Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

By Antonio Miše

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 

Stones carved by winds, sea and salt
Good location for fishing !
Common sight here

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.

Best photo from the roll – I love this shot

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.

Some stubborn vegetation grows out of rocks
St. John’s church
St. John’s church

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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Comments

Alexander Seidler on Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

Comment posted: 27/01/2024

Beautiful ! Did you make square photos before ?
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Kodachromeguy on Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

Comment posted: 26/01/2024

Well done, Antonio! You have a good eye for textures and shapes. Keep practicing and show us more.
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Gary Smith on Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

Comment posted: 26/01/2024

I had similar hopes for a recent eBay purchase. Alas, my purchase didn't turn out as good as yours! Your shots are great, but my favorite is the one of the "stubborn" vegetation..
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Eric on Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Great article and images. I picked up a Yashica MAT LM a few years ago. Thought if I liked it I might get a Rollei. But I was so happy with the Yashica that this never happened and I still take it out for a spin now and then. Thank you for sharing.
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Geoff Chaplin on Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Everyone complains about the left-right inverted image - try large format someday, upside down as well! I don't find it a problem because I compose with the viewfinder, in other words I look through the viewfinder and sweep around a bit (up/down, left/right) to get the best compositeion. I find this easier than previsualising the exact composition first. Yes its a great camera and still relatively cheap. Because of the large format of the film compared to 35mm the Yashicamat images blow Leica out of the water. But I prefer Leica ergonomics! Other points worth mentioning are the weight (similar to Leica plus 50mm lens) and the robustness of the body. Thanks for the post Antonio, great location and the minimalist boat shot is excellent.
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Ibraar Hussain on Yashica Mat 124G – First Roll Experiences

Comment posted: 25/01/2024

Lovely lovely moody photographs And enjoyed the write up
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