The Yashica Electro 35 series cameras were extremely popular cameras in the 1960s and 1970s, which have stood the test of time quite well. The GS is a rather attractive camera with a great lens, and for better or for worse does get a bit of attention when it is brought out.
I recently took it to Pirates baseball game; photos will be added once I have a chance to get the film developed! Maybe its just any classic camera, but this thing definitely got noticed when I went through park security – comments from the guard about how he used to have one etc.
To take a picture, set the camera to auto, select an aperture (when in doubt start at f/8 when outside on a decently bright day), use the rangefinder in the viewer to compose and focus your view, depress the shutter half way, and adjust your aperture left or right as per the arrows in the viewfinder (or top) until nothing lights up. Then depress the shutter to take your picture. The battery check on the rear of the camera lights up a little bulb in the film counter window. As a result, it works both to check the battery and to tell what frame you are on when in low light situations. I actually found this handy a couple of times!
The camera has some nicely thought out features – such as the focus and aperture rings on the lens have different grip arrangements so that it is easy to tell what you are controlling just by feel – so you don’t have to look at the rings at all – once you get used to the camera.
This is one of those cameras which came to me before I was recording where and how I got new cameras – the only thing I remember is that it came as part of a lot of cameras.
What’s So Special?
This was among the first all electronic exposure cameras. The GS model is a solid performer with great optics, a solid design, easy to use and simple handling.
The Electro 35 GS is an extremely popular rangefinder today. These cameras age extremely well, are built solidly, and have a beautiful 45mm f/1.7 lens, much faster and higher quality than most other rangefinders of this vintage. It is a joy to use, and makes almost no noise when the shutter is released.
- Compact, quiet camera
- Bright easy to use rangefinder
- Auto exposure, aperture priority mode keeps things simple
- Under/over exposure lights appear both on top of the camera, and as lit arrows in the viewfinder
- Coupled rangefinder, outlines in viewfinder move and correct for parallax
- great viewfinder
- No shutter speed control
- Requires an adapter to use modern batteries – luckily this is a one time purchase
- Its a bit heavy – not too heavy
- Minor complaint – the viewfinder is at the extreme left edge of the camera. I’m used to SLRs with the viewfinder in the middle. When composing shots I keep having to correct how I hold the camera
- Manufacturer: Yashica
- Country of Origin: Japan
- Made in: Japan
- Introduced: 1970
- Camera Type: rangefinder
- Lens: 45mm f/1.7 coated Color Yashinon 6 elements
- Format: 35mm / 135
- How to access film: gently lift film rewind lever, button on the bottom released film so that the rewind crank can be used when entire roll is exposed
- Battery: Eveready TR164/E164, Mallory TR164, National HM-4N, Duracell PX32A, Yashica Guy makes an adapter so that you can use a common 6V 28L battery.
- How to access battery: unscrew
- Dimensions (cm):
- Serial: 01209536
- Eyecup: na
- Strap: eyelet mounts require a strap with rings
- Wikipedia article on the Electro 35 Series
- Vintage Camera Lab review and photos
- Mike Eckman review
- Classic Camera DB review
- Shot on Film review