Saturday, October 21, 2023

Spotlight: Yashica T2


The Yashica T2 is a 35mm point and shoot camera from 1986. I bought mine last month as part of an auction lot that also included a Panasonic portable DVD player. I obviously purchased the lot for the Yashica, but I've actually loved being able to watch my Tales from the Crypt DVD's on the go! 

The T2 is pure 80's plastic fantastic goodness. I think the only piece of metal on the camera is the screw on the battery compartment door. However, housed inside this lovably ugly hunk of plastic (this thing ain't winning its user any style points) is a wonderful 35mm f/3.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens. The question is, can the camera focus properly to take full advantage of such a nice piece of glass? 

Being from the mid-80's, the autofocus on the T2 is not the most accurate. The camera tells you the general distance it's trying to focus at when you half press the shutter. It does this by displaying a light-up symbol of a person (1-2 meters), a group of people (2-4 meters), or a mountain (4 meters - Infinity) in the viewfinder. I found my camera often wanted to focus at the furthest distance even when I was pretty close to my subject. I often had to half press the shutter two or three times until it displayed the distance symbol I thought was appropriate. If the camera does nail the focus, which is a bit of a toss up, images are quite sharp. 

The shutter and winder create an absolute cacophony of nostalgic photographic noises each time the shutter is tripped. One nice touch is that the camera will not wind to the next frame until the shutter button is released, which cuts the amount of noise in half if you're trying to be a little sneaky. The lens has a  semi-transparent plastic cover that slides out of the way at the moment of exposure. This protects the lens against scratches and dust. 

The T2 has a built-in flash, and its pretty weak. With ISO 100 film (which is what I used) it only reaches as far as 2.5 meters. I took some photos at night, and was a little shocked when most of my group shots came out very underexposed, even though my subjects were fairly close.  At least the T2 offers a decent amount of control over the flash. There's a "No Flash" button to make sure the flash does not fire, as well as  a "Day Light Flash" button you can press to force the flash to fire in sunny conditions for some fill. 

Besides a ten second self-timer, there are no other controls on the T2. Overall it's a simple camera that's easy to use, as long as you don't mind babysitting the autofocusing mechanism a bit. I'm fairly happy with the photos I got using Kodak T-Max 100 film that expired in 1996. Check out my results below!