefinder popular options among film photographers to this day.
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Technical Specifications (for Electro 35 G, GS/GT, and GSN/GTN models only)
Lens: COLOR-YASHINON DX f/1.7 45 mm; 6 elements in 4 groups, stops down to f/16.
Shutter: Electronic shutter with an infinite range of speeds from l/500 sec. to 30 seconds; B setting; built-in self-timer; M and X sync; shutter release lock; automatic setting
Focusing: Coupled range/viewfinder focusing; 0.8 meters (2’6”) to infinity; bright frame with automatic parallax compensation
Exposure Control: Solid-state “Electronic Brain” controls the electronic shutter according to light intensity measured by the CdS sensor; precise shutter speed for correct exposure in any light is determined and set AUTOMATICALLY; exposure symbols for easy selection of aperture, arrows warn against overexposure and signal slow shutter speed and advisability of using a tripod; ASA / ISO range varies with model from 25 to 1000.
Original power source: Mercury 5.6 V Mallory TR164, Eveready E164.