Classic Fixed Lens Rangefinders:

Yashica RF history: Yashica Yashica Lynx 1000 - 5000 - 14 - 14e; Electro 35 - G - GS/GT - GSN/GTN; Electro GL - GX - MG1

Yashica Electro 35 G

aka "Gold Mechanica"

by Karen Nakamura



Overview and Personal Comments

The Yashica Electro 35 G is a coupled-rangefinder, leaf-shuttered 35mm camera with aperture-priority automatic exposure. It's the 1968 revision of the popular Electro 35 that Yashica introduced in 1966. They added gold plating to the electronic contacts and named it the "Gold Mechanica" camera. The Electro 35 series were all high grade cameras and until the SLR boom of the 1970s came in, were very strong sellers. Even now, the Yashinon 45mm f/1.7 lens on the Electro 35 (original), G, GS, and GSN can hold its own against contemporary 35mm cameras and will blow away any digital camera < $2000 in terms of resolution and clarity. Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.

As mentioned, the Electro 35 G was released in 1968 by Yashica. Unlike the GSN which moved its manufacturing to Hong Kong, the G was still being made in Japan. My unit has serial # of 9062847x. The lens was also made in Japan and is multi-coated. I've always been very happy with the optics on the Electro series. They really are comparable to quality Canon, Nikon, or Leica optics. Part of the reason is that since the camera lens isn't interchangeable, all of the complexity of the rangefinding camming system has been obviated and the lens can be optimized for the body. The Copal electronic leaf shutter is exceedingly quiet, even quieter than a Leica M3 or IIIg. And because it has even less inertial mass than the Leica focal plane, you can handhold it at even slower speeds. See my GSN page for photo examples. Note: The G has the exact same optics as the GSN.

So... you might ask, what differentiates the G from the GSN? Here's an evolution chart:

1966 Electro 35 Original flagship model
1968 Electro 35 G + changes in cosmetic design
+ ASA now 12-500
+ gold contacts
1970 Electro 35 G (2nd ver)

+ revised film door
? Added "Color" designation to lens, but no change in design itself

1970 Electro 35 GS

+ cosmetic changes
+ ASA 25-1000

1973 Electro 35 GSN + flash hotshoe
+ minor changes to rewind lever
Note that there are "T" versions of the above (GT, GTN). The T indicates a black top plate as opposed to a chrome one. Use of this chart, text, or any photographs in an eBay auction without permission will result in an immediate IP violation claim with eBay VeRO. Violators may have their eBay account cancelled.

The basic design of the camera did not change in its 20 year (!!!) lifespan. In fact, you can put the 1968 Electro G next to one of the last GSNs made in 1987 and they are practically the same. Why? Because the Electro 35 was just a really good design. The metering is spot-on, the optics are superb, I can't say enough good things about this design series.




Interesting quirks

The Copal shutter is entirely stepless from 1/500 to 30 seconds. It's not TTL metering, the CdS cell is located to the right of the rangefinder, but it does a great job. The rangefinder is not only fully coupled (i.e., focusing the rangefinder focuses the lens) but it also has built-in parallax compensation. The common problem with rangefinders is that they aren't fully What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get because of the small amount of parallax difference between the rangefinder window and the taking lens. With the Yashica, as you focus closer, the viewfinder gridlines actually move to compensate for the amount of parallax. This is important when taking headshots or pictures of found objects.

Electros take one 5.6v PX32 battery, unfortunately these have been discontinued. Fortunately, you can use a 6v PX28A alkaline battery which is readily available at any Walgreens or Radio Shack. You need to make a small adaptor for it which consists of: a small piece of thin cardboard, a 25¢ spring from a hardware store, and a piece of tinfoil. More details are at Matt Denton's page. The smaller PX28As last forever, I've had mine in there for over a year and it's still ticking. The Electros all have a built in battery check feature which is very handy. Push the "Bat. Check" button on the back, if the green light lights, you're good. Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.



Technical Details

Camera Name
Electro 35 G "Gold Mechanica"
Place of Manufacture

Body: Hong Kong
Lens: Japan

Date of Manufacture
Focusing System

Fully coupled rangefinder with built-in parallax compensation
Lens use helical focusing

Fixed Lens

45mm, f/1.7, Yashinon-DX lens (6 elements in 4 groups)
Minimum focusing distance = 0.8 meters (~2.6 feet)
Right focusing (infinity on right side)
55mm thread for filters, 57.5mm lens shade


Copal shutter 30 secs - 1/500
B and "flash" settings
X-flash sync at all speeds
Self-timer on lens mount

Metering System

CdS cell mounted above next to rangefinder
Aperture priority electronic exposure

Lights on top of camera / rangefinder warn of under/over exposure conditions


f/1.7 - f/16


External cold-shoe
PC cable connection

Film type / speeds

Type 135 film (35mm standard)
ASA 12 to 500

Battery type

5.6v PX32 (battery check feature)
-compatible with 6V PX28 alkaline, with 25¢ adaptor

Dimensions and weight
Retail price
¥23,200 in 1968
Use of this chart, text, or any photographs in an eBay auction without permission will result in an immediate IP violation claim with eBay VeRO. Violators may have their eBay account cancelled.



About Yashica/Kyocera/Contax

The Yashica Corporation began making cameras in 1957, releasing its first model in 1958 (the Yashica 35). They produced a very well regarded series of twin-lens-reflex (TLR) medium format cameras under the Yashica-Mat brand and 35mm rangefinders under the Yashica Electro name. Yashica became a subsidiary of the Kyocera Corporation in October of 1983. For the next two decades, Kyocera continued to produce film cameras under the Contax marquee, including a very nice 35mm Contax SLR series (which used Zeiss lenses), a medium format system, and the Contax G1/G2 rangefinders (also with Zeiss glass).The Yashica name was only used for a small series of dental cameras and point and shoots. In March of 2005, Kyocera announced that it would cease production and sales of film and digital cameras under the Contax marquee. Thus ends 30 years of a wonderful camera line. The Contax name will most probably revert back to the Zeiss foundation, thus who knows what will happen in the future. Right now, the name "Yashica" appears to have been bought by a Chinese company for their inexpensive digital cameras.


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