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11-20-2022, 09:04 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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ismaelg's Avatar

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Yashica Electro 35 GSN


Here is a very quick one that required no disassembly for a change.

Yashica introduced the Electro 35 in 1966 as one of the first auto exposure 35mm rangefinder cameras. It became very successful. The camera had a fixed 45mm f1.7 lens and a Copal leaf shutter that was electronically controlled stepless from 30s to 1/500s. Because it is electronically controlled, it will only work without a battery at the highest 1/500 speed. Even Bulb requires battery power. Subsequent models were named Electro 35 G, GT and GS. In 1973 the last iteration was launched, named GTN for the black version and GSN for the chrome version. These had a hot shoe where the previous models only had a cold shoe. The ASA range for the meter is 25 to 1000. I haven't found concrete evidence of when it was stopped been made, with online sources claiming anywhere from 1974 to 1987. It seems that the late 70's is the most probable date. The GSN was supposedly made at both, Japan and Hong Kong factories. However, I did a quick ebay search and all of the 30 or so that I found with legible serial numbers were all made in Hong Kong with serial numbers starting with H (Hong Kong) ranging from 350xxx all the way to 2125xxx.
These cameras are essentially aperture priority with no manual control. You select the aperture and the camera will determine the shutter speed. It also has a Bulb and a flash speed. Been a leaf shutter, it can sync with flash at any speed.

My specimen:
A few months ago, I received this camera as "payment" for a service I provided. You see, in my world my currency is usually either cups of coffee or old cameras 🙂
For years I've been reading that these cameras are a nightmare to work on.
This particular one looks mint!

Only some minor dust around the shutter button.

But I was told the meter had power issues. No battery power is essentially a death sentence in these cameras.
Since these cameras were designed to use no longer available mercury PX23 batteries, adapters are used. I found the adapter was not providing the best contact and was the first thing I worked on to ensure proper continuity from battery to adapter. Then I noticed that due to the shape of the adapter the contact was not the best with the battery cap.
After hours of wind tunnel testing (always wanted to say that) I designed this intricate and precise ultra thin aluminum contact enhancer (Patent Pending).

Yeah, a piece of aluminum foil made the trick.

Battery check works! Promising!

Pointing at a bright light source at f1.7 forcing the over exposure light to come on.
It works!

Blocking the light meter to force the slow speed warning light.
It works!

Dry tested it (no film) and everything seems to be working fine! A quick detail job and here it is for your approval:

Not sure when I'll get a chance to test it, as I have way too many others pending as well.


11-21-2022, 05:58 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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I have this same exact camera. I purchased the A23 battery from Amazon and it works amazingly well. The camera is actually fun to use and takes nice sharp photo's. I need to scan some photos in but here's my camera...

11-21-2022, 08:43 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I had one of these a few years ago but didn't enjoy using it due to it's size (for a fixed-lens rangefinder) and it having no manual control.
11-21-2022, 09:32 AM   #4
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Yashica sold scads of these popular models.

They were a way to get a "good" 35mm camera at half the cost of an SLR with fast 50mm lens.
Back then photos I saw taken with them were sharp and well-exposed depending on the user.

Decades later when I thought about trying one the so-call 'Pad of Death' stories scared me off.
Is anyone here doing this repair/replacement now on this models Achilles heel?


Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 11-22-2022 at 06:28 PM.
11-21-2022, 10:11 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I got one from an older friend a long time ago, it was fun to use but not my cup of tea so I ended up giving it away.
The electrical tape and button battery trick works every time (I used a small flashlight spring) and the rsults were decent under normal Dutch conditions.
The lens is very good, and the RF was excellent, with a very long RF base

Electro 35GS and auxiliaries

Last edited by titrisol; 11-22-2022 at 06:19 AM.
11-21-2022, 12:17 PM   #6
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Beautiful little camera.

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