Yashica Electro 35 GSN

The Yashica Electro 35 was a very popular rangefinder camera produced between 1966 and 1977. The Electro 35 was one of the best selling consumer cameras of the 60’s and 70’s. Even Peter Parker used one when he worked for the Daily Bugle. They sold 8 million of the things, it was the family camera for a great many families. They sold for $100, even when you adjust for 2021 inflation they are half the price of an entry level Nikon and kit lens on Amazon. They’re still pretty cheap, you can find them online and out in the wild for $50 in pretty good working order, though they’ll probably need new light seals. I think all vintage rangefinders need the light seals replaced, at least every one I’ve ever bought.

I’ve had this one for awhile, I’ve put a few rolls of film through it, I’ve even bought one as a gift for my brother, but I still feel kinda lukewarm on it. There’s nothing wrong with the camera, and I can confirm it takes as fine a photo as any old camera. It’s a pretty good looking camera, it has a strong lens going for it and there are an awful lot of them up for grabs that still perform quite well, Yet, this camera never really seemed to catch that “wow” factor for me.

Probably because I’m an SLR guy. I’ve had a number of very fine rangefinder cameras that I still only feel lukewarm about (though I am perhaps a bit more than lukewarm over my Konica Auto S3, that one is pretty neat). Also, there is no manual setting. The Yashica Electro 35 only shoots in aperture priority. You wouldn’t think this would be a problem for me, as I shoot aperture priority 80% of the time. You set the aperture, then press halfway on the shutter release button and a little arrow will tell you if it’s too slow or too fast… however on both the Electros I’ve tested the arrow seem to be a little short-circuity, kinda flicker and buzz a little, and I’m not 100% sure it’s even setting the speed right, but then all my photos came out fine, so I have no reason to doubt this weird finicky buzzy flickery arrow system.

Maybe it’s just like a lot of things, you will be presented with something that’s just fine, but somehow there is just no chemistry between you and your something. I’m still planning to give this machine another few rolls of film to eat up and enjoy, not done with it yet, but I will likely give it away one day.