Much like a Magpie bird, I really enjoy playing with shiny chrome things. So, I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t the main reason I picked up this old Electro off eBay.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s this was a ridiculously popular camera. I read somewhere Yashica sold over 8 million of these… that’s a lot of dummies running around taking pictures with shiny things. I think part of the appeal was due to how simple it is to use- the Electro functions in aperture priority only, automatically selecting your shutter speed between 1/30 to 1/1000 sec. Basically the ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ of photography.
Things I immediately liked about the Electro were that it just looks. so. good. But we’ve already established this. The build quality is excellent, with most of the camera made out of all metal. It’s not quite at ‘war tank’ status, but I still wouldn’t want to get hit in the face with it. My version was made in Japan, and later models were manufactured in China. I’m not sure if that affected the build quality, though. Did I mention it’s shiny?
The only thing I wasn’t really a fan of was where the engineers at Yashica decided to put the self timer. There’s a tiny little lever that sits nearly on the top of the lens, right smack in front of the focus ring. What this means is if you get a little sloppy with your finger technique (no comment) when you focus *ticticticticticMISSEDYOURSHOTtictictictictic* and then finally, shutter click. Another minor hassle is that the 5.6 volt batteries that these used to take are no longer made. I ended up just taping four LR-44 1.5v batteries together, and filling the gap with a steel spring. Works like a charm. There are specialty adapters on eBay, but why pay 10 bucks when a 25 cent spring does the job just fine.
Being a rangefinder, this camera yells “go walk around”… so I took it downtown and ran a roll of Ilford 3200 through it. I’m a sucker for gloomy overcast days when shooting black and white because the rain and fog always make for some really moody pictures. All in all I’m pretty happy with the take-aways.
(Click to open gallery)