Vintage Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder camera kit, $5.

Yashica introduced the Electro 35 camera in 1964, and the last version of this camera - the GSN - was made from April 1973 until January of 1987. So, by the time the Electro 35 had evolved to this model, millions of these great cameras were in use all over the world.

The first thing you may notice about the GSN is that it's a rangefinder camera, which means that instead of looking through the lens at your subject, as you would with a contemporary 35mm SLR camera, you have to peer - and focus the lens - through a little viewfinder window. Rangefinder cameras were the 'in thing' before the SLR took over the consumer photography market in the 1970's. I'd bet that many yard sale shoppers see these old rangefinder cameras and think 'old, obsolete and worthless.'

My goal here is not to dissect this little camera and describe all its attributes in painful detail, because you don't have to know all that to make money in this area. What you should know is that this particular camera - the Yashica Electro 35 - is renowned in the world of photography for taking what many people consider to be the most beautiful pictures you can take with a handheld 35mm camera. Is it because of the incredibly high quality optics Yashica used to make the camera, or maybe the shutter system used in this camera? Well, I don't know. All I can tell you is that many photography buffs on eBay are very aware of the fact that this camera is capable of taking great photos, and will be waiting to bid on it. Besides, if I was really curious about the intricacies of this camera, I could find out more than I ever cared to know about it with a simple Google search for 'Yashica Electro 35 GSN.' My job here is to learn to spot the little jewels that you can turn into profits.

This Yashica camera brings to mind an important concept that you'll encounter over and over in this fascinating business. Very often, you'll find yourself standing there holding something that appears at the moment to be nothing more than an odd little doodad you know nothing about. But your subsequent research reveals that in its respective field, the little nondescript doodad that meant nothing to you is well-known, loved and sought-after by everyone familiar with its particular field. The longer you're in this business, the more often you'll find this happening.

The problem with many older cameras like this one is that over the years, some of the rubber and foam gaskets and seals tend to disintegrate, various parts and pieces start to fail, and batteries (many of which are hard to come by nowadays) die. In general, these older cameras can be the proverbial 'pig in a poke' for the camera buyers on eBay.

So, I have a choice to make here. I can sell the camera 'as is,' which will guarantee a lower closing price, or I can actually prove to my potential bidders that it really does work by running a roll of film through it and displaying the prints in the auction along with the camera. A roll of 12 exposures costs me 77¢ at Walmart, and 1-hour developing is another $2.75. So, for about $3.50 I was able to prove prove to my potential bidders that this little Electro 35 GSN is ready to go out and take some great pictures!

This little Yashica Electro 35 GSN sold on eBay for $81.

Photo of Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder camera