Steve Fenton

Yashica Y35 digiFILM camera

I was very excited about the Yashica Y35 digiFILM Camera, which successfully funded through Kickstarter in November 2017. My last film camera before switching to a Nikon D40 was a Yashica T4 that I was given by my great-uncle. I used that camera constantly to take random pictures of rusty fire-escapes, of decaying graffiti, and of bands I was writing about for The Mag (until I hooked up with the awesome Mark Holloway, which took me on adventures with The Mag, DV8 Magazine, and Spill Magazine).

Bushbaby at The JoinersBushbaby at The JoinersBushbaby at The JoinersBushbaby at The Joiners

I could do things with the Yashica that I never managed with other cameras. I’d do things like trick it into believing the flash would fire, but hold my finger over the flash… or take a longer exposure while swinging the camera around to get light-blurs. These are all things I worked out how to do on my Nikon DSLR, but it took more science and effort. With the Yashica you could get amazing character just by messing around with it.

And this is why the Yashica Y35 digiFILM camera caught my eye…

“You like taking photos, and wishing the time still. But what I want is to capture the moment, and to remember the long-lasting feel.” – The Silence of Story

Yashica Y35 digiFILM

While this is a digital camera, with an f2.0 lens and a 1/2.5 inch CMOS sensor; this is much more like a 35mm film camera than you might first think. First off, you can’t preview your images. There is no screen on the back, and the screen that isn’t there doesn’t tilt or swing or otherwise help you to take a picture. There is a small viewfinder like I had on the Yashica T4. You take a picture now; you find out later.

The next interesting part of this camera is the digiFILM concept. This is basically a series of films, each with their own character, that you can swap by opening the back of the camera. The films give you various styles such as a high-speed film, standard colour film, or moody black and white film. Each film affects the noise and mood of the photographs… just like real film did when you bought it without understanding what an ISO was.

Real life hurts

The only burn on this whole project is the quality of the final product. Traditionally, Yashica was high-quality stuff, but the Y35 really does feel like a disposable camera. In fact, the shutter button on my unit gave up the ghost within just two outings.

Conceptually brilliant but the execution is poor.

Written by Steve Fenton on