Yashica Electro 35CC mini review – by Andrew Morang

It is hard to resist interesting old cameras, especially if they are low cost. Before a 2017 trip to Nepal, I had been looking for a compact 35mm fixed lens camera. I knew I would carry my day supplies myself, so my Leica M2 kit with lenses was a bit heavier than I wanted to puff up and down trails, especially at 3000+ m altitude. My old Leica IIIC was out for repair and might not be ready in time. Thanks to the advice on Cameraquest, I bought a Yashica Electro 35CC from an eBay seller. After testing it with Kodak BW400CN on a car trip to Santa Fe, I was really pleased!

This little Yashica Electro 35CC has a clean viewfinder without haze, and the rangefinder lines up perfectly at infinity. And it uses a modern silver or lithium L544 battery, which I bought at a drugstore in town – very convenient compared to the mercury cells used in most 1960s and 1970s compact cameras. I bought an inexpensive 52mm vented hood from one of the Chinese vendors and already had some 52mm filters. Most old-time photographers have 52mm filters somewhere in the house, so this convenient size saves you from buying different sizes or the rather inconvenient step-up or step-down rings.

Operation hints

The shutter is electronically-timed with no manual mode, so you are dependent on a battery. In my experience, electronically-controlled cameras usually have excellent shutter speeds. Either they work correctly or the camera is comatose. On this Yashica, the shutter will stay open up to about 15 sec. for low-light work. This opens some interesting possibilities because I often take pictures in old decayed buildings.

One disadvantage of this camera is that it operates as aperture-priority only. You set the aperture and the shutter is timed automatically. Arrows in the viewfinder point left or right to tell you how to turn the aperture to maintain a safe shutter speed. In particular, when the left-pointing arrow lights up, the camera’s little brain wants you to open the aperture to let in more light. But, if you have a tripod or platform, just let the shutter stay open as long as it needs. The problem is there is no convenient way to adjust for reciprocity failure in long exposures. With most C-41 films, you do not need to be concerned, but my experience with black and white film is at about 1 sec. exposure, you need to start adding time. With this Yashica, the only way is to move the ASA level to a lower speed film (i.e., fool it into giving more time). The 6-element 35mm f/1.8 lens has a good reputation, and is wider then the normal 40 or 45mm lens on most of the 1970s compact cameras.

Like most of these 30+ year old cameras, the foam light seals around the back had turned into sticky gunk. But I had a package of replacement seal strips from Jon Goodman, an American fellow who has been selling kits for years. It was easy to clean out the old glue with naphtha and replace the strips. Results: no light leaks.

Yashica Electro 35CC


I am really impressed with the 35mm Yashinon lens in the Yashica Electro 35CC. It is sharp from edge to edge with little or no field curvature. And the shutter is almost vibration-free, so I have not worried about hand-holding at slow shutter speeds (of course, I do not know the exact speed because there is no readout in the finder, but some of my low-light shots have been in the range of 1/30 sec or more). As a wild idea, I contacted Bellamy Hunt at Japan Camera Hunter about having the lens converted to Leica M mount. It would cost about $600, far more than I want to spend, considering I already have a 35mm Summicron-M lens.

In summary, the Yashica Electro 35CC is a decent little camera with an accurate shutter, a real rangefinder, and an excellent lens that is slightly wider than the normal for compact point-and-shoots. And it uses a modern battery. It does not have the precision feel of a Leica, but the photographic output is fine.

Ranch House Cafe, Tucumcari, New Mexico, on the historic Route 66, Kodak BW400CN film

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. Polarizer filter used to emphasize clouds.
Main Street, Edwards, Mississippi, Ilford Delta 100 film, taken on a gloomy rainy day, no filter, hand-held. Edwards is one of many small towns that have faded greatly since the 1970s.
Asontol area of Kathmandu, Nepal, Kodak Ektar 100 film. The colored powders are used in Hindu ceremonies.
Prayer flags, Taksindu La (Pass), 3031 m, Nepal. Ektar 100 film
Abandoned Lockheed Propulsion Company (rocket fuel), Mentone, Redlands, California, Fuji 200 film.

Thank you for reading. For more examples from this little Electro 35CC, please check:  https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com/2018/01/nepal-2017-02-doors-of-nepal.html ,  https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com/2018/01/ladies-of-kathmandu-nepal-2017-03.html, and https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com/2017/12/abandoned-rocket-fuel-plant-redlands.html

As an aside, my Leica IIIC that I mentioned above was repaired in time. I wrote about it here on 35MMC a few months ago.

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9 thoughts on “Yashica Electro 35CC mini review – by Andrew Morang”

  1. Andrew, nice to see some more of your urban decay images. That’s quite a little pocket rocket you’ve got there, with a genuine 35mm w/a lens sporting an f1.8 aperture. It more than delivers the goods from the look of these images.

    1. Thank you. The lens on this little Yashica is excellent. That may be why some people have them converted to Leica-M mount, although you can probably buy a used 35mm Summicron for that price.

  2. Pingback: Compact Excellence: A Review of the Voigtländer Vito BL by Andrew Morang - 35mmc

    1. Yes, you are right. We always need (OK, want) more classic cameras. After all, they are not made any more, many are failing from old age or neglect (fungus), and prices are trending up.

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  4. Pingback: Yashica Lynx-14 Review - Great 45mm lens (good camera stuck to the back) - By Andy Larner - 35mmc

  5. The Lookheed Propulsion Co. should have a visitors center and a tour. It made the “Moon-Shot” rockets. But this place is well hidden and is a Super-Fund cleanup area. After the rocket lab closed it became a military site that tested weapons for helicopters and even buried some nuclear material that hasnt been found. Its an interesting site for sure, theres even rumors that it an abandoned mental facility shut down to a patient killing all the staff. This brings lots of oblivious young people who dont know that hospitals dont need “blast bunkers”. Im sure the city will have to bulldoze whats left. This place should have Proud History and not cuss words graffiti everywhere. Its a shame to us in Yucaipa and Mentone for not celebrating it

    1. Thanks for the interesting comment, Richard. I have read somewhere about helicopter testing but did not know about nuclear waste. This is an alluvial river bed, so not very stable underneath. And there must be occasional ground water flow when the river level is high (not a good place for nuclear waste in what is likely to be 50-year-old leaking barrels). It will be expensive to remove the bunkers because of their mass and thick walls.

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