Yet another flea market find

It happened again — I stumbled upon a point and shoot camera at the flea market. This time I found a Yashica T3. The price was right. In fact, I got it for free. I was also checking out a Smena 8M that was selling for 6€. The clerk gave the T3 to me as a freebie for buying the Smena. Not a bad deal and a good reminder of why I love flea markets. 

Just in case you haven’t been following the price trends of point and shoot cameras during the past couple of years, Yashica T3 is (along with Olympus MJU II etc.) one of those monstrously over priced “premium” 35mm film pocket cameras, that can easily sell anything between 100—300€. 


Here it is boys and girls: a god damn ugly piece of crap.

Honest opinion: Yashica T3 sucks

To be completely honest, I didn’t actually feel very fondly about the camera. I had it only for few weeks before trading it for another item so my time with it was rather limited. I really have mixed feelings with these kind of cameras. They’re fun to experiment with, but the main reason I keep buying them, is that I can potentially trade them to something else. Especially if it’s something as hyped as this. As you may remember, I also mentioned on my previous article, that I was sort of looking into a Nikon SLR camera. Incidentally, a friend of mine was selling his Nikon FE for a reasonable price of 60€. I gave it a new home, but I didn’t have lens for it. I ended up trading the Yashica T3 for a Nikkor 35mm f2 Ai-s lens, which was yet another great deal.


Zeiss f2.8 lens

Supposedly Yashica T3 is so highly regarded because it has a 35mm Carl Zeiss f2.8 T* lens. It is probably the biggest thing the camera has going for it. Sure — nice to have, but not perhaps worth paying a three figure price. For a low budget flea market find it is pretty awesome, but who would pay something like 300€ for it? Isn’t that enough money to buy something much nicer? Besides, there are hundreds of other point and shoot cameras that has great optics as well. There’s something not right about getting into point and shoots and pixel peeping at the same time. If image quality is a concern, who’d even look into point and shoots?

So ugly…

Build quality

Yashica T3 is pretty much just as plasticy and laggy as any other 90’s point and shoot camera. I was expecting a much more premium feel, but I was surprised to notice that wasn’t the case. Olympus MJU II feels like a Rolls Royce compared to Yashica T3. 

Design

I’ve never been a huge fan of the design and aesthetics of point and shoot cameras. I didn’t use to like Olympus MJU II, but now, compared to Yashica T3, I’m really starting to appreciate it. Yashica T3 is a rather ugly camera. There’s no design ideology behind it. It is also surprisingly big. Olympus MJU II on the other hand has a distinct design ideology and it is as pretty as a cute little soap box. The designers of MJU II clearly had some underlying goals in terms of user experience in mind, that they really wanted to achieve. The Yashica T3 on the other hand is just a brick with a Zeiss lens.

Shooting experience

I found the shooting experience to be somewhat numb. I was expecting the shutter to be more snappy and accurate and the mechanics to be faster, quieter and somehow more high tech. But no, it is just as mediocre as any 90’s point and shoot.

Yashica T3 has an interesting viewfinder option. In addition to the standard viewfinder, it also features a waist level viewfinder, that you could use in a similar fashion as shooting with a TLR camera. In theory you could do very stealthy street shooting with it, but since the camera has a loud film advance motor, it is going to be as discreet as a TIE-fighter. 

Surprisingly unwanted item for a cult camera

I made an interesting note about the Yashica T3. It is something of a cult camera and just as expensive as an Olympus MJU II. Or at least in the same ballpark. I was under the impression that I could sell it and have a long queue behind my front door in no time. Before trading it, I posted it on some sales groups on Facebook and absolutely no-one was interested in it. I think the worst MJU II craze has starting to settle already (finally) but you can still sell one pretty fast for a good price. Based on that, I thought I’d get rid of the T3 in no time. To my surprise, there was very little interest towards it and I didn’t actually get any real offers for it, until like three weeks later, after I forgot to take the sales ad down from marketplace. I just thought it would be interesting to mention. It’s clearly not as wanted as a MJU II, but still the asking prices are high. Eventually I got rid of it with the help of my good friends at kamerastore.com. They had the Nikon lens I wanted on the shelve and we made the swap.

Conclusion

As a bottom line, I’d simply say that if you like point and shoot cameras, Yashica T3 is an ok option, if you can find one for cheap. I’d never ever, how ever, recommend anyone to pay a top dollar for it. It is surprisingly generic 90’s point and shoot and not as premium as one would think, based on the high asking prices. It takes good images. It has ok optics, but just because it says Carl Zeiss, doesn’t, in my opinion, justify paying a three figure price.