The world's smallest mirrorless camera is being crowdfunded by a classic Japanese brand

Micro Mirrorless Yashica I'm Back camera and lenses in the hand
(Image credit: Yashica I'm Back)

Kickstarter projects under the legendary Yashica name are coming thick and fast. Following the Yashica Night Vision 4K binoculars in February 2024, we now have the world's smallest mirrorless camera, the Micro Mirrorless Yashica – I'm Back. And yes, that really is its name.

The Micro Mirrorless is a palm-sized interchangeable lens camera compatible with three new lenses. What's more, it can be adapted to work with a number of lenses from other brands, including Sony E-Mount – though you'll counter any of its compact-size benefits by going down that route.

Measuring just 1.97 x 3.03 in / 50 x 77mm, the Micro Mirrorless has a vari-angle screen that can be flipped around for selfies, and a complete kit ($399) will include a tripod / selfie stick, plus remote control, battery grip and the three lenses: normal, wide angle and telephoto.

The tech inside is pretty basic: it has a tiny 1/2.33 inch sensor that's the same size as those used in most low-cost smartphones, and that's how the camera and lenses themselves can be made so small. 

Still, its makers think it'll outgun your smartphone for quality, especially with its choice of three lenses. However, most modern camera phones are powered by smart computational image processing and come with multiple lenses, so I wouldn't expect the 12MP stills and 4K video capture to compete with those from your iPhone 15 Pro Max. It might be the smallest, but Micro Mirrorless is unlikely to be one of the best mirrorless cameras available. 

No, the real appeal in a camera system like this is in ditching your smartphone altogether, rather than beating it for outright quality, and the Micro Mirrorless looks like it has enough charm to tempt the point-and-shoot generation to do just that for capturing memories and travelling.

What's in a name?

It's important to distinguish what Yashica was and what it is now. The 75-year-old Japanese name in analog TLR and SLR cameras ceased production in 2005 and its branding has since been acquired and consequently used for projects such as this one, which appeared on Kickstarter in March 2024. 

We need to separate that classic name from this latest crowdfunding project as well as its 'world's smallest mirrorless camera' sell, to look at the product in development for what it is – a dinky camera with what will likely be poor image quality. After all, the 12MP 1/2.33 inch sensor it uses is the kind you'll also find in 2024's low-cost smartphones, and unlike phones it lacks the latest computational photography benefits.

Micro Mirrorless Yashica I'm Back camera with large DSLR lens attached

(Image credit: Yashica I'm Back)

Micro Mirrorless has different lenses in its favor, and the ability to adapt lenses from the biggest camera manufacturers (see above), although the size mismatch makes that a novel if silly exercise. It also has modern connections; USB-C and HDMI for use with an external mic, so there's enough going on to sink your teeth into.

Yashica isn't the only name here. We also have co-creators I'm Back, the makers of a digital film roll for analog cameras that has attracted a lot of interest, but the I'm Back Film project concept failed to convince me, even if the sentiment of breathing new life into your old 35mm analog camera is something I can get behind.

Set your expectations right around the new Micro Mirrorless camera, while remembering the fact that this is a Kickstarter project with no guarantee of delivery, and you could have a charming smartphone antidote that could provide a fun shooting experience. The project timeline pinpoints product delivery in November 2024 – let's wait and see if it makes it into the hands of backers. 

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Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.