Category Archives: Camera Review

{Square in an Instant}

Lemme tell you: I LOVE square photos. I miss Polaroid (okay, so they’re still a thing, but for more money and less awesome results.) I was so excited a few years ago when Instax came out with a square format. I was already shooting the Mini and Wide Instax formats, so the addition of little square photos excited me.

The Fuji Instax SQ6 is a camera I picked up in November 2018, right before going on a little vacation to the Smoky Mountains. As in, it arrived the night before we left, and I took it with me and started using it on our trip without any prior experience with the camera. This is not something I would normally recommend one doing, because you should not risk vacation photos by using a camera you have no experience with. But on a mostly automatic instant film camera, the risk wasn’t that high. The SQ6 operates similarly to the Instax Mini 90 (which I’ll discuss at some point in this post,) so I felt I could be comfortable using it for vacation shots.

I meant to actually review this camera after I’d used it for a bit, but that never happened because I just kept on shooting it, figuring out how to get the best results as I went along. That’s why these photos are from late 2018/early 2019.

A few selection from my previously posted Smoky Mountain blog:

And now for a bunch of photos I’d intended to use for a review!

A few Christmas double exposures. Catch me in one of them?

Macro shots are not easy to frame on this camera, as evidenced by this photo

Another example of tricky macro mode photography

Snapshots from the small town where I live

The bathroom at the dental college where my niece has her orthodontic work done

I’m actually glad I took these photos, because the gas station has since been refurbished and doesn’t have the same paint job or the gas pump on their sign anymore

Macro, in an instance where framing wasn’t too critical

These were hard to photograph without getting glare on the photo – but yay for lit signs at Bass Pro in Memphis

I am a Man mural in downtown Memphis near the National Civil Rights Museum

I told my niece that, if she had social media, this would have been a good profile picture (also taken in downtown Memphis)

This is a double exposure that wasn’t worth the trouble – I stepped on a spike from the honey locust tree and impaled my shoe/toe

(there are a few SQ 6 photos I really like that are in a post from last year and below are a few from that same time period, as a bonus)

I really wanted this Instax SQ6 to be just like a square version of the Instax Mini 90, but it’s not. I’m very happy you can choose to turn the flash off on the SQ6 (which isn’t the case for most Instax cameras,) but some of the extra features that both the SQ6 and Mini 90 share in common are much less functional on the former than on the latter. They both have double exposure, macro, infinity focus, and light/dark exposure compensation, but on the SQ6, you can’t combine any of those features because they’re all selected through the same mode button. More specifically, my complaint is that the light/dark compensation needs to be its own button like on the Mini 90.

Double exposures are hard to do when you can’t change the amount of exposure they’re receiving; you end up with an overexposed picture because you exposed the film twice  without being able to dial in less exposure for each shot on that frame of film. Also, what if you need to focus to infinity but need to dial in more or less exposure? If Fuji would make a square format camera that’s almost exactly like the SQ6, but with the addition of a separate light/dark button, I’d be IN!


{Getting to Know You} Yashica T2

Well, I started this post in 2018. The photos from the first roll of film shared in it were taken in 2017. The second roll was from 2018. I felt like the post was a little incomplete, so I planned on shooting another roll with the Yashica T2 to add to the photos I already had, but apparently that didn’t happen. I mean, I don’t really have an excuse for not shooting a third roll with this camera in 2019, but I think we can al agree that I have several excuses for bit getting it done in 2020 😂

But onward and upward.

Originally drafted in 2018:

My 2017 thrift shop camera finds were EPIC. Imagine my shock when, a few weeks after finding a Yashica T4 at the lowly Goodwill Outlet, I found a Yashica T2 at the same store! While the T4 was $2, the T2 set me back a whopping $5 😀

Yashica T2 specs:

  • 35mm f/3.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar T* lens
  • Automatic exposure
  • Shutter speeds: 1/8s-1/500s
  • Accepts DX-coded film, speeds 50-1600 ISO
  • Built-in flash
  • Shooting distance: 1m – infinity (3.3ft – infinity)

I wasn’t expecting to care much about this camera. It is pretty much the older sibling of the T4. They have the same lens, but the T2 is bigger, more bulky, louder, and with fewer features. However – don’t ask me how or why – but somehow I like the way the photos from the T2 look better. Even though the lens is probably identical in both of them? There’s more warmth to them.

