Yashica I'm Back Micro Mirrorless compared to DSLR mirrorless size

Trends come and go. So, we’ll have to wait and see how long this one lasts. If it even comes to fruition.

But it looks like several companies are at least attempting to reach an emerging niche: the micro mirrorless camera.

One of the most well known brands to do so is Yashica. Per PetaPixel the company is teaming up with I’m Back (interesting name) to create a micro mirrorless camera called the Micro Mirrorless camera.

The Kickstarter campaign for the tiny mirrorless — “the smallest mirrorless ever invented!” — smashed its goal of $11,011, and now sits at over $270,000 USD pledged, funding in just 30 minutes. Pretty impressive, though admittedly the original goal was somewhat under ambitious to be sure.

Starting at just $239, the Yashica – I’m back strikes a strong impression despite its diminutive size (2 inches/50mm tall, 3 inches/70mm wide. That starter kit includes the camera, tripod and stick, USB-C cable, wrist strap and remote control. How companies make these sorts of retro tech products for so cheap I’ll never understand. (see retro gaming handhelds, and the emerging crop of inexpensive cinema lenses as other examples of we’re-all-going-to-hell type pricing).

Per the Kickstarter, it appears the marketing team is focusing on four segments of the market:

  • Vloggers and Content Creators
  • Photography Enthusiasts
  • Travelers Seeking Lightness
  • Users Preferring an Alternative to Smartphones

I suspect they could also add a fifth: those with aching backs fatigued from years of hauling around unwieldy cinema cameras, 5 pound lenses and a bag of V-Mount batteries across Sonoma.

Stark Insider - Arts, Film, Tech & LifestyleYashica – I’m Back

Key Specs

Sensor: 12Mega CMOS Sensor Sony IMX117
Dimension Sensor; 1 2,33 inch
H: 8,998 V: 7,556
Diagonal: 7,81
12.76 Mpx
Processor: Novatek
Video Resolution
2880×2160 /24fps
2560×1440 30fps
Picture Size: 12M
Video Format: MP4 H.264
Picture Format: JPEG Color, Sepia, B&W, RAW, RAW+JPEG
Storage Capacity: Micro SD Max 128Gb (not included)
USB Interface: USB TYPE-C
Display: 2.0″capacitive touch screen
ISO: 100 – 3200
Auto White: yes
Balance: yes
Auto EV: yes
Picture ip: yes
WIFI: yes
Support for Apple & Android
Remote control: yes
Battery: 3.7V 1.350mAh
Video recording, 4K resolution can only last 30 minutes, 2K playback 40 minutes, 1080P can last 50 minutes – and so on…
Type-c cable included
Price: From $239 USD
Availability: Kickstarter Campaign

In any case, the Yashica – I’m back appears quite well designed. Port-wise, there’s full-size HDMI (impressive!), micro SD for capturing files, and a USB-C port. On the rear there’s a flippy LCD screen. And at the top there’s a record button and shoe mount for accessories such as a shotgun microphone. The design is hip minimalist.

Also worth noting: this thing can record up to 4K video, and can even do 1080 at 60fps.

All well and good, but there’s a couple of interesting features I think that make this particular camera stand out from its competitive peers.

Interchangeable Lens Mount

Micro Mirrorless Yashica - I'm Back

The first is that despite this is a really small camera, it still has an interchangeable lens mount. Wow. That means you can swap out lenses depending on the project or look needed. As an aside this is a different strategy than the all-in-one viral street camera that is the Fujifilm Z100VI which has a fixed 23mm lens — and a much higher price point at $1,599.

At launch Yashica is making three lenses available:

  • Manual focus Wide Lens (Wide Angle) / 20mm equivalent on a normal 35mm camera (editor’s note: almost Poor Things approved!)
  • Manual focus Standard Lens (Medium) / 50mm equivalent
  • Manual focus Telephoto Lens (Telephoto) / 150mm equivalent

I like that these are all manual focus. To keep costs down autofocus was a casualty. A good one at that I say, as learning the essentials of basic photography is best done with complete manual controls. Like an aspiring chef, learn the tools before you get into the assisting technology.

In addition to the lens options, Yashica says there will also be an adapter coming to the store which will allow you to attach lenses made by Nikon, Canon, Sony and others. This will be especially great for users with existing collections of glass who want to travel with the ultimate in portability.

You can see an example of the Yahisca – I’m back micro mirrorless with the adapter below. Cuteness:

Nikon, Canon, Sony, and more

That Price!

The other thing that stands out here is, of course, the crazy low price.

For just $239 for the starter kit this strikes me as a compelling way to get into photography (and videography) without breaking the bank. You get just about everything you need. In fact, there’s even an optional EVF that mounts on the shoe should you want that instead of using the LCD screen.

As you grow into the hobby, you can buy additional lenses, or adapt to some cool vintage stuff from Nikon and Canon and others — that’s a whole rabbit hole right there to explore.

Obviously, there will be some compromises.

The sensor is a small one made by CMOS that produces 12 megapixel frames. So you’ll be limited in terms of cropping, magnification, etc.

Also the battery life is fairly limited. Per the Kickstarter page you can expect about 30 minutes when shooting 4K video. However, there’s an optional battery grip with capacity for two more batteries which should help a lot, at the expense of added size.

Do we really need a tiny almost toy-like camera like the Yashica – I’m Back?

Probably not.

But I’m thrilled that a iconic Japanese brand would bring such an innovative and interesting product to market.

In an era of increasing and generic smartphone dominance, it’s refreshing to see something that brings us back to basics.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear