It started off as what many have believed as a belated April Fools joke: A single image of three rolls of Yashica color 400 speed film. Photographers were quick to point out several issues with the image: One: a render where the film seems to be photoshopped and poorly pasted on to the canisters. Two: pointed out by Emulsive, is the DX code on the rear canister seems to be coded for ISO 200 rather than the labeled speed for 400.
However, I believe there are a couple misleading things here and a few clues photographers missed and they’re sniffing on the wrong scent. What the heck am I talking about? After speaking with the photographer that shot the only published images of the Yashica 400 speed film, I’ve done some additional digging and I believe Yashica is not getting into the film game and it’s all a publicity stunt… for something bigger.
After speaking with the photographer, we learn this film is a 27 exposure film. For anybody that that’s been shooting film for a long time would know that 27 exposure film is commonly found in single-use cameras and it’s been a while Quick Snaps were in 27 exposure rolls and these images seem to be far too saturated for Kodak emulsions.
Now, I really would not expect Yashica getting into the film game with expired single-use rolls of film since it does not seem viable business plan, let it be alone possibly rebadged Fujifilm. We’ve seen companies trying to private label film and it does not bode well for them. With that being said the first clue: The image Yashica posted seemed a bit off… the photographer listed the camera and lens used: a Pentax Spotmatic F with the Takumar 50mm f/1.4. However, the hashtags say something different: “#yashicamf1.”
The next part, an instagram page, much smaller than Yashica, has posted similar images prior to Yashica’s posts: “@escurainstant60s.” Earlier posts detail 400 speed film labeled as ‘tester’ which also carry the same grooves at the top spindle with geared teeth, a signature indicator originating from a single-use camera.
So, what the heck is Escura? it is a manual, hand-cranked, Instax camera built by a company called CARBON. This company specializes in making cameras with a fully funded IndieGoGo campaign. And despite its most recent images of film canisters I don’t believe they’re in the business of making film.
I believe the team that built the Yashica Y35 got the boot for an incredibly unsuccessful campaign and started Yashica on the wrong foot for a jumpstart of the newly licensed company. I believe Yashica is now looking for small organizations that have successful concepts they can acquire to build their next version camera. And I believe the signal Yashica is giving is, a new 35mm film camera, not 35mm color negative film.
Looking back at Yashica’s hashtags and speaking to Emulsive, the Yashica MF1 is one of the simplest cameras Yashica built. So, for Yashica to seek out companies that has built simple cameras with little to no electronics may seem like a possible outcome.
If Yashica decides to double down on making a camera, they really need to step out and acknowledge the 800 pound gorilla in the room… apologizing for the Y35 before moving forward with any future camera endeavor.
I will give them the benefit of the doubt and hope they make amends with the photographic community and hope they’ve learned their lesson with the Y35 and properly build a solid, NEW, 35mm camera the film photography community desperately needs. However, I believe they’ve done a disservice to the iconic brand and they have a lot of making up to do to prove their worth to the photographic community.
Don’t let us down Yashica.
Host and Executive Producer for Studio C-41