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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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