Cult camera with a reputation for sharp lens and unique rendering, made famous by fashion and portrait photographer Terry Richardson. This is a compact camera of repute and many many articles have been written about it. There are a few links at the bottom of this article if you are not familiar with it. I’d like to focus this article on the lens conversion aspects.
My particular copy belonged to my father and came with a stuck shutter. Destined for the bin I decided to see if I could salvage it. The following project documents my efforts to do so. I have a compulsion fettle so, there will be updates to this article as I go through variations.
Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar 35mm, f/3.5 lens, 4 elements in 3 groups, T* (multicoated)
Optical system construction: Lens is encased in a mono block plastic cylinder with 3 lugs which hold the lens block in place on a focusing platform. Also attached to the focusing platform is the combination aperture and shutter mechanism.
Shutter and Aperture: Combined Shutter/Aperture mechanism, single set of blades
- Shutter failure – replaceable with donor shutter cable
- Motor drive failures: motor not working (replaceable with donor motor), motor not advancing full frame (often it’s a logic board problem and non economical to repair)
This is guide on how to remove the lens out of a Yashica T4. It is NOT a repair manual. All the cameras I extract lenses from are beyond repair and my method of removing lenses is based on the easiest way of removing the lens at the expense of the donor camera.
It is fairly straightforward to remove the lens off the Yashica T4. All you have to do is remove the bezel, remove 3 screws and extract the lens. Whilst this appears to be a non destructive, the lens is mounted immediately in front of the shutter mechanism; which is a known area of weakness. Damaging the shutter mechanism is a risk of removal. The bezel itself is held on by 3 prongs on to the focusing platform. These prongs are extremely fragile and may not survive the removal process. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing as, if you intend to follow on by modding the lens, you can use the bezel as a protector and lens hood.
Insert battery into the camera and turn it on. The lens protector should slide down and expose the lens bezel and lens. If you are unable to power on your camera, you can manually slide the lens protector downwards and out of the way. However, the lens and bezel will be recessed into the body and it may be difficult to remove the bezel. If you have any difficulties, refer to the addendum of this guide and remove the camera casing.
Once exposed, place a small screwdriver at the 12 o’clock position of the lens and apply gradual pressure to the bezel until the retaining prong releases from it’s socket. Repeat the process at the 4 and 8 o’clock positions until you remove the bezel.
With the bezel removed, all you have to do is remove 3 screws to remove the lens itself.
The extracted lens is approximately 20mm at it’s widest (not including the lens mounting lugs) and 12 mm high. It’s Zeiss T* coated and comprises of 4 elements in 3 groups
If you have problems extracting the lens, you may still access it by removing the camera’s outer casing.
The Yashica T4 is weather sealed so it is not easy to pry the front and rear casing apart but it is possible.
Method of conversion:
- Simple 3d printed mount with lug for printed aperture plates
- Lens mounted behind the base of the mount
- 3D printed fixed aperture
- Mount coupled to Leica M mount close focus helicoid
Some initial photos taken with the lens, full resolution versions and more photos taken with the lens can be found in on my Flickr album