When I hear about Yashica and point and shoot cameras I think of the T series. Just doing a search on eBay, T3 and T4 start in the $300 range. As we know with many of these plastic devices, once they break, they’re not able to be fixed. I’m not here to knock those cameras, because in fact, from what I’ve seen, they produce nice photos. What I wanted to share with you is a different Yashica that honestly surprised me with it’s quality of shots, both with metering and sharpness. The Yashica Elite 70, also named Yashica Elite 70 Zoom, Yashica EZS Zoom 70, Yashica Zoomate 70, and finally Kyocera Campus 70.
The Elite 70 has a 38-70mm lens, with apertures f/5.2-f/9.1, shutter speeds 2.8s-1/250, ISO range of 100-800. The flash can be turned off, and it uses 2AA batteries. It’s assembled in China with parts made in Japan as printed on the bottom of it. The cost of this camera in 1995 when it came out would have been $223/£162 today with inflation. As you can see from these specs, nothing really stands out minus the AA batteries.
So why the Yashica Elite 70? First off I found this at a garage sale for $2.50 and thought okay it’s not T3 or T4, but I do like Yashica. As an owner of the Electro 35 GSN, I know they’ve had a long history of good glass, but with 1990s plastic point and shoots, I could also be let down. With hundreds of varieties from that era, especially with 38-70 zooms, there’s a lot of junk out there.
So without having to do anything to this camera I grabbed a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 and popped in two AA batteries and this is what I got…
A mid-afternoon shot that came out extremely sharp and really nailed the light balance. Historically I’ve usually avoided shooting high noon shots because many times my photos are washed out, but with this camera they really amazed me!
Here’s another waterfront shot at midday.
The colors really popped and the red was spot on. Again the water came out very well.
So the Yashica Elite 70 performs well outside in bright light, how about indoors?
With a f/5.2 lens at maximum aperture, indoors will be tough without flash. This shot was handheld, and in low lighting I found that once again the Yashica Elite 70 metered quite well! Not as sharp as I would like but with a tripod maybe corrected. Next I tried it with the timer sitting on a table.
Overall I enjoyed the metering and the reflection of light off the table but the image is a bit soft with greater distances. Perhaps the flash could have added some details, but also made me quite noticeable, which I wouldn’t enjoy.
Most of the time I don’t use zoom as I like to turn a camera on and use my legs to frame the picture, but the next photo I decided to zoom to 70mm and I found it just as sharp as 38mm with no vignetting either.
Next up are two landscape shots, the first one is 38mm, and second at 70mm.
I’ve taken many landscape photos and it does very well at all focal lengths.
And finally a shot that combines sunlight and shade and once again the Elite 70 handles the metering like an ace. I remember taking this shot very quickly to not draw attention. So this was a very quick fire.
Would I recommend the Yashica Elite 70? Definitely! This is a keeper in my arsenal of point & shoots. In fact this might be my favorite pocketable daytime go-to camera currently. The shortcomings of the Elite 70 are the slower lens and smaller viewfinder, but I can’t say much anything else negative about it. I’m not a flash user so to be able to turn off the flash is pretty important. It’s a perfect camera to toss in your bag and hit the streets and not worry if it breaks or gets lost. While I don’t know much about the glass, I’m guessing this is the best part about it.
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