Jackalopes, Yashica Electro 35 G and Ink Sacs & Shellac

Jackalope Typewriter pad arrived in the mail a couple days ago.

Jackalope Typewriter pad arrived in the mail a couple days ago.

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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.

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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 rollĀ  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.

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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!

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Ok. Now the Shellac has to dry overnight before the next step, so we can set the Esterbrook aside and head to the darkroom.

Ciao! RRTM

Updated: February 15, 2014 — 5:19 pm


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  1. Oh man, I’ve been eyeing the Electro 35s for about 2 months now. However, because I just picked up another Trip 35 (plus the fact that I’m not working :-/), I figure it’s wiser to hold off on any other purchases. I spent an hour today recalibrating the Trip 35’s lens after stupidly throwing it out of alignment last week.
    I looking forward to what you find on that roll of film from 1971, too!
    Great pickup on the Yashica, Ted. Sounds like you got it for much, much less than they go for on the ‘bay.

    1. Yah, I was pretty blown away by that find. I’d been “watching” Electro 35’s on the ‘Bay for a month now, drawn by the fat, fast lens and the sweet atom-age styling – never really expecting to run across one in the thrifts. I couldn’t test for the “pad of death” issue that is somewhat common on Electro 35’s without a battery, but with a battery in, I find that this example seems to be ok. I’m gonna shoot a fresh roll today to make sure there aren’t any light leaks & test exposure, but I think I got pretty lucky in finding one that had only light use when purchased, and no clicks at all in the past 40+ years. and $24? Yes, thank you Thrift Gods. :D

  2. Nice report on the Jackalope pad. They work great. Amazing how much they kill vibration compared to some of my other pads.

    Fine looking Yashica Electro 35. You never know you may have the last roll of film a soldier shot before his belongings were returned to his family who has cleaned out their house to move on. Weil makes a zinc-oxide replacement for that battery (or at least they did). LR44s are find, but as they age the discharge taper will be different. The as new may yeild underexposures too since the new voltage is now 0.4V higher than 5.6 volts. Not much of a problem with print film unless you are using the Zone System.

    1. Cool. With the film I’m using (old C-41 and Ilford HP5+) I seem to have a bit of room to compensate for underexposure in developing. Still getting a handle on that in terms of “pushing” and “Pulling” development, but I have a lot of test film to learn on. Now if I can just keep myself from buying more shiny cameras (this one came on the heels of a nice Olympus OM-1 I found for $10 a couple days ago), I might be able to really concentrate on focusing on one camera at a time and figure out which ones I want to keep and which will be eBay grist. I know, first world problems. :D

  3. My Dad had the all black Electro 35. I have the silver one. You will be blown away with the IQ of this lens, I assure you!

    1. I’m pretty impressed so far. I think I blew the shutter pad already though, it stopped metering correctly in low light yesterday, a symptom of that little rubber pad finally giving out. I’ll prolly have to take it apart and replace it soon. Ah well, at least it’ll be done and good for another 40 years after I do that. Light seals are still good, though, and the rangefinder diamond is still nice and clear – which as far as I can tell from research are the main 3 issues that the Electro 35’s tend to have at this age.

      Heh, one thing: it’s weird to hear the tiny shutter noise after using mirror-flipping SLRs – gotta get used to not hearing the “clack” that tells me that the shutter actually fired :D

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