I recently picked up an unwanted Yashica Zoomtec 70 point and shoot for $2.99 at a Seattle Goodwill. The strap rivets were corroded, but it did come with the original bag. I loaded some Fujifilm C200 and noticed this example has been dropped once or twice. Nokia-nostalgia comes to mind: this camera is likely gonna be around longer than me if the shutter stays alive.
The shutter button has a cheap, yet confident feel at the half and full press positions. The grip feels fantastic in my big mitt, and my fingers get nowhere near the lens. It’s among few in my arsenal that does not need a strap to be handheld around town. I’ve been moving toward shooting these types of cameras since life happens – I can shoot in the rain and snow, or I can drop this one without heartache.
So, what is it like? Actions including turning the camera on and zooming are unfortunately loud. Canon AF35MII loud. You might know this sound? I recommend leaving the lens open when walking about. It’s how I shoot P&S machines usually, and I’ve still yet to kill a lithium battery in 5 years. Taking a picture sounds strangely more akin to a modern computer printer or perhaps writing to a floppy disk. It’s really not bad.
Stop me if you’ve heard this lens gem story before, but I had a hunch the 35-70mm f/3.5-6.7 glass was gonna be great. But how great? Would it make up for requiring a 2CR5 battery? Or the flash mode clearing back to auto after each shot? Olympus mju-II owners thought they had it bad… The Yashica only takes 2 flash button presses to turn off. Every time. Where exactly would this land in my little league of tasty, zoomy bricks from Nikon, Olympus, Leica, Canon and more? If you haven’t guessed by now, this Yashica zoom P&S belongs in the top. The Zoomtec 70 launched every frame in my first roll out of expectation park. I have no words for the focus accuracy – the roll hit rate for this camera is almost unrivalled in my collection.
I could wax on about the lens sharpness, but the contrast, color balance, and minimal distortion, especially when zoomed-out, speak to my heart. It took the pictures how I imagined them. The machine did not cloud my mind or stand in my way. All 26 frames are pure gold.
Now, before wrapping up, the camera can read at least up to 1600 ISO film. That may not seem incredible on paper, but it’s a full stop beyond my lovely Ninja Star II that tops out at 800 ISO. What’s next for this one? I’m planning on loading up some DX-coded Kodak UItramax 1600 (400 +2 stops) for the winter. Take a gander at these in the meantime.
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