I recently inherited a Yashica 300 Autofocus SLR. Because the camera was manufactured (1993) before we had online reviews of anything (cameras, books, TV's, etc.), I can't find any reviews on whether it's a good camera in general or if it's good for something specific (i.e. black/white pictures). I came here in the hopes that someone might have owned (still owns?) this Yashica model and would have anything positive/negative to say about it. Thanks!
I bought one of these cameras in 1997 for my first SLR after using a soviet Zorki 4. I bought it with the 50mm f 1.8
Made in Japan, well made, autofocus with manual override. It was strong enough to cope with one or two times hitting the ground and when that misuse made its left strap holder broke (and the camera take another drop to the ground) I welded it with superglue and kept using the camera as if nothing had happened.
As my first autometering camera I was quite happy for that feature, it allowed me not to waste film in bad exposures. Autofocus was pretty fast under good light, I remember it was not as good in the night, despite it had an infra-red guide for low light. Having said that let us take into account that the problem was principally that it used to make centred autofocus i.e. by the centre of the viewfinder/lens, so the problem of low light autofocus perhaps was more of not centering the subject in the frame. As the infra-red guide was also set aside, the problem was principally found when trying to focus on a narrow subject in low light. In fact, my new Nikon DSLR sets the light for autofocus guidance in the same place of the camera's body and I wonder why 16 years later it has not been changed to a more centered position (over the lens and under the flash unit).
The 50mm prime was very good, for a guy used to a previous soviet machine the change seemed to me to be as a century lap. It had a 1/2000 max speed vs a 1/500 in the Zorki, auto-metering (setting the film ISO before beginning to shoot), and autofocus for casual shooting. It also had the option of continuous shooting and a prefocusing mode where you could set focus at a certain distance, lock it, wait for the subject to enter into the focus range and let the camera shoot for you (that was quite rocket science back in 1997).
I have learned in the Zorki the basics (it was not reflex but it had an 'intelligent'viewfinder where you had to match edges in order to set focus), but the YASHICA let me made low light photography without missing shots, it was quite accurate in that sense, and its 50mm f1.8 was very capable.
It was better than its EOS contenders at that time, but it was outdated almost in 3 or 4 years by digital cameras.
It used a 2CR5 6v battery that was quite expensive, I have read it could be replaced by four AAAs but I wonder if that is really posible (perhaps there is some kind of adapter for swapping to AAAs)
It has been sitting for years in a wardrobe and now will become a supplier for my Nikon (apparently there is an adapter for its lens made by fotodiox. It remains to be seen if the optics in the adapter (needed for attaining infinity focusing in Nikons) doesn't alter image quality too much and whether I could cope with no auto-metering (as you lose that feature due to the fact there is no way to send the camera information about the lens aperture).
There was apparently a page of information on this camera at:
but unfortunately currently (January 2011), that gives a 404 Error and the main page at cdegroot.com says the site is "temporarily" down. Having a lot of experience with "temporarily" down sites, I'm not terribly optimistic. However, a copy can be found at archive.org . (Thanks @whuber for encouraging me to look again!)
Another tidbit which might be useful for you — lenses for this thing look to be quite cheap.
The single biggest minus nowadays is probably the fact that it's not digital :) Other than that, just try. If it's broken, no review will help you anyway. And for which pictures it's most suitable depends on the lens.