Point and shoot film cameras are often also called compact film cameras. But, despite not being all that compact, the Yashica Auto Focus is an interesting beast.
Yashica Auto Focus technical specification bits and pieces
Despite my introduction, this camera is hardly large. It does have a kind of SLR feel to it – it’s about the physical size of an Olympus OM film series. However, due to it’s plastic body, it feels quite light – even with it’s two AA batteries loaded (390 grammes without). It is certainly less bulky than the previously reviewed Canon Canonet.
There were a variety of models of Yashica Auto Focus camera built. The one I have appears to be the first of this series and is the ‘no-frills’ edition with a manual film wind. The Yashica Auto Focus has a 38mm lens (an interesting street photography field of view, in-between the more usual 35mm and 50mm), comprising of three elements, with a minimum focus of 1.1 metre. The aperture ranges from ƒ2.8, down to ƒ19 and shutter speeds vary from from 1/60 to 1/360. The film ISO/ASA settings range from 25 to 500 and are manually set.
Using the Yashica Auto Focus camera
For the most part, this camera does what it says on the box and it has some interesting features. Images are composed using a basic bright frame viewfinder. It has a focus lock button, which is nice for focus and recompose situations (something that I use often with digital cameras). One, somewhat eccentric, focussing feature is that the camera attempts lets you know what it has focussed on after you have taken the photograph. This is done by the use of a little dial on the front, to the side of the lens, which indicates four levels of focus – 1.1 metre, 1.5 metres, 3 metres or infinity.
Another interesting function, is that the shutter will lock if there is not enough light (less than EV 8). I thought the camera was broken, until I worked this out. A red light will also show in the viewfinder, requiring the use of the pop-up flash to get the shutter to work again. I wasn’t able to locate an override for this feature. One final point I discovered, is that the camera’s auto-focus and exposure continues to work whilst the lens cap is off, which can drain the batteries.
I like the SLR ‘feel’ of the Yashica Auto Focus, alongside its lightness and ease of use. I have also been looking for an approximate 40mm lens length, so this fits the bill. It’s a very basic camera, but then, it is a point and shoot. Perhaps it’s not pocketable enough and I doubt that I’ll be using it very much. But, despite some rotting of the light seals, it has survived more or less intact.