Naturally, the product is launching on Kickstarter, where it’s selling for around $140. The usual caveats apply, and that’s especially true here since it’s not at all clear who’s actually behind this campaign. Today’s #Yashica isn’t at all related to the Yashica that made cameras decades ago. The company was sold several times and most recently seemed to end up in the hands of an investment firm named MF Jebsen. It’s likely that company licensed the Yashica name out to whatever party ended up making this, letting them lean on associations with the brand to help sell this new product.
A nice as the idea is, the Y35 is going to be a hard sell. It’s a cheap #camera that’s likely going to take much worse photos than your smartphone, all while being much less convenient to carry around and shoot with. Photo filters may be fun, but they seem a lot less exciting when you have to pay for every individual filter cartridge, switch them in and out, and try not to lose them. And while the Y35 may offer some of the tactile feel missing from digital cameras, there are tons of apps that offer a similarly analog-inspired developing experience.
The Y35 has a 35mm lens and an aperture that opens up to f/2.8. You can’t select shutter speed (it’s done automatically), and ISO choice, like on a film camera, is locked into the digiFilm cartridge that you insert in the back (supposedly, at least; the film speed might just be a descriptive part of the filter). Yashica is offering four film options to start: ISO 200 color, ISO 1600 color, ISO 400 black and white, and 120 film (aka square). Despite the fact that you’re inserting fake film, the film doesn’t actually store your photos; you’ll still have to insert an SD card.
The product is supposed to evoke some of the fun parts of shooting film — you have to “wind” it between each shot, for example — without some of the drawbacks, like having to find (and pay) a place to develop it in 2017. It’s a cute idea, and part of me loves the analog vibe that Yashica is trying to convey here. But the Y35 is also very clearly just a toy compared to any modern camera, and it seems like a fairly impractical one at that.
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After a decade of silence, the classic camera company Yashica has returned with a new product — one that resembles its analog heritage, even if it doesn’t remotely begin to speak to it. The new product is a #digital camera called the Y35 that looks just like Yashica’s old Electro 35 film camera. Except the Y35 has a distinctly modern twist: instead of using film, it uses “digiFilm,” which are essentially physical plugins that add different photo filters to the camera.