Running AustralianAnalog has been nothing more than a fascinating experience with the plethora of cameras I get to test. But after a while, namely point & shoot cameras, you start to find your excitement withering away. Each camera feels like a brick of plastic. Simple, light and easy to use with an expected average end-result with nothing to spur you on.
So when the Yashica T2 landed on my laps, it sparked something I haven’t felt in a very long time.
The Yashica T series is legendary for its most attractive feature: the Zeiss Tessar lenses and the famous T* coating. This skyrocketed the T Series from being just another point & shoot to a more premium offering. So what is the T2? It’s the 2nd release of the T Series and with each iteration, it built upon the previous design and so did the price with the T4/T5’s (made famous by Terry Richardson) ranging at around the $620+ depending on the condition.
The T2 is an automatic plasticky camera with programmed auto-exposure and auto focus. How easy to use, right? The autofocus is reliable, whilst pushing the shutter button halfway will lock in the focus, the distance of which is shown with icons of one person (1-2m), a group (2-4m) and a mountain (4m-infinity). The Yashica T2 also accepts film speeds from ISO 50-1600 film and boasts shutter speeds ranging from 1/8-1/500 seconds with the option of a self-timer. With the flash, it allows the option for “no flash” and one for “daylight fill flash”.
Shooting with the Yashica T2 is one of the most ridiculously pleasing point & shoot experiences I’ve ever had. The autofocus is instant. The shutter button is delightfully smooth and responsive. The moment you click the shutter, the motor whirrs and roars in your hands, trembling ever so slightly. Within seconds, it’s ready for more. Before you know it, you’re towards the end of your roll. It definitely makes one a very trigger happy shooter. With the Yashica T2, you literally don't think about anything other than what catches your eye. Here's some photos I took with it.
So what are some things I didn’t fancy about the Yashica T2? Well firstly, the sound of the film whirring will betray you in the streets if you’re trying to be indiscreet. It’s loud. Loud enough to capture people's attention. Secondly, I didn’t fancy the fact I had to manually hold down the “no flash” when shooting without the flash. Lastly, a personal quip is the auto-exposure and auto focus. Although it’s a breeze to use and makes shooting so much more quicker, you really have to put in a lot of trust with the camera to deliver the results you want. Will it? For me it did, but it’s still nice to be the one in control when the lighting situation gets difficult.
It was a refreshing experience shooting with the Yashica T2. Having no control kept me rooted in the moment - absorbing the atmosphere I’m in and ensuring I won’t miss capturing any moments. The feel, although plasticky, felt somewhat ergonomic in my hands and easy to handle. Finally, the whole hype behind the Yashica T series is the lens and personally, I feel like it delivered. Sharp, gorgeous photos that would put some SLRs to shame. The images were more sharp and delivered better colours than the popular Olympus MJU series. Of course though, you’ll sacrifice the zoom capability, panorama mode and pay a bit more for the T2.
So is this a camera I’d recommend to all? Well if you want to have control of your artistry, then this may be worth a pass. But if you want a simple point & shoot which unlocks and frees your shooting style but also delivers a stunning image, then the T2 is for you.