Small Camera. Big Picture. Yashica T4 film camera.

It’s been quiet for a week over here at ImagineGnat. While it may appear I am not alive and kicking any longer, I am doing well. Springtime has sprung and both home and work are super busy. However, that isn’t the reason I have been absent. I’ve been shooting film and if you can remember what that is, you know it can take some time to finish rolls of film, process them and then scan them to get them viewable digitally. This past week, I’ve gotten a few rolls processed and scanned and I think I may have found cycling camera nirvana. And with that I introduce you to my new old Yashica T4 film camera.

Yashica T4 with a Lance Camera adjustable wrist strap
Yashica T4 with a Lance Camera adjustable wrist strap

This is a very special small camera. I won’t go through all the features that this camera has (very few by today’ digital standards) but I will go through the ones that are important to me.

  • 35mm Film – I love film and the way it shows, colors, tones, and mood. I personally just prefer the image rendering more than all but the most expensive digital camers
  • 35mm Zeiss f3.5 lens – It is a beautiful small lens
  • Small and weatherproof – The lens retracts into the body and the whole camera is dust and element resistant. Nothing is truly weather proof but many have had this camera out in very, very wet elements with no issues
  • Simple – Put a battery in it, put film in and shoot. It is that simple. Simple is better.
  • Price – While many say that film is expensive to process, old film cameras are not. You can get a lot of amazing photographs developed and printed for the price of a good digital camera. I’ve seen folks say they got their T4 for next to nothing at garage sales and mint condition ones can go up to a couple hundred dollars.  Like anything, if you are patient and look for it, you can get a great deal. I got a near mint condition one for $99.

While I could go on and on about film, most folks reading this likely know that film works, or doesn’t work, for their them. I really do prefer it and find myself wanting to shoot more and more. The only problem I have is that I often don’t get anything quickly to share here or on other social platforms. While that is a bummer, I am slowly coming to grips with that and finding myself being ok with that. Until recently, this waiting period was forcing me to bring two cameras, thus defeating the purpose of a good small camera. With the Yashica T4 I am finally just bringing one camera. It fits easily in a jersey pocket and it can go anywhere with me.

So what is my process to develop film?  Great question.

  • Shoot
  • Process. You can do it home with most film types for an average of $3-5. There are many videos and tutorials available online or you can find a class in your area to learn. You can also send it away for processing. Look up online “mail in photo processing” and for about $10 per roll you can get images, and in some cases digital scans. Or…if you are lucky enough to live in a place that still has photo processing you can bring it in locally.
  • Prints. When I pay to have my film processed, I always ask for 4×6 prints as well.  Why because I could just scan the negatives? While this is true, I like to have prints on hand for personal projects or to give to my kids for their various projects. I also like to scan the 4×6 for quick digital uses like here on the blog, facebook, etc.   They are not high quality scans, but they are good enough for intended use.
  • Scanning. When paying for processing you can also pay for scanning. It can get expensive. I remember my first roll of film I paid for processing a few years ago. It was Tri-X and I paid for processing, prints and scanning. 1 roll of film came in over $40!  Yikes. I quickly then went out and found an inexpensive scanner and bought one. I found a used Canon for about $150 that scans negatives or images in both 35mm and 4×5.  It’s paid for itself a hundred times over already.   I will say that again, it isn’t the highest quality. Depending on your personality to perfection or your skill level, you of course can buy a high quality scanner and get even higher quality output.  That is almost always true in whatever your passion is. In this case, you get what you pay for.
  • High Quality Prints – If there is something I’ve shot that I really love and want a high quality image, I will send the neg in for a barrel scan. In my few years of shooting film occasionally I have only sent off 1 images for a barrel scan. Or…You can become proficient and get a high quality scanner and learn to do that yourself. I chose the find a good lab and print it. The internet is your friend here and you may have to send it away.
  • Storage – You can still buy photo storage boxes and organizers. They require some physical space and commitment. However, you can store a lot of film in a small amount of space.

So with that out of the way, let me get to what matters.  Pictures. Images. Feel. Color. Depth. Again, I love film and I love the output of this simple little Yashica T4.

The first set here is from a few different bike rides and all shot on Delta 3200, a lovely & grainy black and white film. If you don’t process your own film, this processing and printing would cost quite a bit more than other films.

Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-12 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-11 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-10 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-9 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-8 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-7 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-6 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-5 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-4 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-3 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Delta3200-2

This last set here is all shot on Portra 400. Portra 400 isn’t the cheapest film out there, but it is my preferred film. It has lovely color. It is fairly cheap to process in more places. It has a fair amount of latitude if you under or overexpose it, meaning you can still get a good picture from the negative, and it converts to black and white pretty well to get a look and feel I like.

Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400-7 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400-6 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400-5 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400-4 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400-3 Gnat_YASHICAT4_Portra400-2

Yep, I love film and I love this little Yashica T4 camera. It is a keeper for sure. I encourage you all to give it a try if for nothing else to change up your routine.

12 thoughts on “Small Camera. Big Picture. Yashica T4 film camera.

  1. What a refreshing article. I too shoot film with my Pentax SP500 and an Olympus epic stylus which gives me much the same advantages as your Yashica when it comes to bicycling. And, like you, am adjusting to the time lag between shooting and end picture. My epson scanner gives me very nice results using Ilford Super XP2 chromogenic C41 film. The cost of a digital camera that I would be happy with will buy me more film than I can shoot. Its nice to be able to realize that not everything in our lives has to be done at high speed.

    1. I consided an Oly Epic Stylus too but really love my old Contax G2 with Zeiss lens so I wanted to give the Yashica a try. I will trythe Ilford Super XP2 film you mention when I run out of what I have now. Thanks for the tip and I ‘m glad I am not the only one loving these old gems!

  2. Jason, Such a timely discussion as I recently acquired an Olympus OM-2 camera and began shooting my first roll of film. Just yesterday, I also received a used Olympus OM-D E-M5 body to replace the E-P3 I broke in an accident involving a Mukluk, a brief section of urban singletrack, and a tree. Both cameras are a real joy to use. I have especially been looking forward to the E-M5, as I frequently publish loads of digital material while traveling. Both cameras provide a viewfinder– a first for me– which makes all the difference.


    1. I saw that you got an old Oly OM camera. I had one passed onto me that I loved. I recently passed it onto another. Hope you enjoy it. Congrats on the EM5. It is a tremendous camera. Can’t wait to see what you get from both of them.

  3. Hi! Lovely pictures. I was just wondering, I just bought myself a T4, and can’t figure out how to proceed on film speed. How can I insert a 1600 asa film and force the camera to give me the shutter and af settings that it would give for a 100 or 400 asa film?
    Also, how can I force film with this camera? (if it’s possibe) I heard about some DX code hacks that seem to work but haven’t tried any yet

    1. Wish I could tell you Francisco. I vaguely recall seeing something on the internet about this. Think you need some good quality time with Google to answer that one. Sorry I can’t help you.

    2. You can buy DX coding labels that you use to cover the DX coding on the film cartridge. I have used this to make my Yashica T5 expose an ISO/ASA fim at ISO/ASA 200 to prevent the possibility of underexposure. I don’t know what country you’re in, so I won’t provide suggested suppliers, but do a search for “DX coding labels”.

  4. I got lucky.i bought a yashica t4 at arc thrift store for $14. It’s in good working condition. I’m going to try shooting B&W i love it.

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