The Yashica T4 Review: Everything You Need To Know

I’ve been lucky enough to work with quite a few Yashica T3, T4 and T5s over the last few years and I’ve discovered the positives and the pitfalls of this unbelievably sharp point-and-shoot. I understand everything you want to know, how to use it, what film to use with it and the common issues that may arise with it to name a few.

The Yashica T4 is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras available. The Carl Zeiss lens is brilliantly sharp and the autofocus is consistent. The Yashica T4 is recognised in the photography world as a top camera, used by fashion photographers, street photographers and many more due to its quality. There are only a handful of point-and-shoot cameras that surpass the Yashica T4 and most of those are double the price of it.

There are a lot of things to consider if you’re looking to buy the Yashica T4 and I’ll use all of my experience to help you make the right decision for you!

When Was The Yashica T4 Released?

The Yashica T4 was released in 1990, meaning most models are around 30 years old. Its predecessor, the Yashica T3 was released in 1988, the T3 was bulkier and ‘uglier’ in many peoples eyes but today I think it’s look is fantastic. The Yashica T5 AKA the Yashica T4 Super was released in 1995, very similar to the T4 but slightly bigger, more weatherproof and sporting a scope on the top.

What Are The Yashica T4s Specs?

Exposure system: Auto-exposure
Shutter speed: 1s to 1/700
Flash: Integrated
DX coding: ISO 50-ISO 3200
Autofocus: Active AF, three-point infrared
Battery: CR123A (6V)
Measurements: 116.5mm(l) x 63.5mm(h) x 37mm (d)
Weight: 170g (Without Battery)

What Kind Of Photography Is The Yashica T4 Best For?

The T4 can be used for Street Photography, Fashion Photography, Travel and Nightlife Photography, Documenting Daily life and many other styles.

In many ways, it depends on what you want your images to look like. The T4 has a fixed focal length, so your images will always have a focal length of 35mm (slightly wide but not distorted). The 3.5 Zeiss lens will provide beautifully sharp images and the camera can focus as close as 30cms which makes it brilliant for portraits. This is the ideal camera if you want a reliable, consistent, high-quality look to your images.

How Much Is The Yashica T4 Worth In 2023?

The Yashica T4 is worth around $550-$600 (£400-450) currently. Of course, you can find them for less but this is the typical price for a fully working T4 in good condition. There are a few common faults that you should look out for which I will address later in the article.

The Yashica T4 is worth around $550-$600 (£400-450) currently.

What’s The Difference Between The Yashica T3/T4/T5?

There are a few notable differences between the T3 and the T4/T5, the T4/T5s are much more similar.

Yashica T3Yashica T4Yashica T5
Price (2022)$250 (£190)$600 (£450)$650 (£475)
Size275g (Slightly Bulky)170g (Small)200g (Small)
Lens35mm / 2.835mm / 3.535mm / 3.5
Ease Of UseEasyEasyEasy
Chance Of FaultLow/MediumLow/MediumLow/Medium
Comparing the Yashica T3, T4 and T5.

You may think that because the Yashica T3 has a 2.8 lens, surely it must be a better lens than the T4/5. This would be wrong, the T3 is a brilliant camera and the lens is similarly brilliant but the quality of its autofocus is not quite as good as the T4/5. Also, the Yashica T3 has a plastic window over the lens, presumably to protect it from the elements, unfortunately, this can develop fungus in the same way that Olympus AF1s can.

When comparing the Yashica T4 and T5, the main difference is the T5 has a slightly bigger body which is more weatherproof and it has a scope that you can use as a viewfinder from the top of the camera, this is for if you want to ‘shoot from the hip’, it’s okay but a bit gimmicky and it’s not something that’s common in other cameras which suggests that it wasn’t that great. There is no difference in the lens or quality of images when it comes to the T4/T5, so if you’re unsure and there’s a large difference in price, I’d go for the T4.

