Lens: Yashinon-DX F1.7 45mm Amber coated, fixed
Shutter: Stepless Leaf, Copal Elec
Meter: CDS, lower center weighted, body mounted
ISO range: 25~1000
Battery: PX32 Mercury, substituted with LR44x4
Focal range: 2.6′ to infinity
Lens made in Japan, Body made in Hong Kong
Sold for $119 (1975), $576 (2019)
Purchased for $20USD (2018)
What type of role does this fill within my collection? It's an odd consideration. You'll see that word repeated a lot on this page. Odd. Bigger than an SLR, less control than a manual camera, no interchangable lenses, not as fast relative to other auto cameras. Nevertheless, the Electro is an unmistakably full-sized camera.
This is a pretty substancial rangefinder. Bigger than the Olympus OM series and comparable to conventional SLRs. Weight-wise it's a tad top-heavy, but overall handling is decent enough for comfortable neck carry. The metering system is well-renowned and activation is through the half-press of the shutter release. Doesn't activate when the shutter is not cocked. The release itself is agonizingly long, must be around 5mms. The feel of the camera is fine. Shutter release lock feels a bit loose, but the leaf shutter is very quiet. Focusing and changing shutter speeds is smooth but not that tactile unlike OM lenses. While it is an attractive camera, the controls layout aren't elegantly laid out, a result of the Electro series going through numerous revisions. Overall, solid feeling with a few brow raising components, not bad for a popular budget consumer camera.
The rangefinder is one of my main gripes however. It's bright and huge with lots of space out of frame, but the focusing patch is a pitiful diamond oriented horizontally. Good luck trying to focus on something like grass. Sort of antithetical to an otherwise fast, automated shooting experience.
This insane individual retrofitted a shutter speed dial. Wonder if it can run off no batteries?
4/9/19 While it may not be the fastest camera for street photograpy, it is a fairly brainless experience. Just choose your aperture according to the conditions, half-press check if you're right, focus, and shoot. It should be a great complement to slide film if the meter isn't fucked up.
9/12/19 Parallax within 5 feet is very noticable, probably more than the C35. Just something to keep in mind. The Electro GS (Predecessor of GSN) I fingerblasted at Nakano Broadway was also very heavy, a noticable improvement. And the lens is great, rivals anything else I own.
I sold this camera. The lens is stunningly sharp in a nice focal range, but not even my sentimentality could shake off the experience of using it. The blocky film advance, the hollow-sounding top plate, the agonizingly long shutter release, the pitiful focusing patch: It all accounted to a camera that performed spectacularly well after enduring the medicore ergonomics. And its existential incongruencies as a large camera without manual controls, nor automated exposures just didn't sit well with me. I promised that I would never own a camera I wouldn't use, and the Electro unfortunately fits neatly within those parameters. Farewell.