5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Yashica AF-J and Fujicolor C200 – By Andrew Bogard

January 21, 2021

I stumbled upon this blue blocky Yashica compact on eBay and decided to shell out more than my normal 20 buck limit since it had a f/3.2 lens. As usual, the seller was very kind and personable, and I left the transaction a little poorer but with a smile and my first non-cheapo compact… I promptly dropped it on the pavement.

After a few choice phrases, I retrieved the carcass of my newly beloved point-and-shoot and assessed the damage. The plastic body did a decent job of absorbing the drop but some of the pieces had popped out of place. I went home to loosen some screws and snap things back in, but, as was my luck that day, I stripped a screw in the process and now the battery compartment door doesn´t close without a piece of matching blue electricians tape.

The Yashica looked a bit like this traffic light after I dropped it

 

Still grumbling at my clumsiness, I loaded the camera with my favorite filmstock (Fujicolor C200) and headed out. The camera itself is very simple to use and only has three points of interaction: a little slide on the front of the camera to open the lens hood and activate the camera, a Grinch-green shutter button, and its only “bell and whistle”  — a flash override. When the camera has decided flash is needed, a little button pops out of the top of the camera and you have to press and hold it for it not to fire when you take the shot. It makes for an uncomfortable shooting experience, but it’s better than not having it at all! When taking a picture, the sound the camera makes is akin to throwing a bean bag in a blender.

At least the pretty fountain drowned out the sound of taking the picture.

Other than the noise and odd flash override, the camera is what I’d hoped for. The focus is quick and accurate, it meters well, and the lens is very sharp.

Obligatory opera house pic

I’m glad I spent a little extra money this time. If anything, it proves that I’m too clumsy to own nice things, but not too clumsy to enjoy a nice photo walk with a classic point-and-shoot.

Find more of my work on my website or Instagram.

Support & Subscribe

35mmc is free to read. It is funded by adverts. If you don't like the adverts you can subscibe here and they will disapear.

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of 35mmc and get access to exclusive content over on Patreon. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi:

Become a Patron!

Learn about where your money goes here.
Would like to write for 35mmc? Find out how here.

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Phil Stefans
    January 21, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Nice shots! C200 is a very underrated film stock. Camera looks like it has a nice sharp lens on it too.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      January 22, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks Phil, I agree! And it holds up to scanning very well, or at least as far as I can figure.

  • Reply
    Alex Vye
    January 21, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Very fine article. Like the fountain picture.

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    January 21, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    Andrew: Nice review! I have the same camera, except that mine is called the “Ninja*Star. Yashica sold this camera in a number of variations with different colors and names (and in a few cases slight changes in the features).

    I like to take mine when I’m out for a bike ride. I keep it in a handlebar bag where it’s easy to get to, and the simple on/off function and lack of features/decisions is actually a plus (no need to push anything but the shutter button!).

    P.S. You didn’t mention one of the camera’s nicer features, which is the use of AA batteries. I never have to worry about carrying a spare battery on a trip, because AAs are available at pretty much every 7-Eleven and gas station in the world.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      January 22, 2021 at 3:55 pm

      Eric, you’re totally right! It’s a relief to not have to buy some fussy battery that nearly no one carries. Points for Yashica!

  • Reply
    Rock
    January 21, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    This looks virtually identical to my J2 which I think only comes in black and no flash override. Like you, I am also pleased with the sharpness and contrast of the 38mm lens. I feel Yashica/Contax/Kyocera have always made good optics. As your photos show, a good all round performer for point n shoot photography. And cheap enough to replace if you drop it! Imagine if it had been one of it’s T* cousins…

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      January 22, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      Definitely a well rounded performer — probably even more well rounded when it hasn’t eaten pavement!

  • Reply
    Huss
    January 21, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Nice pics! I love Fuji C200, my go to film.

    Cheapest AF-J on ebay is $150…

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      January 22, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      Oof, that’s a lot!! I lucked out and got mine for about 45 euros if I recollect, and even that was a bit too rich for my blood! or rather, my clumsy hands.

  • Reply
    Mats
    January 21, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    The lenses on these seem great. I have the fixed focus version. Well zone focus acually, it has two zones, portrait and some hyperfocal-ish disctance I guess. But I havn’t used it yet. Luckely it has manual flash control. No override is something don’t think I can live with.

    There seems to be a myriad of Yahsica cameras using this 32mm lens. In this and other form factors.

    • Reply
      Andrew Bogard
      January 22, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      The lens is great, and my dinky film scanner doesn’t do it justice! I didn’t realize they make a zone focus version too — cool!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.