I’ve been on the lookout for a couple of specific Rangefinder cameras lately: specifically an Olympus PEN half-frame 35mm (NotAgain has one, it’s a fantastically tiny and handy), and a Yashica Electro 35 rangefinder. Today I found one for lunch money in practically factory-new condition at Goodwill. I about fell over when I saw it in the collectibles case next to the $49 plastic Russian 3D camera that I’ve been dutifully ignoring. They priced the Yashica at less than half that. Morons. It seems as long as I keep ignoring that plastic Nishika, then other far more awesome things will continue to come along.
This particular Electro 35 was likely made between 1968 and 1970 (mine’s the “G” variation), and based on the camera’s battery (the original Yashica mercury battery, expiration date May 1971, was still in it – luckily the leakage wasn’t bad), and the film that was still in the camera (an old, old roll of 80 ISO Kodacolor II) – I would suspect that this camera was purchased in 1969 or 1970, taken to Thailand (the spare film holder has “Thailand” and a little palm tree scratched into it) on a trip where the owner may have shot a few rolls of film. The owner then must have come home to the states, stashed the camera in a closet (still loaded with the last roll of film) and forgot all about it from 1970 until now. The camera itself is unscuffed and has no dust on it, and even the case is dust free and has only a few recent scuffs.
Brought back to life after cleaning a little bit of scuzz out of the battery compartment and McGyvering a 4LR44 6v battery to fit the compartment, I find that the light metering seems to work just fine. I shot out the old (1970!) roll of Kodacolor II and set it aside to be developed. I noted that this vintage roll of film has a tounge that is quite different from modern rolls, much longer and punched with additional holes. Presumably this was a sort of early version of the DX coding that appeared later on film canisters – this version being readable by an electric eye as the film was fed into the processing machine, I suppose.
But before I hit the darkroom, there’s the other package I got in the mail today: the Ink Sacs and spare nib for my Esterbrook J pen! I’ve already collected the shellac and talc I need (pool cue chalk should work), so now it’s time to install the new sac!
Ok. Now the Shellac has to dry overnight before the next step, so we can set the Esterbrook aside and head to the darkroom.