Yashica Y35 with 1600 ISO DigiFilm module

Is The Yashica Y35 Really That Awful ? – Part 1/2

In 2017 a Kickstarter was launched bearing the name of Yashica, The resultant camera was much maligned before it even got to market and QC issues didn’t help once it arrived. It has become much derided.  But is it that awful and is it no better than a kid’s toy camera ?

I’ve done a fuller review of the Y35 here. I’ll readily admit it is not as good as it could have been but what was delivered was what was promised with a few exceptions and in some areas specc’d better. Its build quality is low and the sensor is just a tad disappointing but it can actually take alright shots if used correctly.

Uncritical Criticism

Others would disagree and whilst I don’t necessarily agree  with some reviewers, I don’t really have any beef with anyone who actually picked up the camera and used it (although some folk would have benefitted from doing a better test !!)

What bugs me are folk like Theoria Apophasis who decided to call the camera rubbish but never actually touched one. Often folk point to a series of videos by Point&Shot Club like this one. Now I get they were let down by a camera that seems to have hit the wall rapidly and I have no issue with them being angry about this. Like many who actually shot the camera, I however did feel their expectations were perhaps too high before it broke down.

But it’s folk like Theoria that really bug me.  I really don’t think its fair to call out something you’ve never tested and basically fill up your posts with other people stuff and wild conjectures

One of Theoria comments is that the camera was made from cheap  bulk bought 2MP  toy cameras from 2002 that were disassembled  and the sensor stripped out and used. Now that a bit of conjecture to make for someone whose never shot the camera or apparently made any reasonably sensible enquires about its spec. But hey ! in fairness here’s Theoria

The trouble with reviewing something you’ve not used.

Now the astute amongst you might have notice some flaws in Theoria’s wild conjecture. First that isn’t a 2002 2MP toy camera he’s holding. The camera is actually from much later. It also has a 0.3 MP (640×480) sensor (which may extrapolate to a higher count).

And funnily enough in 2002 2MP was a  standard resolution for many consumer digital,  not  toy class cameras. Take a look at the winners of the DIMA awards 2002. Most P&S winners were between 1.3-3.3 MP. Even the high end reached only 5MP.

There’s also the rather obvious problem that the Y35 has a 14MP sensor. Whilst the sensor has issues, it certainly is an extrapolated 2MP one.

But lets actually test out the Y35 in comparison with some different cameras including an identical toy camera to Theoria.

The Test Group

This is a 2 part comparison. In part 2 I’m going to make a comparison to some cheap but ‘proper’ cameras. But to begin with we’re going to take the Y35 up again 3 intended toy digicams and one not so intended toy

  • Lexibook DJ024 Minion Cam – near identical to Theoria’s
  • no brand mini digital – 0.1 MP
  • Dorr 2MP Mini Retro – a weirdly over specc’d toy cam
  • The cheapest ‘proper’ camera on eBay

But first the camera we’re comparing them to….

The Yashica Y35- a summary

My fuller review of this camera covers things in more detail. This a fixed focus beast with smartphone camera fixed aperture shooting. The camera is styled  like film camera and you’ll need to wind it on to use. You also need to insert film like cartridges which apply film like filter effects (e.g. B&W or 1600 ISO film).

Stop Noir
Yashica Y35 with DigiFilm B&W  module

Spec

  • 14MP 2/3″ CMOS sensor
  • Fixed focus 6mm fixed f/2 aperture
  • Power 2xAA
  • LCD – none
  • SDHC slot 
Wido Crichton
Taken with Digifilm 200 module

The  not so good things are the build quality, lag in shooting and the sensor is a bit of a let down for the price. It doesn’t cope with bright light well. But it does take reasonable shots if used correctly for what it is.

So lets look at the some toy cameras.

1 – The (not so) Despicable Cam – Lexibook DJ204

Lexibook DJ024 series camera

I picked up purportedly new unboxed one of these for a few quid off eBay. Lexibook make a shed load of kids cameras and this is an older model. It can be found in various (usually Disney) themes but what we have here is the Despicable Me variant (which dates this camera to around 2010).

Spec & Cost

  • 0.3MP (640×480 effective ) CMOS sensor
  • Fixed Focus
  • Built in storage ~8Mb
  • LCD: 1.44″
  • 2xAA batteries
  • USB micro connection
  • Video Mode
  • Web Cam 
  • Cost £4.95 + postage
20 zone
The best of the DJ024 shots blocky and with obvious fringing but useable

The DJ024 comes pretty close to Theoria’s Discovery Kid’s cam. No info on Focal length, aperture and shutter is available. It’s pretty easy to use. It allows you to change image resolution, quality and shooting modes (video, sequential). You can cycle flash between default off, auto and on. 

