Dubious digiFilm: Yashica announces one of the weirdest products we’ve ever seen


posted Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 10:10 AM EDT


Update at 6:00 PM EST on October 10: During the course of the day, the Yashica Y35 digiFilm Camera Kickstarter campaign has not only been funded, but it has nearly tripled its goal. 

After numerous teases, including a couple we covered as part of our regular Shutter Release feature, Yashica has finally unveiled their latest project, and it's likely not what you expected.

The new digiFilm-equipped Yashica Y35 Camera is designed to act much like an analog camera but removes the need to purchase film. This is because the digiFilm system is, in fact, a digital camera. However, you do not have the same instant gratification of a digital camera as there is no display and no way to view your recently-captured images. The Y35 essentially marries the process of shooting film with the lower sustained costs of shooting digital. Of course, many people like being able to immediately view their captured images and have never lamented the death of analog, so obviously digiFilm is not the system for them. For those who miss film for its analog qualities and the "look" and "feel" of film, this is not the system for them either.

If you like the idea of choosing the right film for a particular style or shooting situation but don't want to deal with the finite nature of films and the work that is required to develop them, digiFilm might interest you. Instead of choosing films to put in your Yashica Y35 camera, you select digital filters that recreate a specific look. The camera only records with the filter of the digiFilm you have inserted and you have to "wind" the "film" before each successive shot.

The camera's sensor is a 1/3.2-inch CMOS sensor which captures 14-megapixel images through a 35mm equivalent f/2.8 lens. The minimum focusing distance is about three feet (a meter) and there are five selectable shutter speeds. The camera uses SD cards for storage and relies on a pair of AA batteries for power. The "films" available include ISO 1600 high contrast, ISO 400 black and white, ISO 200 ultra fine and 120 format (6 x 6) at ISO 200.

Yashica black and white digiFilm with a sample image

Whether you view the use of this "faux film" as creatively inspiring or an unnecessary nuisance will naturally determine how you view the Yashica Y35 and the digiFilm system. So far, the project is quickly approaching the halfway point of its goal on Kickstarter with well over a month left in the campaign, so there appears to be interest in this strange new camera (which is a good thing!).

Until about 6:00 AM EST on October 11, you can back the project for $124 and get a Yashica digiFilm Y35 camera of your own. If you want all the films, you'll need to pledge about $150. After tomorrow, the prices will go up slightly. Delivery is expected to begin next April.

Yashica digiFilm Y35 Camera Kickstarter

[Editor's note: Hmmm.... so, it doesn't print film (like Instax) and it doesn't have onboard film simulations (like the X100 series) and instead you insert a digital filter that looks like a film canister? Or, does the canister of "film" actually have anything analogue in the path, like a real filter perhaps? We are trying to wrap our heads around this thing, and want to like it, but are just not sure where the "umph" is coming from. Winding it up, that sounds kinda cool... but are you even winding anything, except a "dummy" switch? Hmmm.... our readers will want to help us out with this one.... you know who you are, help us get to the bottom of this thing by chiming in down below in the comments section! Is this the next cool thing, or just really weird..... tell us what you think!]