I purchased an old Yashica Electro 35 GSN from eBay, about a year ago. This was part of my long term goal, to acquire many famous or significant film cameras from the 40’s onward. The Electro 35 I got for $20, though it did not work. (Granted, it is over 40 years old at this point.) I purchased knowing it would be my first foray into fixing cameras. Luckily, I know how to use a multimeter and a soldering iron.
I removed the bottom to discover two main issues. The first, the battery cap was corroded, as is commonly the case with cameras this old. The second, the negative terminal on the battery holder was completely disconnected. The pad of death, as it is referenced by many Electro 35 owners, was in decent shape. (The pad of death is used to interface between pushing the shutter button to activate the shutter, and the advance lever. This pad wears down, leaving the camera unable to release the shutter.) The light seals usually breakdown on a camera of this age, but I tested this with a roll of film.
I ordered some tools, and disassembled the camera, to gain access to the battery terminals. This was underneath the rangefinder component. With a little bit of soldering and some luck, I was able to get power flowing!
I spent the next two weeks shooting a roll of Tri-X 400. I tested the camera in a wide variety of lighting conditions, to make sure the meter was functional. When it came time to develop, lo and behold, there were good images! It appears the meter works well, and the lens is certainly unique. (A different look than the Leica.)
I’m very happy with this experience overall. I’ve never taken apart or tried to refurbish a camera before. It’s nice to have a cheap rangefinder in my arsenal now!
Here are a few of my favorite shots.