Why the Yashica Y35 Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think It Is

Before I launch into why the nearly unanimous (in my circles, anyway) criticism of the recently announced Yashica Y35 is jumping the gun a bit, let me make one thing clear: I’m not a customer of this product. The current technology doesn’t appeal to me, the materials don’t appeal to me and I’m not in the market to invest in a new digital camera. But all that aside, I can still look beyond the frustrated masses and see why the Yashica Y35 is a more significant announcement than it’s getting credit for.

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The Leica M9 is Good, But Not Great

I think it was probably New York City that changed it all for me.  I’ve known of Leica and I’ve known of the rangefinder style of camera in general, but it never had the allure to me that it did for other photographers that I knew. Then I went to New York City for a weekend last September to attend NYCWLK. Amongst the Pentax, Hasselblad and myriad other cameras were a few Leicas, both film and digital. Free from the confines of having to spend $3,000+ to hold one, I tested some out. I adjusted the focus, and the moment the rangefinder patch came together was the same moment it clicked for me as well.

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Thanksgiving with the X-T1

My first trip with the X-T1 was a great success! It's just as light and portable as my Panasonic G6 was and in the case of the lenses they're even more portable since they're both primes. I always seem to have this dilemma the night before a trip: I'm sitting in front of my Think Tank Airport Essentials bag looking over my gear and wondering, "What exactly should I bring on this trip?" I have the 35mm film cameras and the X-T1, but then I wonder if I should bring along the Pocket Cinema Camera for video. Now we're talking about a tripod and maybe a slider and...ugh...you know what? Just the X-T1 it is. Pop on the 18mm, bring along the 35mm and let's just GO. 400 pics later, I was glad I didn't bring just the film cameras!

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The Switch: m43 to Fuji X

Alright, time to come clean: I’ve switched camera systems. I know, I know, I can hear it now: “But Rob, didn’t you read your last post about fighting GAS and how your m43 kit was just fine?” And the answer is an emphatic YES! I know that my m43 kit was just fine, but that’s it: it was only “just fine”. This actually all started when I purchased a second hand X100s. It was meant to be the camera that would be my “once in a while” camera and would be my insight into the “Fuji look.” Instead of becoming a silent addition to my kit, the X100s showed me some stellar details and colors in files that made me take notice when compared to what I was getting natively from the G6. Around the same time, I got into the 35mm film camera world and once I was used to an all manual camera, going back to the G6 and it’s myriad of controls and buttons felt awkward. This was the first sign of trouble for my m43 kit.

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Stepping Back to Film

Put yourself in my shoes for a moment: suddenly my camera’s playback screen wouldn’t work. I had no level, no histogram, no composition indicators. My autofocus stopped working, I couldn’t change ISO and I suddenly only had the ability to take 24 shots, not 2400. I wasn’t using my micro four thirds kit though - in this case I was using a late 1960’s film SLR camera called the Mamiya 500DTL, and it unlocked something that I had been missing in my photography up to this point.

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