Point & Shoot

Yashica T2 Review: A Noisy Companion – by John Lee

Yashica t2

In my pursuit of a point and shoot film camera, I found myself drawn to the Yashica T series because of (A) the high-quality Zeiss lenses and (B) Contax Ts are way out of my budget. I ended up getting my hands on a Yashica T2 through an online auction and, luckily, the camera was in working condition, albeit with some adhesive residue which was easily wiped away with some nail polish remover. Thus, began my Yashica T2’s journey as my everyday camera, always ready for life’s peculiar moments or mind-numbing gridlock traffic.

The Quirks

I quickly learned of two major quirks when it came to the T2. Firstly, the camera will almost always decide to use flash, which is useful in some occasions, but I’m not particularly fond of blinding people on the street or ruining natural lighting.

To rectify this, one must press and hold the rubber “No Flash” button located atop the body. I should correct myself, though, because when I say, “press and hold” I mean “white knuckle death grip.” If ever I am lax with applying the pressure onto this button, I consequently find myself blinding a now bewildered passerby whom I tried to capture in a candid moment and whom I now also must sheepishly step away from.

Yashica T2

On the topic of alerting candid subjects, this leads me into the second quirk of the T2. This little number screeches with every press of the shutter release. It screeches twice, first to retract the protective plastic cover over the lens, followed by the loud whirring of the automatic film advance. Furthermore, when the whole roll of film is spent, cue a loud 30 seconds of whirring to fully rewind the film. I am uncertain whether this is an issue with my own personal model or is prevalent among others as well.

I may sound like I’m a bit disappointed in my Yashica T2 for these faults, and while, yes, these are somewhat annoying eccentricities of this camera, I can’t deny the enjoyment I’ve found in shooting it and the results it produces.

The Specifics

Like many point and shoots, the Yashica T2 is a fixed focal length lens camera with an automatic exposure system. The lens on the Yashica T2 is a 35mm which is a bit wider than what I’m used to using; normally a 50mm. However, for spur of the moment shots, the wider lens assures you can capture what you intended, though you may need to consider getting closer to your subjects if you feel the need to crop unwanted elements.

At f/3.5, this is not the fastest lens around, thus making it slightly more difficult for low light conditions, especially with the slowest shutter speed at 1/8th of a second. This is remedied somewhat by the built-in flash, but I personally found it to be lacking in the situations I used it. On the flipside, the max shutter speed of 1/500th of a second hasn’t caused me any issues shooting in well lit environments.

The T2 reads the DX coding on the film canisters to automatically set the ISO, with no manual override. Without a DX code it will default to to EI100. The only option you have if you wish otherwise rate a film is to recode the DX code yourself.

The T2 utilizes zone-focusing, with three regions with a range of 1 meter to infinity. This works well, though the focusing will often get mixed up on lighter subjects. This is coupled with a bright viewfinder complete with separate parallax correction frame lines for closer subjects.

The Yashica T2 Feel and Experience

As for portability, the T2 isn’t the most compact camera, but it is built to be stowed away in a bag or, as I personally do, in the inner pocket of a jacket. The recessed lens with sliding electronic cover helps to prevent any scratching or smudging of the lens while it’s not in use and it is still smaller than most SLR cameras, which is what I want in my normal everyday shooting when I’m not expressly lugging bulkier cameras in a bag. The T2’s right side also has a nice ergonomic hand grip, making it easy to just carry this camera around in your hands if you so desire.

Onto the most important aspect of the camera, the quality of the pictures. The lens is truly sharp and, in the right conditions, produces some amazing shots. After getting back my first few rolls from the lab, I was surprised how well a lot of my shots turned out. Admittedly, a few low light shots were blurry due to my clamping down on the “No Flash” button.

Final Thoughts

I find myself taking a long time to shoot a whole roll of film, especially without the explicit intent of going out to shoot on a particular outing, so my T2 often sits in the passenger seat or in my jacket pocket waiting for it’s time to shine. I briefly flirted with the idea of selling my it, but I’ve since learned to accept its peculiarities.

My Yashica T2 has become my sturdy traveling companion for the moments of my everyday life when the mundane suddenly becomes sublime, even though it screams for attention along the way.

Thanks for reading!

You can find me/follow me/send complaints to me at: Catalyst_jl

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Jim Grey
    February 3, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Your review reminds me of the experience I had with my T2: annoying to use in some ways but makes any film look great. It even made Kodak Gold 400 look good.

  • Reply
    Kirill
    February 3, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Great article, thanks for sharing!
    I’ve only put one roll through my T2 and was actually somewhat disappointed with the results: quite a lot of frames were pretty overexposed.
    I tried to look this up but there really isn’t much about the T2 online, so I’m not sure if the issue was down to the camera or me doing something stupid.
    Did you get any shots that were noticeably blown out with yours?

    • Reply
      John Lee
      February 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      I just went through some of my T2 shots and I only really got blown out shots on my flash photos. Most of my problems arose from some shaky snaps, usually in low light settings.

  • Reply
    Mike Kay
    February 3, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Try the T3 with the 2.8 lens. Super awesome, if you can afford one now that is. Prices have risen dramatically for anything after the T2.

  • Dan Castelli
    Reply
    Dan Castelli
    February 4, 2018 at 3:53 am

    If I remember correctly, there was a nice book published a few years ago. The photographer was a NYC cabbie, and he carried a T2 with him and he produced a great set of B&W photos taken as he drove around NYC. I had a copy in my classroom, but it disappeared without a trace.

    • Reply
      Gary
      February 4, 2018 at 7:31 am

      The taxi driver was David Bradford and be shot with a yashica T4. The book was called “drive by shootings.”

  • Reply
    Gregoire Huret
    February 4, 2018 at 11:23 am

    the photo of the white car in the night is lit ! love it !

  • Reply
    Alexander
    February 4, 2018 at 11:40 am

    A very useful review, thank you!
    I wonder whether the Yashica model «T2» was available in German speaking countries? E.g. in Austria (correctly, on Austrian www-sites) I cannot find many traces of the «T2», but one can find quite often a model called «T-AF» that happens to look extremely similar. — Are the «T2» and the «T-AF» the same camera, just labelled differently?

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      February 4, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      The T-AF is the first version

      • Reply
        Alexander
        February 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm

        Dear Hamish,
        you’re right of course. The T-AF is missing on , but my insinuated conclusion was hasty, and completely wrong of course. I should have used Mr Halgand’s Search engine, , with the criteria Camera Brand: Yashica, in conjunction w/ Lens Brand: Zeiss — there exist more models than I’ve thought.

  • Dan Castelli
    Reply
    Dan Castelli
    February 4, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks Gary! I knew there was a “T” somehow connected with the book. Speaking of which, I’m going to fix a cup of tea in a few minutes.
    BTW John, my favorites are the snaps of the street graffiti. Treat us to more shots.

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