yashica electro 35 GX - lens quality + price

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by bacsa, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. Hi. Just wanted to ask, how does the 40mm f/1.7 "color yashinon DX"
    (stupid name, isn't it?) lens of the yashica electro 35 GX
    rangefinder compare to others in this style/category with fast lens
    (canonet ql 17, minolta hi-matic, olympus, konica, 45mm/1.7 and 1.4
    yashinons on other yashica rf's etc...) Especially wide open or up
    to f/2.8 . I'm not asking about MTF graphs or official test reports,
    but for your personal experience about the overall satisfaction with
    respect to the lens

    Also, what do you think a fair price would be for it, if it's clean
    and everything works okay?

    I know that there are better rf's with fast lenses but this is what
    I could buy now, relatively cheap and safe. So please don't suggest
    buying a leica.

    Thanks! and have a good light today.
  2. Go ahead and buy the Yashica it's a good camera (provided you find one
    in fair>good condition). I bought mine off e-bay to carry in the truck
    for grab shots and it's been fine camera for that and more. My Canon
    Ql17 focuses faster but only by a bit and not by enough to make it
    better than my Yashica by any means. Overall I like the Yashica a lot.
    Look on e-bay to get a feel for a fair price for whatever you buy.
  3. They are fine. I've had one for years and years, and they take excellent photos...particularly outdoors with ASA 100 or ASA 200 film. As for the price, I suppose it depends on how nice and what has been done to the camera. Here are two things that need attention in almost every one I run across: Light seals need replacing (they are always bad), and the viewfinder is foggy (not too difficult to clean). If you need light seals, I can send a kit for $6 to the USA and $6.80 to anywhere in the world that will re-seal as many as 6 of these cameras with ease. To see it, please go to E-Bay and search "by seller". Enter my ID...Interslice, and there it will be. As for the viewfinder cleaning, there are sites on the internet (Yashicaguy, for one) that deal with that. Otherwise, go right ahead and get one. I think you'll find the picture quality in with the Canonet, Minolta Hi-Matic for sure...not quite the quality of the Konica Auto S2, in my opinion, though. If you want to buy one that has been cleaned and resealed (with leather case), please let me know. I have one I've been meaning to put on E-Bay, but just haven't yet.

  4. I shot for a while with a predecessor to the Electro 35 GX when I was a kid. It took good, sharp photos. And this was at a stage in my development as a photographer that I could tell the difference - I'd also used a borrowed Pentax Spotmatic and Yashica Mat 124 (pre-G model).

    Only reason I've passed on buying one recently is the size - it's among the largest of the consumer grade fixed lens RFs. But it's no monster, either.

    BTW, if you decided to pop the top plate to clean inside, DO NOT try to removed the yellowing. That's not age. Yashica deliberately designed the viewfinder to be contrastier at some cost to brightness. It works, especially in dim lighting.

    If you get one watch out you don't get hooked and start desperately fishing around the world for the accessories mated to the Electro 35 GX, such as the wide angle and tele adapters, etc.
  5. I took my Electro35GX on a vacation last year (I had it with me the year before but the film got lost in the lab). It's a nice allrounder, with a very accurate light meter and a very decent lens. Different to most other rangefinders of this age it still has a DOF scale. I did not miss speed control very much since I mostly shoot landscapes and outdoors. And it even took nice pics inside churches with several seconds exposure (pressed firmly against the wall).

    As mentioned by others, the viewfinder is a bit dim due to the choice of mirror material. On the other hand the rangefinder spot is much better visible than on many other cameras.

    Usually they sell quite expensive due to their rarity. Fortunately they are much less prone to defects as the older 35G models. It does not have the notorious pad in the release mechanism, and its build quality is much better. It's a bit bigger than the Canonets etc but it is worth reserving some space.

    The accessories for this camera are hard to find, I once ran across a tele aux lens which probably was made for this camera (or the ElectroM5, I am not sure), and I have seen close up adaptors selling for astromonical prices.
  6. Thanks for the advices; so it seems, overally there's a positive oppinion about this fangerinder.
    Walt, what do you mean by "faster focusing" canon? Is the ql17's lens with USM motor? :) Seriously, you mean you have to turn less for the same amount of distance step, or you mean it's easier to find the perfect focus through the rf ?
    Jon, what do you plan to ask for your GX? Forget it, i'll send you an e-mail about it.
    Lex, Winfried, yes i've just seen one on e-bay with tele and wide accessories... crazy! I will not get hooked since i consider buying it for its size(?), simplicity and quality for occasional low-light shots and abusive environment:).
    BTW, i've read the manuals on the web, but it's still not clear: do I lock the exposure settings by pressing half-way the shutter or I just activate the meter? Because, if I lock it, i can live with the aperture-priority-only "feature" of it.
  7. Unfortuately there is no way to lock the light meter on the Electro35 cameras. They do not have a mechanical needle trap mechanism like the Canonet etc. They even respond to light changes during exposure - a feature well praised by Olympus when they introduced light metering on the film plane.

