The Japanese brand Yashica stirred up a great deal of excitement in the photo world in 2017 by teasing its return to the camera industry. In October 2017, it unveiled the Yashica Y35 digiFilm camera and raised over $1 million on Kickstarter. Backers are now receiving their cameras, and the initial reaction has been overwhelmingly negative.
Yashica’s many teasers for the Y35 camera told photographers to “expect the unexpected.” The camera turned out to be a minimalist digital camera that features pretend rolls of film that are used to choose your photo style, aspect ratio, and ISO combinations (instead of being able to do so in-camera).
While the concept may be novel and fun for people yearning for the look and feel of film cameras while having the convenience of digital, execution appears to have been lacking.
The Phoblographer reports that the project was the result of a Hong Kong-based company that picked up the iconic brand name, and that the Kickstarter campaign is now getting flooded with comments from many of the 6,935 backers who are seriously disappointed with the camera they received.
Of the nearly 4,000 comments that have been posted to the campaign page, a huge number are reports of poor build quality and badly thought out design details.
Here are some of the issues and complaints being shared:
- The camera turns off when the shutter is pressed
- The camera doesn’t even turn on
- The camera is plastic and cheaply made
- Camera parts are breaking and falling off
- Fake buttons molded into the plastic just for looks
- The camera is hard to hold while pressing the shutter
- Many backers have yet to receive their cameras and haven’t had any updates on the status
- Awful image quality comparable to cheap toy cameras for kids
- Incorrect labeling on the fake film rolls, resulting in mismatched photo styles
- Black-and-white photos coming out blue
- An unreliable shutter button that doesn’t always trigger a photo when pressed
- The shutter takes photos on the way up instead of when its fully pressed down
- A shutter button so stiff that it’s unusable
- The winding lever gets jammed and needs to be manually pushed back
- Stickers on the camera have bubbles and are defective
- Photos can’t be found after they’re captured
- Difficulty inserting digiFilm rolls into the camera
- Removing the lens cover caused the lens to separate from the camera body
- An included cable that isn’t compatible with the camera
- Photos are out of focus and distorted
The general sentiment seems to be that backers were expecting a faithful revival of the famous Yashica brand, but were instead surprised when they received a cheap and unreliable plastic camera with the brand name featured on the front. The price tag of $150+ also makes the failings of the camera difficult for backers to stomach.
Even though cameras are being delivered to backers, many commenters are still calling the project a “scam” for misrepresenting what the camera would be like. The company behind the campaign was responding to individual comments days ago, but it appears to have gone completely silent as more and more complaints are posted.
“Expect the unexpected,” “Yashica” said. Unfortunately, supporters probably weren’t expecting a camera that’s so unexpectedly bad.