My New Street Camera: The Yashica EZ F521

by Miserere


At least it will be by November! Yashica, known back in the 60s and 70s for their 35mm SLR and rangefinder cameras, have announced what to many looks like a toy camera: The EZ F521.

Yashica EZ F521At about the same size as an iPod (but 5 times thicker), this is a small camera; and with a weight of around 160gr (with 3 AAA batteries), you might not realise it’s in your pocket. The specs might appear unimpressive to those obsessed with numbers, but there is so much more to a camera that cannot be measured. Click on the photo for full specs, but here are the basics:

  • 5MP 1/2.5″ CMOS sensor
  • 42.5mm-equiv f/3 lens (plastic and glass elements)
  • Range: Normal shooting: 1.5m ~ ∞ / Macro: 20 ~ 40cm
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 2.4 inch LCD
  • Shutter speed: 0.5 – 1/2000s
  • Metering modes: National (thank you Google Translator!), multisegment, spot
  • Exposure compensation: ± 2.0 EV in 1/3 EV steps
  • Auto ISO (no info on ISO range available)
  • Video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 30fps
  • SD/SDHC up to 8GB
  • Menu languages: Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch

The manual focus is interesting. It is not exactly manual as it won’t have progressive focusing judging from the “range” entry in the specs and the icons next to the lens: a mountain and a flower, which generally stand for “landscape” (another way of saying “hyperfocal”) and “macro”, respectively. What I gather is there will be only two focusing ranges: In “normal shooting” the lens will be set to hyperfocal; in fact, the hyperfocal distance for a lens/sensor combo of these characteristics is a smidgen over 3m, so the in-focus area will stretch from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity, in line with the specs of 1.5m to infinity. In “macro” the depth-of-field will be 0.2 – 0.4m.

There is no information about the shooting modes available, so it’s entirely possible that exposure will be completely automatic, although I would appreciate having a manual mode so I can adjust shutter speed and ISO to taste. Given there is exposure compensation and selectable metering modes and white balance, I hold out hope for Tv and M modes.

What about that 5MP sensor? I love it! I bet it’s really cheap to manufacture a 5MP chip these days, and given the optics we’re dealing with, a higher resolution chip doesn’t make sense. Plus, with such a small sensor, keeping pixels this “large” might even give the camera some decent ISO range (i.e., it won’t suck above ISO 160).

The fact that it features a dinky little optical viewfinder in the corner made me happy. C’mon, it has to! If nothing else, it will save energy and make those batteries last longer (as long as there is an option to keep the LCD turned off). Did you guys notice the flash? That made me smile too. Look at it, all cute’n’little, sitting there on top of the lens optical axis,perfectly located to create the meanest red-eye you’ve ever seen.

What will this beauty cost? Β₯8,000 in Japan, a whopping $90, Β£57 or €61 (at today’s exchange rate). Given the amount of fun I can imagine having with one of these on the streets and at parties (where nobody will take you seriously holding this camera), that’s a bargain. This is recession-approved photography, my friends!

I believe the Yashica EZ F521 is intended for the Japanese market only, but I’m sure some bright spark will figure a way to sell them to the rest of the World through eBay. I can’t wait to get my order in. I’ll be sure to let you guys know what I think of it.

24 Responses to “My New Street Camera: The Yashica EZ F521”

  1. Wow, count me in πŸ™‚

  2. I really like the look of this camera and think I will get one myself.

  3. I clicked on this thinking this Yashica might have some interesting Zeiss glass.

    Interesting but I should probably wait until blesses it with ‘Highly Recommended (just)’ in it’s detailed review.

    I am not as optimistic as you are that it will offer non-sucky ISO 160. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the point with this camera. I find the option to up-rez in-camera to 12mp and use 3AAA OR 4 NiMH AA curious.

  4. I definitely want one!! If you find out how to get it please post on your blog.


  5. This does look fun, I’ll keep an eye out when I’m in Tokyo next month.

  6. That, my friend, is the digital equivalent of a Holga.

  7. Has anyone seen any images taken with it? It may look like a Holga, but how will it actually perform?

  8. Nicely put Dan.

    I usually don’t care to dream of buying a new body (mildly obsessed with glass right now…) but this is really really appealing. I don’t even do street and yet want one. And by golly if I can get one before my trip to India in Jan., that would be terrific!

    Mis- you are going to be the go-to guy regarding this camera, keep us updated!

  9. This is really neat. I’d love to see some pics taken with it. Can anyone throw up a nice link?

    • I have not found any pictures from this camera on the web, which is probably not surprising. It’s not like Yashica are sending out preproduction models to beta testers and the major camera review sites, you know? πŸ˜€

      I’ll be sure to post my photos and opinions once my unit arrives.

  10. Mine’s on preorder from Japan Exposures — where did you guys order from?

  11. Does the lens come off of this camera? I think I read somewhere it was some sort of screw mount. It kind of reminds me of the Fuji 6×7 and 6×9 rangefinders that used to be popular with some photojournalists in the late 60s and 70s.

    • Well…Some people seem to think you can use a screwdriver to take the lens off the camera πŸ™‚ I will let you know as soon as I receive it.

    • Don’t tell me Lithos on PF suckered you with that one πŸ˜€

      Anyone know if this lens is fixed aperture or not? If it is, maybe there’s no communication between lens and body which opens up some interesting possibilities. 1930s Leitz Summar on low budget CMOS sensor anyone?

  12. Hmmm, If the lens has a fixed aperture and focal length, it would be fun to get a group of people and set up some photo sharing days….lets say there are 5 people that get one. All 5 people will have say three days to capture their 3 best shots with it. 1 street, 1 land/sea/city/etc, scape and 1 misc image..Could be fun to see what we see through the same view finder and a great story for ETL.

  13. I wonder if I can convert one to screw mount . . .

  14. Hi,

    where in Japan did you get the EZ F521? I’ve looked all over Tokyo but found none yet.

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