What’s The Best Film For The Yashica T4

The Yashica T4 is best suited to Kodak Portra 400, however, Kodak Gold, Portra 800 and Ilford HP5 would also be great for it. The choice of film stock depends on your objectives and your budget, you can see more about the cost of film in 2022 here. You would be wasting the Yashica T4 if you were using a lower-quality film but in fairness, that lens can still make shots look great despite this.

If you aren’t sure what kind of film to buy or where to buy it from, this article will solve all of your problems.

How To Use The Yashica T4?

To use the Yashica T4, you have to put a battery in it, load some film, and point and shoot at your subject. Of course, it’s not always that simple if you’re not accustomed to the camera.

So, first of all, you need your CR123a battery and pop that into the compartment, you can then use the sliding button on the top of the camera to turn it on. The lens cover should move across and your lens should extend slightly, if it doesn’t then there may be a fault (I will go in-depth on faults later).

To take pictures and change settings is easy, on the top there is a self-timer button and below that is a button to change flash settings, otherwise, you can easily use this in automatic mode. To take photos you simply use the button on the right on top.

To load the Yashica T4 with camera film is fairly easy but to avoid making any mistakes it’s worth watching a video like this:

It’s not likely that you’ll have any problems shooting the Yashica T4, it’s an easy camera for anyone to pick up and start taking great photographs immediately!

Common Faults Of The Yashica T4

As with all old cameras apart from the Nikon FM, there are common faults and issues that may occur with the Yashica T4, I’ll lay them all out here so you know what to look out for!

Small light leak on the Yashica T4

A small light leak can occur, usually, near the corner of your image, this is apparently due to the degradation of some of the foam that surrounds the lens. This is quite a minor issue, the light leak that it causes isn’t large but it may be annoying to some people. I believe there may be an easy way to fix this however I haven’t come across this issue personally.

A large light leak on the Yashica T4

A larger light leak or any larger light leak on the T4 may be due to degradation of the film window light seals, this wouldn’t be too hard to replace, alternatively, you could cover the film window with black tape or something similar. This isn’t a common T4 issue but it’s worth knowing what to do if it arises.

Chips/Damage to the body of the Yashica T4

Chips/Damage to the body is quite common with the T4, it’s one of the key downsides of the camera, it’s not the strongest build. Depending on where the damage is, it may not be a huge issue, if it’s somewhere that you can just tape up then you may not have any problems. The main problem is if the damage may let light into your film or let water etc. into the electronics.

Dusty or dirty viewfinder of the Yashica T4

A dusty viewfinder or more specifically, the front of the T4 can get quite dusty, I think this is because the build of the T4 isn’t sealed perfectly so dust can easily get inside. If you happen to have one with a very dusty front then a professional should easily be able to get inside to clean it for you. You don’t have to get it cleaned though as the viewfinder being dusty will not actually transfer onto your images.

Focusing Issues with the Yashica T4

Focussing Issues it’s not uncommon for the Yashica T4 to either have problems with focussing while shooting or receiving pictures that are weirdly focussed, in this case you’ll need to take it to a professional to get it fixed as it’s really conked out.

The lens not working correctly with the Yashica T4

The lens not protruding is a common issue, sometimes you just have to press the shooting button to make the lens come out again. If the camera still doesn’t work properly once you’ve tried that then you will have to take it to a professional.

My Opinion And Yashica T4 Phots

In my opinion, the Yashica T4 is a brilliant camera, it’s one that I would certainly choose to use for many different kinds of shoots. Of course, the T4 has a few issues and for many people, that might make the price unpalatable. Personally, the T4 is nearly the absolute top point-and-shoot camera, surpassed by the Contax T2, the Nikon 35/28 TI and maybe a handful of others. In comparison, the T4 is much cheaper than these cameras and it makes very special shots.

I would and probably will buy one again sometime, as long as you take care of yours then it should hold its value.

Take a look at a couple of shots I got while using the T4:

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