35mm Compact Camera Photographer #23 – Anil Mistry

I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately – some of you will have an intimate knowledge of this feeling. Every single charity shop or car boot sale I go to has been yielding vintage camera goodies. So of course I’ve bought them. They’ve gone into a cupboard in my office that is now packed with cameras.

My wife pretends not to notice – like the thousands of jazz records that take up a wall in the living room, she understands that it gives me some pleasure, occupies me and stops me from staring into the abyss as I near my middling years.

So this lucky streak of mine has left me with a whole bunch of point & shoot cameras from the 80’s and 90’s – a shelf packed with state of the art Knight Rider era optics that scream “AUTO FOCUS!” at you to make sure that you know you’re holding the future in your hands.

The Olympus Mju, Mju ii, Minolta Af E, Ricoh Shotmaster AF Super, Olympus Trip AF 31, Pentax PC 35 AF-M, Canon Sure Shot Supreme – these just are some of the black plastic magic beans that I’ve sneaked home to add to my shelves whilst my wife looks away, probably muttering “sad little man” under her breath.

I love cameras. When I worked in TV I got to play with lots of production and post production equipment, working with both film and digital cameras and very expensive visual effects kit. It’s amazed me that this power is pretty much available in the home now to anyone with a Mac and the right software. So for the record I’m not a film snob. I love digital kit and how it can give you such a quick powerful workflow. I have digital cameras too – a Nikon D750 as well as a Fujifilm x70 and a bunch of fixed lens rangefinders (but that’s for another article).

I haven’t put a roll through all of my “magic beans” yet, but I’ve set a high standard for them to meet. The bearer of that standard – the king of the plastic point and shooters so far (in my opinion of course) is the Yashica T5.

The Yahsica T5

I’m not going to turn this into some technical review of this loved, hated and overpriced camera – more a list of reasons why I like it, and why I think it was worth the money I decided to pay for it (north of £200 for the record), accompanied by a bunch of pictures (Because that’s what counts to me) so here we go:

It always gives me a great image

I could take a picture of a crumpled up crisp packet on the pavement (and believe me I have) and it somehow comes out looking great- well metered and beautifully detailed

I love the way it renders colour

Whatever roll I have in there- even Poundland, it cll comes out really punchy with deep blacks- there’s nothing vague about a Yashica T5 shot

I love the flash

There’s nothing weak about the T5’s flash- it kicks ass, and gives images that high- contrast sexy look

It’s (relatively) quiet

-compared to the other P&S cameras I have, it has quite a muted sound, with no dumb beeps to tell you you’re out of focus

It can be subtle too

My Black and white shots come out great on the T5. It meters well and there’s lots of tonal variation

It just works.

If I’m spending £5 per roll and another £10 for developing and scans, I want to make every shot count. I want my money’s worth and I want to know that every shot I take has a half decent chance of being in focus and coming out looking good.

It feels great

It’s not so tiny it ‘s hard to use, and it’s not too big and chunky and covered with macho 90’s plastic moulding and stupid looking hand grips. It’s just the right size for what it does. End of.

The shots just look better than those off any other P&S I’ve used so far

Yes, I know there’s lots of others out there – and I’m currently waiting on the first roll from my 50p Mju ii to come back – but for me, so far, the T5 kills it.

I’ve added some T5 shots to this article that show what it’s capable of and why I love it. Every camera and roll of film provides a new way of looking at and rendering reality. Looking through a new camera viewfinder is like looking into another universe . Some you can’t tell apart, but some just have a certain something.  I love the world that the T5 creates. And for me (for this week at least, until one of my “Magic beans” comes through) the Yashica T5 is one of the special ones.

Th flash on the T5 is good- really powerful.
Th flash on the T5 is good- really powerful.

Great tonal variation.
Great tonal variation.

The T5 just takes good shots. Of anything.
The T5 just takes good shots. Of anything.


One of my favourite pics ever. The T5 takes glamorous shots.
One of my favourite pics ever. The T5 takes glamorous shots.

This was shot in total darkness
This was shot in total darkness

Even overcooked images look good!
Even overcooked images look good!

Colour is wonderful on the T5
Colour is wonderful on the T5

Beautiful detail.
Beautiful detail.



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8 thoughts on “35mm Compact Camera Photographer #23 – Anil Mistry”

  1. Great, concise little review. I love the T series, and got the original T*-AF in perfect virtually unused, boxed condition for only £25. Sadly, just as you sometimes get with those ‘one careful owner’ cars, when it started being used again it deteriorated rapidly and the electronics went completely haywire. I got a full refund but it was still pretty sad. I have several of the ‘poor man’s t4/t5s’, cameras such as the J-mini, AF-mini and minitec-AF, that cost between £5 and £25 on eBay. All of them are pretty good, though they all have the exact same yashica 32mm multicoated lens so there are no real surprises when getting the photos developed. The flash is really super on all of them and the lens is very sharp. The other good thing is like so many compacts of that era, they don’t have real full DX code reading capability so they set all film at either 100, for anything up to 400 or 400iso, for anything above 400. This is perfect as I use a lot of mid-noughties expired 200iso film.

  2. Very enjoyable review. I recognise the phenonemon of suddenly striking a series of compact finds in charity shops, and I’ve had the Yashica Minitec and J-mini etc. The lenses aren’t bad at all. However, I would so like to stumble across a very nice Yashica T5, but it’s not happened to me so far.

  3. The yashicas are becoming hard to find anywhere- punters can now just look on eBay and get an idea of what they have so the random find is getting harder and harder. In a few days my first roll of poundland Agfa from my mju ii will
    Will come back and I’ll see if that is worthy of the top slot…

  4. What a awesome atricle
    Had a good laugh. “staring into the abyss as I near my middling years”
    Shot for sharing Anil, and im really keen to see an atricle on how the mju ii’s photos look.

  5. The Olympus will give the T5 a run for its money. My two favorite compacts if all time. I’ve gone through most of them it feels like and having that said the T5 is the only one remaining.

    Got my T5 and 4 other compacts at online auction for $3, advertised as “junk”.

  6. Anil, a well written piece and those shots came out really well. I loved the blue flowers and the yellow ones. I really enjoyed reading about “Knight Rider era cameras” but for some reason it all became a bit of a blur after the words “my 50p Mju”……… Dude! No way!

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