Today’s Analog Device: Yashica Electro 35 GS

Today’s analog device is a camera from our own collection: the classic analog rangefinder camera Yashica Electro 35 GS.

Will this camera be my go-to street photography camera?

I have bought this particular camera back in 2015, just based on her look. I am still in love with the look of this camera. It might be the rounded edges but somehow this camera attracts me a lot. Before taking a single shot I did a little research on Google to see what I can expect; pad of death, discontinued batteries, and spiderman. I never used this camera before and I wasn’t sure if my particular camera would have one of the known Electro 35 issues or if there would be any light leaks, even.

(FYI: At the moment there are two of these beauties in our collection; the Electro 35 GS and the Electro 35 GSN.)

Pad Of Death

No it is not a lost movie of my childhood hero Bruce Lee. Pad of Death is a particular problem with some of the Yashica electro 35. It comes down to the camera not advancing the film roll and not having a “Clunk” sound.
I won’t even try to explain how to fix this problem as there are great explanation/tutorials online, like How to fix Yashica Electro 35 Pad Of Death
The only thing i did was to listen to a sound when advancing the film, and yes i am hearing some kind of “Clunk, Glunk”. Next issue the battery.

Frankenstein Battery
When using vintage cameras you might come across the “where can i buy this part / how do i fix this” issue. As is the case with finding an original battery for the Electro 35 – a discontinued battery – 5.6v PX32. Left battery on this photo is what an original Electro 35 battery looks like:

But luckily for us, there are a couple of solutions;

(src: Battery Adapter for Yashica GSN)

(src: Mike Eckman )


(src: vkphotoblog.blogspot)

  • people like Yashica Guy make a battery adapter
  • you can get creative with tape
  • you can do like i did and just stack a CR123 and 2 LR44 batteries on top of each other and make your first “Frankenstein battery”

I opt for the latter “Frankenstein battery” and in my opinion simplest solution just stack 1x CR 123A + 2x LR44. Just be aware the original px32 is a 5.6v battery. My 3 batteries are equal to 6v (= 3v + 2x 1.5v)

Notice also in photo 2, how the batteries are stacked. The + sign of the CR 123A battery is pointing towards you!

Click or Not

Now that you got your camera battery working (there is a neat little battery check button on the back of the camera and a green light will flash on the right side of your camera), you are able to use the “light meter option”. It works quite simple but not as any other camera I own. By half-pressing the shutter button you might see a Yellow arrow and Red arrow lightening up in the viewfinder or on top of the Electro 35.
Yellow = underexposed -> turn aperture to the left -> more light needed
Red = overexposed -> turn aperture to the right -> less light needed

Zone Focusing
Something I totally forgot to do while using this camera on the streets. I will update this review as soon as I or some else have tried zone focusing with this camera.

The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

Well, I guess the director or screenplay writer also felt in love with the look of this camera. But what I remember (yes I am also vintage); the camera, spiderman used to use in the Marvel comics looked more like a Nikon or Leica.

(src: Marvel Wiki)

Poor Man’s Leica

Nah, not every rangefinder is a poor man’s Leica. Came across a couple of blog posts stating the Yashica Electro 35 is a poor man’s Leica, but i won’t agree. The Yashica Electro 35 GS is a 35mm rangefinder camera and that’s about it for comparison with a Leica****

What’s a rangefinder you might ask?

On the streets

Ok, when I went out with the Yashica and i felt a bit weird. I had the camera around my neck and it felt quite heavy. Walking around didn’t feel OK and compared to any of my other point-and-shoot camera (Olympus mju II, Yashica T4, Yashica T5) stealth mode with this camera a NO-NO.
But it looks cool and two persons came up to me to say they really liked my camera. Focussing and trying to align the 2 diamonds took me a while to get used too.

Sounds

Let’s listen closely to our Yashica Electro

 

My Yashica Electro 35 GS likes:

  • stellar looking camera
  • camera with a lot of character
  • shutter sounds is quit silent
  • great for testing/doing zone focussing
  • great 1.7 lens

My Yashica Electro 35 GS dislikes:

  • too big and heavy for my day-by-day streetphotography
  • not a point and shoot
  • found difficult to shoot moving people (or objects)

My conclusion so far, the Yashica Electro 35 wouldn’t be my day-by-day shooter but when i am going to a fashion week to shoot me some streetwear the Yashica will certainly be one of my filmcamera’s to take with me.

Here are some snapshots (will be updated with compositioned photos)

Other, more technical and usable Yashica Electro 35 reviews:

 

Link to the Electro 35 GS manual (src: butkus.org who else?):
Manual for the Yashica 35 GS camera by Butkus

*disclaimer: my reviews aren’t technical or technical correct. Reviews are just my take on a particular (analog) camera. It’s very subjective and might even offend some of you, my apologies in advance

**disclaimer: language, as English isn’t my mother language i will make a lot of (spelling) mistakes

***disclaimer: i have/had a serious case of G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

****Note 2 self: One day i will shoot with my own Leica camera FYI: As of May 2020 I am the proud owner of a Leica M2 😉

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