How I Stumbled Upon A $10 Yashica T4 Zoom

The aforementioned T4 Zoom

Disbelief, doubt, excitement: that is the range of emotions you feel when stumbling across a rare thrift find. With the proliferation of sites like eBay, Grailed, and Mercari, people know the value of their belongings so a Goodwill drop-off is less likely to happen when infinite research is available with a few clicks. That makes a great pickup at a secondhand store that much harder but even more rewarding.

A year and a half ago, I made a trip to a local Goodwill after work in search of cameras and clothing. On blogs and social media, I saw many instances of people picking up crazy cameras for a few bucks so I had to go on my own journey to come up on one of those gems. There were a handful of unsuccessful attempts, but this one successful moment made those whiffs worth it.

The glass case that makes up the cash wrap housed a lot of random electronics so that was where I began my search. Nothing. I was about to leave when I made the decision to check the back of the store where the computer monitors and stereos are just for the heck of it. Lo and behold, something stared up at me and I couldn’t believe it: a Yashica T4 Zoom.

Now, the lore of the Yashica T-Series was not lost on me. It’s one of those cameras that has a certain air about it so, after the excitement and disbelief momentarily subsided, I picked it up and inspected it. The LCD screen where the exposure counter and flash mode are shown was broken but my thought was that if it turns on and the film advances, it would be worth far more than the $10 price tag.

Am I on exposure seven or 27? Who knows!

Both of those things ended up being true so I was in business. I couldn’t change the date stamp or manually change the flash mode but everything else worked just fine. The Carl Zeiss lens is sharp and the results were beyond my expectation.

Now is obviously not the time to search through your local thrift store but once lockdown is over, the gems will be waiting.

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