As I mentioned in my last post about the Yashica Electro 35 CC, I use a lot of fixed lens rangefinder and zone focus cameras, most of which were made between the late 1960's and mid 1970's. After the mid 70's the design of these cameras started to change. Several manufacturers were developing autofocus cameras, of which the first mass produced was the Konica C35 AF, released in 1977. By the early 80's autofocus point and shoots would be fairly common. In the mid to late 70's several cameras were released that were transitional models, they didn't have autofocus yet but did have auto exposure and built in flashes. These cameras are not well remembered today, possibly because they lacked the manual exposure controls that many of their predecessors had. I own two of them, the Canon A35 F and the Yashica 35 MF but I suspect there were many more.
At some point I stumbled across this incredibly informative review of the Yashica 35 MF. As the author states, there is very little information about this camera online.
My interest was piqued and I bought one for about $35 on eBay. I was immediately struck by the handsome design, in particular the decision to put the rewind knob on the bottom, making the top appear very smooth and uncluttered. The camera has the typical 4 zone focus settings: 1 meter, 1.5 meters, 3 meters and infinity. Exposure is completely automated, you see the F stop the camera selects in the viewfinder but there's no shutter speed information. The range of shutter speeds is 1/60 - 1/250, which means that like the Yashica Electro 35 CC you run the risk of overexposure when using 400 ASA film in very bright light. To enable the flash you need to simultaneously press the button on the front of the camera while turning the knob on the lens barrel. It sounds cumbersome but is actually very easy once you know it.
I've shot 9 rolls with it so far and my conclusion is that it's a great little camera. The lens and metering are very good and the flash works well, particularly in dim light where it would be hard to focus. One word of caution, I'm not sure if this is true of the camera in general or just my model but when I load the film in mine the rewind knob will turn when advancing to frame one but not after that. I wasted part of my first roll because I rewound the film mid-roll not knowing if it was advancing. When I got the film back I saw that it had advanced properly. Going forward I've been using the rewind knob to remove any slack in the film when loading and then trusting that the film is advancing. It's worked well so far.
Below are some are the best shots I've taken so far with the Yashica 35 MF.