(some of this first roll were featured in my 2017 daily photo project, but it’s been long enough since that project occurred that I don’t mind posting some of them here too.)

Roll #1, December 2017


Roll #2, July-ish 2018

Okay, this roll was mostly an impromptu paparazzi style photo shoot after my niece got a haircut, but I managed to fit in some shots of other things too 😀


(Both rolls were Fujicolor 200 film)

There are some things to not like about this camera, mainly its boxy design (of its era though) and the fact that, to ensure the flash doesn’t fire, you have to hold down a tiny button on top of the camera whilst pushing the shutter button.

Flash off and fill flash buttons

It’s also loud. As are most auto advance cameras from this period of time. But I like the Yashica T2 despite these little quibbles. Especially for a $5 thrift outlet store find during 2017, the year of the thrift shop camera!

Side note:

There is (what I would describe as) a “smoky filter” over the lens in lieu of a traditional lens cover that would open up when the camera is powered on. I thought I had a defective camera on my hands because the filter only slides away when a photo is actually being taken. Turns out that’s how it’s SUPPOSED to operate. Just thought I would share that in case you get a Yashica T2 and think it’s broken because the lens cover doesn’t move away when you turn the camera on!

{Perfect Combo?}

This post is deviating from my usual format. It’s not my “Two Rolls In” or “Getting to Know You” film equipment reviews. Really, this is about testing an idea I had about a nice little camera/lens combo.

I picked up a Canon Rebel Ti a few years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) I didn’t have a lens for it for months, until I was given a Canon Rebel 2000 with a kit lens attached. I didn’t really need to test the camera for much more than whether or not it was functioning correctly, since it’s very similar to the Rebel 2000 (an earlier model in the Rebel series.) I had briefly owned a Rebel Ti in 2008, but I wasn’t able to use it more than perhaps once because the back latch was broken. That’s actually how I ended up with my original Rebel 2000. I bought it from my friend, who said it didn’t work, because it had a lens. The Rebel 2000 just needed a battery replaced, and the Ti I had bought had a broken film door latch. The rest is history.

But back to the current subject. I bought this Rebel Ti for a small sum, hoping to get a nice lens for it somewhere down the road. It took me probably about a year and a half to get the lens I wanted (it cost about five times the amount I paid for the camera itself!) The lens? A 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens. It’s TINY. The Rebel Ti is smallish and fits nicely in the hand thanks to its grip.

Tiny lens

Ergonomic grip

I thought it might make an ideal combo for a smallish 35mm autofocus SLR kit.

I was right 🙂

Roll #1 was Fuji Superia X-tra 400

I am so used to using manual focus SLRs that I forgot how quickly I can burn through a roll of film in an auto focus camera! I shot roll one basically in one weekend. This was around the end of September 2018.

Vegan snickerdoodle blondies

My niece obliged me with a quick photo shoot right before we went to Memphis so she could get braces.

Her last pre-braces meal was sushi (also sort of a pre-birthday treat, since this was right before her birthday.)

Quick shot in the parking lot of the orthodontist that same day

We also attended the Memphis Japan Festival at the Memphis Botanic Gardens that weekend, and it was a great chance to try out my new camera/lens combo!

There was an origami sculpture exhibit at the Botanic Gardens too, and it was amazing!


One of her purchases from the Japan Festival

Roll #2 was expired Kodak 64T slide film (expired in 2001,) which I had cross processed. Due to life circumstances (mom recuperating from a broken hip) and the fact that this film was not suited to gloomy weather, it actually took me about six months to finish this roll. These were taken from late 2018 to summer 2019.

Christmas season 2018

Shot a few frames in Como, Mississippi 


School bus shop we saw somewhere in the Mississippi Delta

S. Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee

This was the day AM got the big chop! She cut off all her hair! Then we went to get coffee at her favorite place in Memphis!

