Yashica Mat 124 G

Yashica Mat 124 G -Front-Colour

Vital Statistics

  • Film Type: 120 or 220
  • Lens: Yashinon 80mm f/3.5
  • Focal Range: 3.5ft – Infinity
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2. 1 sec  & “Manual” B.
  • ASA: 25-400 – I keep a spreadsheet of what film is loaded in each camera at any given time, tedious but worthwhile!!!
  • Viewfinder: TLR
  • Exposure Control: Built in Match-Needle type Cds Meter.
  • Weight: 1100g
  • Other: COPAL-SV Shutter, Self Timer & M/X Sync.

About

This camera was my first venture in to Medium Format, I have read elsewhere that the Yashica Mat 124G offers a good entry in to Medium Format photography and I guess thats very true given the quality, availability and price of this 6×6 TLR. Manufactured by Yashica between 1970 & 1985 approximately, to a greater degree it is a copy of the Rollieflex TLR’s. It’s years of manufacture are quite interesting because this is clearly some time after cameras of this style we’re in vogue however I believe it still sold incredibly well. This was another ebay purchase, it found its way to me in wonderful condition from Hungary. As is the case with many film cameras as film continues its mini revival the price has risen in recent times.
Yashica Mat 124 G – Crank Handle visible.
Yashica Mat 124 G -Left-Colour
It felt quite alien at first using this camera but as always with the passing of time it begins to feel more natural. Not being familiar with cameras of this nature I was amazed at the size and clarity of the ground glass screen which is used for focusing, additionally there is a “fold away” 3x diopter loupe for more critical focus. When describing the control positions it is done so as if the camera was in the user position looking down in to the viewfinder. Film advance – Crank Handle with 12/24 Exposure Load Reminder window. Above this is the Exposure Counter window. The ASA (ISO) is also set via a dial on this side of the camera, Turn the ASA Film Speed Setting Wheel until the figure denoting the ASA rating of the film in use aligns with the red indicator in the ASA Film Speed Indicator Window.
Yashica Mat 124 G – Focusing Knob visible.
Yashica Mat 124 G- Right-Colour
The Hotshoe is visible in the image above positioned on the top left of the camera body, also visible is the focus knob, rotation of this will extend and retract the lens. Within the focus knob there is a Film Type Indicator window for the user to record one of several film types if required. The battery compartment is located bottom right on the same side.
Yashica Mat 124 G – Yashica Mat 124 G – Focusing Hood is set in to the Upright position to engage the meter and expose the ground glass screen.
Yashica Mat 124 G Front-Open-Colour
The Exposure Meter will begin to function when the Focusing Hood is set in to the Upright position as indicated in the above image. Desired Aperture and Shutter Speed are set via the two black Control Dials on the the face of the camera. Turn the Aperture Control Dial and coincide the yellow follower needle (coupled to the aperture mechanism) with the red meter pointer (coupled to the shutter mechanism), both are visible in the Exposure Indicator Window on top of the camera.The shutter release button and lock are visible in the bottom corner below the taking lens. Unfortunately mine was without original instructions, however an English copy of those instructions can be downloaded online from here.  

More Info

I have photographed the camera without the lens hood, however I would strongly advise you acquire one, the can be purchased quite cheaply on ebay (around $10.00) and although plastic you won’t regret it.
More technical info and fixes for the most common issues and repairs for the Yashica Mat 124 and 124G can be found here.
A selection of images taken by Yashica Mat 124 G users can be found here.
Worried about loading the film for the first time? There is a useful video on loading film in to the Yashica Mat 124G here.

The Last Word

Whats good:
Availability & Build Quality.
Whilst optically it may be inferior to the Rollieflex TLR’s its most certainly at its best stopped down  between f/8 & f/16
Shutter Lock
Whats not so good:
To me it’s a slight negative although you may see it differently, I guarantee you that you will be stopped (a lot) using this camera in public, sometimes it can be pleasant, others a little bothersome.
I don’t really trust the light meter, it’s certainly worth checking the battery because if the previous owner has fitted a 1.5v as opposed to the now obsolete 1.35v Mercury cells the meter will appear to function but won’t be accurate. An alternate 1.35v battery can be found – here. 
As I’ve said above, great entry level TLR camera, beautiful design, classic looks.
Sample Images – To Follow Shortly