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C3 review posted for your enjoyment


Well-Known Member
Several months ago I mentioned that I was going to do some more 'formal' testing of my C3 to see where its strengths and weaknesses are. I have since shot about 20 rolls of film, mostly color negative, and looked at a lot of pictures from that little camera (most very pleasing, by the way). Included in that 20 or so rolls were two rolls of Ilford Delta, 100 and 400 - these were used to do some testing of the ability of the lens to capture fine details.
I also decided to try and summarize my findings for those who might be looking for another opinion on the camera. You can check out my little analysis page here:

Note that I found the 100 and 400 results to be so similar that I only posted the 400 results, which were a little better in terms of contrast, due to the film's inherent higher contrast.

Be aware that the large images that show up when you click on the overview images are VERY large - they are all over 1MB. I apologize in advance for the lack of quality in the scans - my flatbed scanner has a transparency unit, but the results are less than idea. Still, I can see where the detail is and where it is lacking - at least I think I can :)

The surprise for me was that the lens seems much sharper at the tele end of its range. Not so surprising is that the lens seems sharper at the closer focusing distances.

I hope you find somethign worthwhile in this little review exercise.

- marc
Hei guys!!! Nice work!!!
I have never done something as big a marc.

My experience here:

I used a nikon SLR before with few zoom and fixed-focal. Then I did vigorous net search. I bought a Yashica T5 (same as T4 super). I immediately noticed the colour and sharpness have far exceeded my nikon. I then focused on my T5 for a while. I was really disappointed with the out-of-focus problem. It's definitely there. I once thought it's my hand off the partly depressed shutter. It's NOT.

Then I bought a Contax TVS II. It's great when it's in focus. But the focus problem is still there. Though better than T5. So I learn not take shots in those "easy out of focus" situation. It helps. The manual focus helps a bit too. But it's far beyond my expectation as an SLR user.

Then I bought my Sony S75 digital. The focus problem is identical. But the good thing is I now can take many shots and take 1 out of it. And I gotta check the focus (though still not sure before I see it on my computer).

Just a word for the discussion on tripod. The focus problem is identified on a pic (even a postcard size) when u see something nearer or farther (often the case) are so sharp and yet your subject is so soft. You really have to be picky here (Many of us do.). You don't have to blow it up to see that. And the general discussion on "use a tripod" is valid, but the focus problem is not due to "no tripod".

I decided not to pick C3 for my friend, until I saw marc's posting. Marc, I will kill you. You put me in trouble now. You tell me, C3 or T4-zoom?

Thanks marc and Steve

very informative posts

Good luck with your future shooting, regards craig.
> Steve, I don't think you can go wrong with the Yashica OR the C3 - both have great optics and great handling. I chose the C3 because I found it worked faster - focus was faster, startup faster, etc. I also prefer active AF to passive, since I do like to focus in low light from time to time, and the C3 is one of the few (only?) active AF 28-80 cameras out there. Also, I tend to be biased toward Leica equipment, even point and shoots - they have never let me down (mini 3, minilux, Z2X, M, R, all great). The Yashica is a real bargain though, at half the price of the C3. If money had been more of an issue I would have picked the Yashica I think. Or, I would just have stuck with the Rollei Prego 90 (Schneider version), which is also a fantastic little camera!

Does your friend like the T4 Zoom?

Cheers! - marc
Very interesting tests Marc. I like the barrel distortion test, quite a good idea - though I fear it would be worse at 28mm. I look forward to your verdict on looking at the negs to compare the short focal length vs long - I suspect the scanning will be causing this, i think the resolution of the scan becomes more critical when the subject is further away.

Yes - the flower pics have gone a bit wrong - I find this a bit of a struggle with mine, since it's hard to pre focus without moving position - and a few cms can be critical - and if you don't pre focus there's a bit of a delay and I've moved!!
However, there is such a mass of details with no clear subject for the AF to get hold of - and should there be parallax with the AF window when close-up?? Lots of issues, but I really don't consider mine to be in any sense a close-up camera (which is a pity because I like to photograph small flowers).

Any more tests would be welcome (wish I had time and a scanner to do similar).

Hi Craig & Marc,

You know, some people may prefer wider zoom range to optics. Things like 28-120, etc.

These days I come to accept the limitation of focusing ability of compact camera. That said, I tend to believe T4 zoom is not without flaw in focus. So, I will bet on C3 for the presumably better optics.

I have to agree with Marc, it's no point to be too critical about the quality here. They are both "low cost" compact anyway. If you are looking for a real bargain for optics, buy Minilux. You can't be wrong.

I have just purchased a C3 in Hong Kong, and I have to say that I love it very much!

Just one stupid question: is the top plane of the shutter release button a bit tilted to fit your finget when releasing the shutter? I don't know if it is intentional or not.....

All in all a very lovely little camera!


My wife's C3 has a perfectly level shutter button so i think maybe it's not quite right.

Mine appears level too. It might be worth taking back to the camera mart if convenient and checking another unit, possibly swapping.

Congratulations on a nice camera! I love mine, it is a great little auto-wonder with a nice range of focal lengths.

- marc
Thanks Marc and David,

It appears that there are no stock left all over Hong kong for the C3......So i might stick with it as long as it cause no trouble to my shooting to avoid the frustrating wait for another new one. (Yes i am an anxious person

Another stupid question: In the manual it says that the close up frame could be, and should be, seen in the viewfinder, however there isn't one in my C3. Is it a problem with the camera or the manual?

Thanks a lot!