Yashica Launches Y35 digiFilm Camera on Kickstarter

Yashica digiFilm Y35

After weeks of teasing about an unprecedented return to camera world, Yashica has launched the Y35 digiFilm camera on Kickstarter. And boy, what a disappointment! For those who are old enough to know, Yashica was a Japanese camera maker known for their Electro 35 GSN rangefinder camera and FX-3 Super SLR cameras.

Yashica Electro 35 GSN

The teaser videos had shown a Electro 35 lookalike, and it’s reasonable to assume that they are coming up with a mirrorless camera modelled after it. It’ll really, really be nice if it was something like the Fujifilm X100 series—a fixed lens mirrorless camera with a reasonably large (meaning at least M43-sized) sensor, perhaps with rangefinder focussing like the Leica M-series. Unfortunately, what they released was far from it.

Yashica Y35 with digiFilm

The Yashica Y35 is a digital camera with a 1/3.2″ CMOS sensor with a resolution of 14MP, a fixed 35mm f/2.8 equivalent lens which can focus from 1m to infinity. Only five shutter speeds are available—1s, 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/250s and 1/500s. It runs on 2xAA batteries and images are stored on regular SD cards.

digiFilm in Yashica Y35

The highlight feature is the digiFilm modules. These looks like the APS-C film cartridges from the days of yore and contains the pre-processing algorithms for different looks in the final image. There is a high-contrast, high-grain ISO 1600 colour one, a high-grain, high-contrast B&W one at ISO 400 (probably simulating the Kodak Tri-X), a ultra-fine grain ISO 200 one with standard colour balance, and laughably, a “120 Format (6×6)” one, which is ”fits for Instagram (sic)”! The last one shoots square-format photos at an ISO of 200. The idea is that you pop in one of these, just as you would with film in a film camera, and you pick our (digi)Film according to the look you want to achieve. I see this as an opportunity to make more money from buyers.

digiFilm ISO 1600
digiFilm ISO 400 B&W
digiFilm ISO 200 Ultra Fine
digiFilm 120 Format (6×6)

But it’s now 2017 and such things can be done in-camera without having to swap fake film in and out. One can simply have a dial to select the mood desired and let the camera can do the rest. Also, did I mention there is no LCD screen and no delete function on the camera?

There is what looks like a film advance crank on the Y35, but there is no mention of what it does on the Kickstarter page. Perhaps, you do need to crank it after every shot. I am surprised they did not implement a limit on the number of shots you can take. It’d be fun if it stops shooting at 36 frames, requiring you to change your SD card and/or digiFilm regardless of your SD card’s capacity!

Also bear in mind that this is no longer the same Japanese Yashica that we knew, just as Nakamichi is no longer the high-end Japanese audio company. The Y35 is just a hipster camera to appeal to the hipster crowd with gimmicky features. I am sure there will be many people interested in getting one or more, and judging by the Facebook comments I’ve seen, this appears to be the  case. But sorry, this just doesn’t cut it.

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