Yashica Electro-35 GT

There are some entries in my collection that exist because they were found. This camera I actively sought out. Back when I was addicted to Tumblr I came across some amazing work that was shot exclusively using the Yashica Electro-35. As this was very early on on my collection, I became obsessed with this camera thinking “I can take photos like that if I had that camera” of course now I realise while a camera can have certain distinctive characteristics, the camera actually had very little to do with the images in comparison to the photographer who shot them.

Yashica electro-35

The Yashica Electro-35 GT is a 35mm, Rangefinder camera. Manufactured by Yashica in Japan. The Electro 35 line was first introduced in 1966, but the GT didn’t come into production until 1970. The updated variant of the camera now had gold contacts to make the circuitry run better and an expanded range of ISO settings for the film.

The camera is aperture priority, where the photographer selects an aperture for the image, and the light meter will calculate the appropriate shutter speed for the exposure. In the case that the aperture is too wide, the camera will indicate that the image will be over exposed. And in the case of there not being enough light, the camera will indicate that a slower shutter speed will warn the photographer that a longer shutter speed will require a tripod.

Even after so many years, the light meter seems to be functioning perfectly well allowing me to focus on my composition rather than being bogged down with the minutiae of exposure.

The camera is really solid in the hand. I initially found it awkward to shoot due to the fact that it has an aperture priority exposure system. Once you get used to it however, it is incredibly straight-forward to use.

Another issue faced by these cameras (and many others of its era) is that the battery for it no longer exists. The Electro 35 was designed to operate using a 5.6V mercury battery but these have now obviously been banned due to environmental concerns. However, a 6V alkaline battery (PX28A or 4LR44) can be used, with an adaptor.

The lens is fast, with a f1.7 aperture. It has a fixed focal length of 45mm, but they did make dedicated accessory lenses for other focal lengths.

This was actually my first range finder camera which came with its own set of adjustments to my shooting style. Having only really used point & shoot or SLR cameras at this point I found I had to do more work when adjusting for paralax and I frequently left the lens cap on while shooting as it didn’t obstruct the viewfinder. Obviously over time I got used to this and adjusted my shooting style accordingly leading to lees missed shots from my own brand of being an idiot.

What I love about this camera is the design. Ergonomically, it’s just beautiful. Everything is where you want it to be, and the icing on the cake is that it also sports a handy shutter lock to prevent you losing valuable shots because the camera has fired in your bag.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, this camera was on my need list for a few years and I was super fortunate that one crossed my path for £25 in a vintage market. If you’re looking to get into rangefinders this is a really nice place to start. Prices at the moment aren’t too bad. You can pick one up in decent condition for around £50 although I’ve seen them listed between £35 and £150 at the time of posting.

This was my first rangefinder camera and it was the first one to make me think about cameras other than SLRs as being something truly useful in the field of photography. Since then I’ve added a few more to the collection including I the Kodak retina IIc, Olympus XA, and one of my latest acquisitions, a Mamiya super 23!


Mamiya RB67

This camera has become my main workhorse. I’ve been using it for everything. Portraits, street work, events, landscapes and so much more.


It is one of my all time favourite pieces from my collection, which is a good thing considering how much effort is required to use it.


Ensign Ful-Vue

Due to the varied nature of photography, many different breeds of camera exist. Some more complicated and set up for the professional, and others are for a far more simple market.

Box cameras are some of the earliest and basic designs, that often still function even to this day. Most operate using a simple leaf shutter and most having very few, If any aperture options.

Ensign FUL-VUE

The camera was made in England between 1946 and 1950. It is a simple square format box camera, with very little in the way of exposure control. It has a stamped metal body and a huge, bright waist level viewfinder.

It has two shutter speeds “I” for “Instant” (roughly 1/30th sec when manufactured) and and “B” for “Bulb” by my guess, the aperture is somewhere around f.8 which is fairly typical of these kinds of cameras.

As a result of the fixed shutter speed and aperture, the only part of the exposure process that the photographer has control over is the film speed. In my research I’ve found most film from this era to be around the 100iso region but is often (unhelpfully) labelled as “panchromatic” own brand film as most of these companies produced cameras to sell their own film stock.

As a result I often use Ilford fp4 in cameras of this era because it has the best chance of getting the correct exposures.

The camera is reasonably nice to use, again it’s super basic and ergonomics were unheard of in the 40s in the UK.

That being said, it’s a wonderful addition to my collection, you really don’t have to think about much while shooting, because there’s nothing you can do to adjust exposure anyway. Just being able to focus on composition is a great exercise for any photographer. And cameras like this are the perfect opportunity to practice!

Polaroid 600 Extreme

UPDATED POST: this first went live YEARS ago so please excuse the incredibly basic review format

There are more varieties of Polaroid 600 cameras out there than there’s been iPhone updates – it would be ridiculous of me to review every single one. However, you will see more Polaroid reviews from me in future, if I find something that breaks the convention.


From Russia With Love (Zenit 11)

This camera came to me from my first every camera haul, where I was incredibly lucky to be able to get this as well as 5 other cameras gifted to me in one go Including the Agfa Isolette I it has not seen as much use as I’d liked it to have seen. But someday I’ll end up using it again when the time is right.


The Zenit 11 was manufactured between 1981 and 1990 by KMZ and MMZ It is a single lens reflex camera with a selenium cell meter and M42 lens mount system. some of the controls are a little odd to find, for example the film rewind release wasn’t the most easily marked button on the camera which caused me to tear the first roll of film a little.

I have missed using this camera. It has a nice reassuring nice, reassuring weight and is built like a tank. For it’s age it’s in great condition, and it always performs well. The parts are all still moving freely. The non-coupled metering system was unfamiliar to me when i first shot the Zenit, but now having shot vintage cameras for a few years, taking non TTL readings is business as usual.

I’ve used the Zenit in many different situations. It’s just as comfortable in the hills as it is on the street, just beware that becoming a regular Zenit shooter will give you a hell of a workout just carrying the thing around. but it’ll be worth it for the images!