Johnstone house
More typical blockiness here

I was able to kinda get the driver and standard software installed and sort of working. Unlike most cameras it doesn’t show up as an accessable device when you plug it in. You need to use the dedicated software to transfer images over. Windows 10 allowed me to install it but it was slightly crippled so all images were automatically expolated to 1.3MP (1280×1024). That isn’t good as thing get quite blocky. The camera eats batteries and it’s memory wipes if they run out.

Other issues is the square LCD doesn’t match the frame and is laggy. Shame as there was potential here but nowhere as good as the Y35. That said it puts a smile on your face using one of these (although I’m not sure the Frozen version would suit me !).

2 – Toaster Ghoster – no brand mini digital camera

mini digital

This was the cheapest camera I could find on eBay and cost a mere £2.45 +postage. Looks closely related to the Vivitar mini digital and several other cameras of the ilk.

Spec

  • 0.3MP CMOS
  • Fixed Focus
  • Internal 1Mb sorage (18 photos)
  • power 1xAA
  • Simple LCD showing shot count/options
  • proprietary USB connector

Orginally a much bigger box than I suspected arrived. The company had goofed and sent me their 4 slice office toaster by accident. I resisted the other ‘alf’s comments we needed a new toaster and the camera finally came. 

And thats about all I can tell you. It works but but driver support ended with XP and no effort of fiddling has got it syncing.  Shame.

3 – Dörr 2.0 MP Mini Retro

Dorr 2.0MP Mini Retro Digital Camera
Yes that is a AAA battery

Dörr might ring a bell to some of you. They’re better known as a supplier of photographic accessories. This is the only camera they produce and it’s clearly a gimmicky toy.

Widow Crichton

Spec & Cost

  • 2MP CMOS
  • Fixed Focus
  • 1.8mm 1:2.8 lens
  • micro SD slot (mine had 4Gb san disc card)
  • Video mode
  • no LCD
  • Re chargeable internal Lithium battery
  • £19.95

This is tichy. I meany really titchy. It also is suprising well equipped being the only camera bar the mobile on test with a in-built rechargeable battery. Comes with a strap and mines had a branded 4Gb micro SD card which is worth over £10. Although there’s no LCD switching between modes is easy. The camera functions as USB drive if plugged in, needing no drivers.

Chapelcross

The bad news is the image quality is poor. Perhaps even worse than the Lexibook making me think there is a lower resolution sensor that is hardware extrapolating up to 2MP. It can’t do the dark and it can’t cope with bright light giving rise to black sun. All the shots look like they’ve had a naff art filter applied.  Although much bigger the Lexibook gives similar results for a lot less and you get a LCD. You have no real way of framing with the camera given the tichy faux viewfinder (Dorr recommenD holding the camera about 30cm out from your eye).

Torthorwald Castle

Not that we’ll focus on video here but any video recorded on this freeze frames after  a time although the audio continues.

Not great.

Shame as the rest of the camera is well put together

5 – The No-name ‘proper’ Camera

Noname Camera 2018

This was the cheapest purported proper camera on eBay. In reality it’s a webcam sensor dressed up to look like a camera. They even print the name ‘camera’ in big letters just so you know.

PIC032

Spec

  • 16MP CMOS allegedly
  • Fixed focus
  • 4.1mm 1:1.1 (on Camera)
  • 7.8mm 1:2.8 (in Manual)
  • 2.4″ TFT LCD
  • 3xAAA
  • Up to 8Gb SD support
  • Mini USB
PIC047

To call this bad is doing a disservice to things that are bad. It isn’t a 16MP camera unless I have a duff one. However at just over £11 I doubt it.  You get 1.2 MP images (1280×960) if you’re lucky and these are pretty awful looking with tons of artefact and softness.
The LCD is pretty poor, the controls awful and the menu options kinda toss a coin to see if they’ll work that way. The build quality is just worst I have ever seen. That thing that looks like a flash is just a really weak LED light. The camera has awful dynamic range and it is black sun time as well. Do I need to go on ?

PIC046

Of the 4 on test it does at least allow you to set the time properly (shame the menu struggles turning off the date stamp). The lens has quite surprisingly minimal radial distortion.

It does do HD video but awfully. Just use your phone, trust me it will be better !

Conclusions

So Theoria sorry ! but the sensor is a lot better than the low end toy cameras from 2010, let alone 2002 but hey you’d know that if you actually tested a unit !

That said whilst the DJ024 is a stupidly inadequate camera, it is still one that will bring a smile to your face. The image quality is terrible but there’s fun to be had here. The Dorr whilst incredibly small and over spec’d, just doesn’t match it. The alleged proper camera however is much worse in pretty much every dimension. Its also a complete fraud.

The Y35 wipes the floor with it and all of these cameras on test however despite its faults.

But how will the Y35 fare against some actual genuine cameras ? Part 2 will look at that including a real 2002 2MP camera.

5 thoughts on “Is The Yashica Y35 Really That Awful ? – Part 1/2”

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