5 Colour Frames with a Yashica Mat TLR

By Timothy Hancock

My Dad got me into photography in the sixties, and I still use his Edixamat Reflex 35mm camera – it is built like a tank and after a CLA works a treat. His dream camera however was a Rolleiflex which he bought not long before his premature death. I don’t have much memory of it but think it was a “baby” taking 127 film, in 4×4 format. My film “reincarnation” during covid got me thinking about a TLR as I love the square format. Searching for a Rolleiflex and all the different models and high prices however lead me to a YashicaMat 124G which I bought via the usual auction site, buying the best I could find, for about a third the price of a Rollei.

After getting to grips with the camera and its exposure meter (which works well), I tried out my first roll of b/w film, taking photos of the local limestone pavement up here in the Yorkshire Dales. It was a disappointment – the screen was hazy and the results murky! After a search I decided to buy a new focussing screen but thought I would have a go with a cheap Chinese replacement. When it arrived, I fiddled with tiny grub screws and accidentally allowed a retaining spring to leap out of the viewfinder in the process – how I got it back in I am not sure, but in it went with the new screen.

The result – not a lot! The same lesson learnt yet again – don’t scrimp! I then ordered a Rick Oleson Brightscreen and managed to fit this one without too much trouble. Image quality however had of course not been addressed, so I sent the camera off to the same place I used to CLA my Dads Edixamat in Liverpool. They did the work and said they had “done their best” to clean the taking lens – not a good omen. The major problem I feel with buying a fixed lens camera like this, is that you have no idea how good the taking lens is regardless of overall camera condition. Mine was obviously not great despite a near pristine appearing camera.

I mostly favour monochrome photography and especially with film – perhaps because when I had a wet darkroom it was only black and white that I processed – colour was too complicated for me. When the Yashica came back though I decided to load some Portra as I was experimenting with colour film with my other film cameras.

Portra 160 (400ASA)

I am very happy with the results – both the improved IQ from the CLA and new Brightscreen and the film. I have attached five images from the same film of Portra 400 – the colours of the trees in the landscape shots are wonderful I think, and I plan to get a large print made. The other images are from Settle town centre which I don’t think take advantage of the capability of this colour film which remains my favourite to date as I migrate from wholly black and white with Ilford films.

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About The Author

By Timothy Hancock
Associate of Royal Photo Soc. Secretary of Contemporary Group. Ex chairman of camera club. Started with photography with a box brownie like so many others of my generation. Now film (still using my Dads Edixamat from the 1950’s) and Leica /Fuji both film and digital cameras. Particulary keen on medium format film with Bronica and Mamiya (645 and 6x6)
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Comments

PTS Terbaik Indonesia on 5 Colour Frames with a Yashica Mat TLR

Comment posted: 15/02/2024

How did the author's initial experience with black and white film on the YashicaMat 124G influence their decision to explore color film photography? Regards, Telkom University/a>
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Timothy Hancock replied:

Comment posted: 15/02/2024

Hi - I never really thought that through, but I used to use monochrome film only but decided to try Portra in the autumn as it seemed to suit the colour pallette and I like the Portra subdued look. I wouldnt have used the Yashica with colour film without a successful clean which became obvious after reviewing the black and white images.

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Ibraar Hussain on 5 Colour Frames with a Yashica Mat TLR

Comment posted: 11/02/2024

I was once going to get myself a Yashica Mat but ended up getting an MPP Microcord instead. And I now see that prices have started to rise for the Yashica - as they should as it’s lovely
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Ibraar Hussain on 5 Colour Frames with a Yashica Mat TLR

Comment posted: 10/02/2024

Lovely photography 2 and 3 are especially beautiful
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Timothy Hancock replied:

Comment posted: 10/02/2024

Thanks Ibraar Tim

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Geoff Chaplin on 5 Colour Frames with a Yashica Mat TLR

Comment posted: 09/02/2024

Nice post and excellent images. All the Yashica Mats (I have 3!) seem to suffer from haze on the front surface of the rear lens component. This is actually easy to fix if you have a lens spanner. The front component then comes out easily, and a cotton swab, isopropyl alcohol and a little dexterity fixes the issue.
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Timothy Hancock replied:

Comment posted: 09/02/2024

Thanks Geoff - hopefully I am spared that after the cla at Newton Ellis. I have bought a Bronica SQA now as well so have two 6x6 choices.

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