Playing with some double exposures 


I am LOVING this as a camera body/lens combo! It’s fast, easy, and the lens is sharp to my eyes! I have to admit that I am a bit of a snob because I usually shoot film cameras that LOOK like film cameras, you know? But this is such a great little set up that I don’t mind if someone sees it and thinks I am shooting digital (doesn’t help that the control panel is a big lcd on the back, that might be mistaken for a viewing screen on a digital camera!)



(I actually have a couple of more rolls I was tempted to add on to this post, but I was afraid it would be TOO many images for one post!)

{Getting to Know You} Yashica T4

The Yashica T4 is one of two cameras which I acquired in 2017 that I a) never expected to ever to find in a thrift shop and b) never expected to find in the particular thrift shop I did.

For those of you outside the US, you may not know that we have a large chain of thrift shops (aka charity shops) here called Goodwill. Then there’s something called the Goodwill Outlet/Warehouse. Last year, I went into a nearby Goodwill Outlet for the first time. It was CHAOS. I remember once that my brother went into the Outlet store, took one look at the disarray, and walked right back out. In those stores, there are just bins full of unsorted and non-priced items. Clothes are priced by weight rather than individually, books are 50 cents to $1.00, and most everything else is priced by the cashier when you got to check out.  During my first visit to the Outlet, I was going through bins, and my heart nearly stopped when I saw a Yashica t4. I couldn’t breathe! That’s a premium point and shoot 35mm camera! Why is it in the Goodwill Outlet?? I was SHAKEN!

Of course, there was no price on the camera, so I waited in line to get to the cash register. The cashier said “It’s $2.” I was so scared that I would get found out and have to pay $100 for it. I felt like I was getting away with something.

For a bit of background, the reason the Yashica T4 is generally so expensive is a) It has a highly sought after Carl Zeiss T* lens b) there is a fashion photographer who used this camera a lot, and it caused the camera to gain something of a cult following.

Yashica T4 specs:

  • 35mm f/3.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar lens
  • Automatic exposure
  • Shutter speeds: 1s-1/700s
  • Accepts DX-coded film, speeds 50-3200 ISO
  • Built-in flash 
  • Shooting distance: .35m – infinity (1.1ft – infinity)

Top view: power switch, shutter button, flash mode button, and self-timer

The one caveat to this deal of the century is: I put a battery in the camera, and found out that the camera’s on/off switch doesn’t work. It’s on at all times. That’s why I have dubbed it the “$2 always-on Yashica T4.” I didn’t notice until I got it home that there was a little chunk of plastic broken off one corner of the camera next to the power switch, so I’m sure that’s indicative of why the camera won’t power off. But, hey, at least it wasn’t stuck off! 

Chipped corner by the power switch

The benefit to this is that I don’t have go through the flash menu button each time I power the camera on in order to turn the flash off (which is how I usually shoot.) I just always keep it in the little leather case it came in, because being always on means the lens is always exposed (rather than protected by the built-in lens cover when the camera is powered off.)

Very 1990s leather case which was with the camera when I bought it

I put a quick roll through the camera right away to see if it was otherwise functioning. IT WAS!!! The photos weren’t that special, but I could kind of begin to see why the lens is so sought after.


The next roll was a fresh roll of Fuji Superia 400

Sardis, Mississippi (Smalltown, USA)

Since I knew I would only have a handful of photos from the first couple of Yashica T4 rolls to share on this blog post, I shot another roll JUST to be shared here! Only it took forever to finish because it was film that was slow (100 ASA) and it was put into the camera during the long, grey winter. I ended up having to wait for sunnier days to arrive before I could finish the film!


(this is hard – my Dilly has passed since this photo was taken)


Messy hair, don’t care

(frequent test subject)

(Full disclosure: these tulips were part of the landscaping at Taco Bell)

When a camera reaches cult status, I kind of scoff at the idea of it being THAT great. But the more photos I make with the Yashica T4, the more I kinda get the hype…the lens is really something special! So, for $2, I’d say it was a pretty good investment 😀

Post Navigation