5 Yashica T4 “Rainy Day” Frames – By Dave Powell

By Dave Powell

The Yashica T4 point-and-shoot needs no introduction. It– and the T4-Super/T5– are legendary for the “character” of their photos. Quite a few years ago, I found one marked $1 at a yard sale, and couldn’t walk away. I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

Then in September 2017, Kate and I were preparing for our first trip to Iceland. We’d heard that autumns there were usually rainy and cold. So we bought foul-weather gear, and needed to test it.

By fortunate coincidence, two weeks before departure, cold drenching rains swept across Massachusetts. Perfect for testing waterproof jackets and pants! And while being drenched, I decided to run a roll of Fujicolor 200 through the T4. Why not?

Not Waterproof? No Problem!

The camera is thought to be a little water-resistant. But since it isn’t a labeled Super Weatherproof model, I lined my jacket pocket with a dry dish cloth. It would absorb any moisture that hit the camera during its brief excursions from my pocket.

The cloth worked beautifully, and the camera passed its ordeal with flying colors. So too did my rain gear– except for the “water-resistant” shoes. Replaced those.

A Well-Known Quirk

The T4 has a well-known quirk that initially bothered me: it always turns on with flash enabled. I never ever use flash, and got used to thrice mashing the camera’s lightning-bolt button at every power-up.

Then I brought the film to the drug store. It had been a while since I’d used their developing, and I didn’t request negatives. So their lab returned a photo CD, which turned out to be fine.

The T-series goes for big bucks in online markets, and I planned to sell the camera. But the instant I saw the digitized images, I knew I’d keep it for future trips. Though shot on a rainy, gray, New England day, the photos were lovely. They exhibited a special glow… even in a deeply shaded close-up of old lichen on wet stone.

NOTE: The Carl Zeiss lens’s subtle vignetting may have contributed to the effect. But flash didn’t. To be safe, I’d covered it with electrical tape.

Five Soggy-Day Frames

Here are my five favorite shots from that water-soaked walk:

Muted pastel autumn landscape in the rain Wet stone wall with red leaves Yellow leaves on tree and ground Close-up of old lichen on a wet stone

TIP: It may be hard to believe, but I really didn’t use flash! Nor did I  post-process these images. While shooting, I deliberately positioned myself to take maximum advantage of ambient light reflecting from wet surfaces.

The Yashica T4 may not be waterproof. But it certainly seems to love the rain. And after seeing these photos again, I think it would be grand to have it in Paris, on a drizzly spring or autumn day.

NOTE: During the trip to Iceland, our rigorously tested foul-weather gear went unused. People were strolling Reykjavik streets in T-shirts and shorts. It was the most unusual week of warm, dry, fall weather our guides had seen in a long time. And after we left, cold torrential rains returned.

–Dave Powell is a Westford, Mass. writer and avid amateur photographer.

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About The Author

By Dave Powell
Trained in mathematics, physics, cosmology, computer programming and science journalism. Retired mathematician, award-winning technical and journalistic writer. 1989 winner of the Bruce B. Howat Award-- an international business-journalism equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. (Only one Howat was awarded each year, IF the committee in Geneva found an article they really liked. But I don't think the prize is granted anymore.) Also a past author and editorial advisor for Sesame Street... where I regularly worked with Jim Henson and Kermit!
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Ted Ayre on 5 Yashica T4 “Rainy Day” Frames – By Dave Powell

Comment posted: 13/11/2022

Yeah these are great photos Dave! Love the vibe you've got from Fuji C200 as well. Proving that you don't need a Nikonos to shoot in the rain (haha!) just wipe down the camera and give it time to reacclimatise later.

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Dave Powell replied:

Comment posted: 13/11/2022

Thanks so much Ted! At the time you were sending your comment, I was adding a tip about why the images look like they do without flash. Everything was so wet, that I always positioned myself to get maximum effect from light reflecting from surfaces. I was floored at how well that little trick worked!


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