My Obsession with the Electro 35 series of cameras
This post is half an homage to the Yashica Electro 35 Rangefinder film camera, and half an homage to Todd McLellan and his disassembly series.
I have a little bit of history with the Electro 35. I first knew I wanted one when I saw it on the Lomography website. But as most people who browse eBay or even had one of these cameras know that they were selling them off at inflated prices. I decided to get one from eBay but because of their sudden surge in popularity (thank you very much Lomography!) you could no longer get a working one for £10-20. Average auctions at the time were ending at £100 plus. But like anything if you do a little research you can get it much cheaper.
Enter Flickr. Back when Flickr was much easier to use, it was pretty much the leader of image sharing and discussing things in groups. Flickr did and still has groups dedicated to certain cameras. These are fantastic as you really can learn new techniques and find all sorts of new constantly updating information in abundance. Unfortunately Flickr changed their whole layout and I’m more often than not put off by its unstructured layout and options. I guess they did it to tie in with the wave of affordable touch tablets available and mimicked a sort of Windows 8 interface. Anyway I digress! After finding a Flickr group dedicated to Yashica Electro 35 cameras I became obsessed.
I left a “wanted” post and manage to buy one for £50 posted. I was new to photography at the time and just loved (and still do) the way film looks. I also had a Pentax ME Super which was a little more consistent in results, but I got a roll back from my Electro 35 and just loved it!
Going back around 5 years ago, there was a power cut at my parents house. I always remember it because my Dad, who religiously reads books in his shed, carried on by candle light with a bottle of beer. I decided to take a snap and knew I’d use this camera in low light scenarios:
Over the years not only did I like taking photos with the Yashica, but I wanted to get my hands on every model which included:
Yashica Electro 35, Yashica Electro 35 G, Yashica Electro 35 GS, Yashica Electro 35 GT, Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Yashica Electro 35 GTN. All of these pretty much were upgrades ending the with the GSN and GTN, which were the same but different colours.
Then there were the compact versions. The GX, which was much smaller with a different 40mm lens, and the CC with a wider 35mm lens. There were even more models like the GL and FC and also a special edition “Professional” model.
Now I’ve pretty much had my hands on every model but not for collectors purposes, I loved to take them apart, try (and sometimes fail) to fix them and give them new leather covers.
In short this is a brilliant camera that has often been referred to as the “poor mans Leica”. More in depth info at Ken Rockwell.
The disassembly of a Yashica Electro 35 Film Camera.
Ok, so the story of this is that I wanted a poster of a camera that’s been taken apart. I first saw this done by Todd McLellan who did it with a Pentax Spotmatic. I checked to see if it was available to buy but it seems Todd only ever did a limited print run of these, so I decided I’d do my own version but with a camera that had more relevance to myself. Enter a Yashica Electro 35! Now I wasn’t going to ruin a perfectly good working one so I bought one listed as “Spares/Repairs” on eBay, and decided to take it apart. Now, my version I accept doesn’t hold a candle to Todd’s work as he seems to literally have taken his to pieces. After dismantling mine for a few hours and a few cut fingers, I decided to only take it apart by about 95 percent. This camera was old and some of the screws were almost fused in there! Anyway, if your interested in what I used, then search on eBay for a “lens spanner”. Some of the work won’t be able to be done using screwdrivers, no matter how small they are.
Here is the finished image, followed by a time lapse video of me struggling to take it apart!