The Yashica Mat 124G, an embodiment of mid-20th-century camera engineering. It greeted me with its robust, yet elegant, presence. The utilitarian design, devoid of modern frills, conveyed a sense of purpose. This camera deserves to be out there, not on the shelf for decorative purposes.
A few months ago I won this camera on eBay bidding for really good price. I never had a chance to hold or shoot TLR camera but always wanted to try one. Why a Yashica Mat 124G – It’s a beautiful camera and functional, and you can buy one for fraction of price of some other brands. When camera arrived I just took quick look and set it aside for a few days ago. My surprise was when I discovered name tag in leather case — this tells me that this camera was owned by someone who really cared for it. My first experience with it was with a spare roll of Kosmo Foto Mono 100 film and day off.
Film Loading was simple with that clunky sound. The frame counter hit 1, which I wasted. I forgot to lock the shutter and so the first photo was taken by my photo bag. Knowing this can happen, I’ll be more careful next time.
The location which I visit is actually near my home — cape Planka. It’s natural barrier between North and South Dalmatian coast. Also we called it Croatian Cape Horn because of the strong winds and distinct look. St. John’s church is located there, there are also some local legends about this particular place. Check it out on google maps
The viewfinder was tricky to master because everything was inverted. But, I really I enjoyed composing in square format this way, especially without “state of the art” autofocus and other electronics. Don’t get me wrong, as a professional photographer, shooting with state of the art cameras for commercial work is a must. But this was really liberating process — instead I just composed, shot, wound and repeated.
For correct exposure I just used smartphone app, read light from open shadow and that was It. The day was slightly overcast and there was no room for big mistakes. Most of the photos are taken with exposure settings of 1/125 and f8/f11. The film was rated ISO 100.
I developed the film in Atomal 49 developer for 8min / 20 C and let it dry for few hours. The film turned out pretty well! Not bad form my first TLR experience.
My conclusions: This camera is a simple and straightforward camera, nothing here is unnecessary, every button or dial has purpose. Focusing works beautifully. The process of creating a photo with this camera is relaxing because this camera doesn’t get in your way. Sure yes, the inverted image in the viewfinder is bit tricky to master but hey, this was my first roll of film through it and I know it’s not the last one! Paired with my Nikon F3 I have some really good tools for creating photos.
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