Back to 35mm - The Yashica Electro 35 GSN

Generally, I don't shoot much 35mm film. I have a few cameras such as the Practika MTL3, Canon EOS 5 and an Olympus XA2 on my shelves, but they're mainly as part of my collection, and not regularly used. It's not that I have anything against 35mm, but I just love medium and large format. A lot.

I wasn't actually looking for a 35mm camera to begin with, but I came across some great photos which had been taken on a Yashica Electro 35 GSN. I was seriously impressed with the photos, and curiosity got the better of me and I began reading up on them. I watched a few video reviews and browsed some more sample photos, and slowly I began to want one. I decided that I really wanted one when I found out that a very good condition one could be snapped up for £40-50 on ebay. I had never used a 35mm rangefinder before either, so that was another itch that needed scratching  (I get a lot of those itches). A 35mm rangefinder with stepless aperture priority that gives great results, for less than £50? Sign me up!

After watching a few GSN's and GTN's (a GTN is the same as a GSN, but is totally black instead of chrome and black) go on eBay for more than I wanted to pay, I began checking the site regularly in the hope of picking up a bargain. Typically I get over excited when I see a camera I want on eBay and end up bidding more than I should so that I can get it ASAP (I've lasted nearly 28 years without the camera, but somehow I need it RIGHT NOW), but with a bit of uncharacteristic restraint, I managed to wait about a week and snapped a good condition GSN up off eBay, with a case and cap, for just £36 delivered.

When it arrived I was actually surprised how large the camera was. Not unwieldly large, especially when compared to the likes of an RB67, but it was bigger than I expected. It actually fits very well in the hand, and is comfortable to hold. The camera is a good weight too, a nice balanced weight that makes it feel well made and solid, but easy enough to swing over your shoulder and forget about.

the GSN is a beautiful looking camera, dressed in chrome and black leatherette

 The GSN has a chrome covered body, whereas the similar GTN has a black body

The GSN has a chrome covered body, whereas the similar GTN has a black body

 The GSN began manufacture in around 1973. The gold coloured G of the GSN indicates gold plated electrical contacts.

The GSN began manufacture in around 1973. The gold coloured G of the GSN indicates gold plated electrical contacts.

 A new feature added to the GSN and GTN was a hot shoe for flash. Thankfully the PC port was kept.

A new feature added to the GSN and GTN was a hot shoe for flash. Thankfully the PC port was kept.

 A feature which is often taken for granted is the shutter locking lever. This doesn't exist on many of my other cameras, which is something that greatly annoys me.

A feature which is often taken for granted is the shutter locking lever. This doesn't exist on many of my other cameras, which is something that greatly annoys me.

 Using a 45mm f/1.7 lens means that the camera can take photos in lower light conditions.

Using a 45mm f/1.7 lens means that the camera can take photos in lower light conditions.

I can't comment on image quality yet, as I have yet to see any photos from it. I've loaded it with a roll of Agfa Vista 200 (a great film for £1 a roll, perfect for testing cameras) and am hoping to finish and get it developed some time this weekend.

Overall, I think that the Yashica Electro 35 GSN and GTN (or GS/GT if you don't care about having a hot shoe) is going to be a great addition to my camera collection. I am really looking forward to seeing the results, and I'm also really looking forward to getting 24 to 36 photos to a roll instead of 12!

Have you used a GSN/GTN? If so, I'd love to hear what you think! Use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

 

-Carl-