How can I resuscitate my favorite point-and-shoot?
I have a Yashica T4, bought new in 2001. It no longer works (not a battery problem). What should I do with it? It's a great little point-and-shoot. Hate just to toss it. Nick Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ah, the Yashica T4. Regular readers will know that I regard this cute little camera as the finest sub-$600 35-millimeter point-and-shoot camera ever made. For a retail price of about $179 (circa 2000) you got a sharp Zeiss lens, tough compact body, user-friendly operation, and superb results. I have one and still lug it around on a regular basis. So I am sorry to hear that your T4 appears to have departed for that Big Film Processor in the Sky.
What to do? For starters, I wouldn’t give up on it. You might give the folks at Camerarepair.com a call (201-933-7272). They’re the Web presence of a well-regarded camera repair center in the Northeast. Chances are good they’ve seen this sort of problem and can offer an estimate as to what it would take to fix it. The rep I spoke with estimated around $80, given the extent of the problem and availability of parts (alas, no longer being made for this oldie but goodie). Alternatively, try a local camera shop: AP-T camera repair in Albuquerque is worth a shot (800-962-4749; www.ap-t.com).
What if you get no joy from them in terms of an online estimate, or the camera proves to have croaked beyond all hope of resurrection? (If the diagnosis is terminal, you’ll at least get the T4 back for a proper burial.) Then you might try eBay—T4’s show up there on a regular basis, although ones in good shape are fetching well over their street price of three or four years ago. I had a spare up there myself a year ago—my mother-in-law had purchased it on my recommendation—and I got more than $200 for it. But even that’s still a bargain for the simple reason there are no comparable cameras available new today. The Olympus Stylus Epic ($80 and up; www.olympusamerica.com) has the same paper specs—weather-resistant design, fixed 35-millimeter lens—but it just isn’t as good a camera to my mind.
Canon’s PowerShot S410 is one digital camera that might warm your heart as it has mine (www.usa.canon.com). It’s a fine little camera—compact, sturdy, four-megapixel resolution, and excellent user interface. It goes for around $300 street price, so might be worth a look. But first try to get your T4 to come back!
For more digital optic wizardry, read “Focus, People!” from the October ’04 issue of Outside.