James's Camera Collection: Yashica Auto Focus Motor

Yashica Auto Focus Motor Japan 35mm cameras
Yashica Auto Focus Motor camera
Camera type: Autofocus non-SLR
Battery: two AA cells
Approx. dates of manufacture: unknown
Approx. original price: unknown
Approx. street value: low

Kyocera makes the Yashica and the modern Contax line of cameras. Yashica has been around forever but, at least in the US, never managed to climb out of the 2nd tier of Japanese makes. I knew a few people who owned and loved them, but I could never get excited about them. I don't know why, but to me they lacked a visible identity and character that the others, particularly the Big 5 (Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax). Camera magazines used to call some of these "me too" cameras, as in "Nikon has this feature, me too!" May not be fair, but that was always my perception.

Not a bad camera, the equivalent of my Canon New Sure Shot; it has auto focus, auto wind, auto rewind. Unlike the Canon this one takes two AA cells instead of that miserable 2CR5. This also has a focus lock, which is nice if you're fighting the auto focus or want a special effect. Unlike the Canon it has a fixed 38mm lens, but you could buy auxiliary lens attachments to screw in front of it (and the viewfinder) for wide angle and tele. It has more metal pieces than the Canon, especially the rear latch, so while it's a little heavier it does have a more solid, rugged feel to it.

A gift from my aunt, who retired it to go digital. I have the instruction manual but it doesn't tell me when it was made or how much it sold for. Adorama wants $50 for it, but I think the around $10 it's fetching on eBay is closer to reality. I see cameras like this piled on shelves in thrift shops.

Camera manual: Orphan Cameras.com

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