Yashica-Mat 124G


Crank handle and film indicator (above the handle) as well as exposure counter (top right).

Yashica Mat 124G

View from the top: Light metre needles with ASA setting.

Raiffeisenbank Gartetal

One of the first photos I took with the camera.

With a few of my friends having medium format cameras, I wanted on as well. Not just because it is a poncy thing to have but also because the whole viewfinder way of taking photographs automatically gives you a different view on things. The range of medium format cameras you can get is extremely wide, going from my ancient and almost lensless Box camera and the very affordable Chinese Seagull cameras on the one hand to the unaffordable Rollei collector pieces and Hasselblad professional cameras on the other side.

I decided to settle in the middle, looking for a Yashica-Mat 124G on eBay. It is said to be a solid camera for beginners. And the most advanced Rollei clone Yashica built. While being very solidly buit from metal – weighing in at a whole kilogram – it already has modern conveniences as a built-in light-metre. 

The operation is as it is with most twin lens reflex cameras: a smooth shutter, a tightly working crank handle to forward the film, a nice viewfinder complete with a magnifier and a ‘sports-finder’ mode, a solid knob for focusing, and knobs to set the aperture and exposure time. What is particularly neat is the way the two dials for those settings work. They are directly coupled to the light metre. And you have to align the yellow needle whose position is determined by the current aperture and exposure time settings with the red needle that is controlled by the current light metre reading. It feels very natural.

Bonus features include a socket for attaching a flash to, an exposure counter and a leather carrying case.

Unfortunately, the camera wildly scratched the first (and very scratch sensitive) ADOX CHS100 (efke 100) film I used in it. While my photo tutor really loved that as an artistic effect, I’d much rather prefer if the film only came out scratched when I wanted it to be scratched. I hope I’ll be able to resolve this problem in some way.