    Pressing the release button simply activates the meter.

    There are very few cameras indicating the automatically selected shutter speed in the viewfinder, such as the Zeiss-Ikon S310/S312, VoigtlaenderVF101 and Agfa Selectronic. But they also do not have any possiblitity to lock the light meter. For backlighting shots I put my finger partially over the CdS cell of the Selectronic until the speed indicator went 1 step up.
  8. "Walt, what do you mean by "faster focusing" canon? Is the ql17's lens with USM motor? :) Seriously, you mean you have to turn less for the same amount of distance step, or you mean it's easier to find the perfect focus through the rf ? "

    What I mean is (for my old eyes) the Canon "seems' to focus a bit faster due the the lens turn ratio,i.e. the yashica takes more movment
    for a given shot to focus. To me it's really a non-issue but I wanted to give you choices.
  9. Besides the Canonet GIII QL17 possibly having a shorter focus throw (rotation from minimum focus to infinity) - tho' I don't know whether this is a fact - some folks do like the lever/knobbie thingie attached to the left side of the Canonet's focus ring. It's designed to allow quick focusing by gripping the lever between the forefinger and middle finger.

    Personally, tho', I've always found the Canonet's focusing to be a bit awkward and would prefer it without the focus "assist".

    Also, a shorter focus throw isn't always a good thing. It can make for twitchy focusing and difficulty in achieving precise alignment of the rangefinder patch.
  10. I have and have had several Yash electro range finders - GS, GSN, 35CC and a few others. Also have both sets of aux lenses.

    My favorite are the larger models - nicest feel (the 35CC may have a glorious lense & be the most "valuable" but the shutter action feels/sounds cheap in comparison).

    Prices are a little all over the place, but these cameras are plentiful & _should_ be cheap. Accessories are worth what someone is willing to pay.

    If you're shopping in person, make sure the camera goes "clunk" as you wind the film on. O'wise something is broken. Try and take a battery (and adapter if needed) to ensure metering is OK.
  11. I have just finished cleaning 2 very grungy electro 35's several days' worth of very careful scrubbing and polishing. cleaned the rangefinder lenses and camera lens almost to a "like new" look. I went to Radio Shack and bought 4 1.5 volt hearing aid batteries. I reduced the diameter of the battery compt by trimming a business card, rolling it up and stuffing it into the battery hole. I then put in the batteries, measured the remaining vacant space and factored in a bit extra because the spring inside needs to be compressed so the batteries have good contact. I solved this with a nice NAS Aerospace bolt from my junk box. Both cameras worked immediately and exposing the units to different light sources immediately showed the the shutter speeds were reacting accordingly. Next step, I took one of the units and put in a 24-exposure roll of Fuji 200 print film, shot a bunch of images and had Sam's club develop them today. Within less than 2 hours the results were in my hand showing that at least one of the units is working 1st class, a good series of exposures deliberately taken in bright sunlight show that this is still an excellent camera...
  12. I shoot a lot of street and available light, lots after dark, and find that out of the three
    Yashica's I have, GSN, CC, and GX, the GX is the most versatile. The CC and the GX are
    smaller than the GSN, and both are about the same size as the Canonet GIII QL17.
    They all three have different focal lengths. All the information you need is on the
    Yashica-Guy site, Karen Nakamura's Photoethnography.com, and cameraquest.com -
    look under compact 35's.

    To answer your question about the lens, all three of the above cameras have
    excellent lenses, if you're not shooting with primaries (you're shooting with zoom
    lenses), then you're in for a pleasant surprise. I process and print my own B&W, but all
    the colour and XP I shoot is done by a pro lab near our (design) studio. The guys at
    the pro lab obviously see a lot of stuff shot on professional gear, and I've been asked
    more than once if I use a leica. This is just anecdotal stuff, but the sharpness on these
    lenses won't dissapoint you.

    Fair price? Everyone has skirted this, at the risk of being *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*-canned without mercy
    (look it up in the Macquarie Dictionary), here goes. The GSN is the most common, you
    should be able to get one for USD $50 or less. The GX is rare, the Black GX, even
    more so - about USD $100 or more depending on who's bidding on the day. The CC
    (only comes in black) is somewhere between the two in terms of rarity and price.

    I know you haven't asked about about film, but whenever I use Portra UC colour film
    in any of these camera's the guys at the pro lab go nuts!

    I hope you get something useful out of all this, I wish you lots of fun with your new

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