Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yashica Mat-124

When I took this step forward, back to film, I wanted something more than what I could get from 35mm.
So I started looking at medium format cameras.
The Yashica Mat-124 was one of the first medium format cameras that I got, a birthday present from my wife.

Yashica Mat-124 (5)

Yashica Mat-124

Yashica Mat-124 (7)

The Yashica Mat-124 is a twin lens reflex (TLR) waist level finder medium format camera.
This is a Rolleiflex clone, maybe the optics are not in the same league, but I'm very pleased with the results that the four elements in three groups, 80mm 1:3.5, Yashinon lens delivers.
In the lens-board it has the viewing, top, and taking, bottom, lenses.
The shutter speed and aperture controls, round dials on each side of the lenses.
The flash socket, top right and flash synchronizer lever, the yellow dot behind the aperture control dial.
The red dot, at five o'clock of the taking lens is the delayed shutter release lever.
On the bottom left there is the shutter release and lock lever, in lock position.

Above the lens-board, to the right of the embossed brand and model, that round "eye" is the window of the CdS light meter, powered by a defunct PX625 mercury battery.
I solved the problem, in this and other cameras with an adapter to zinc-air batteries, used in hearing aid devices.

Yashica Mat-124 (2)

That big round knob is the focus control, turning it makes the lens-board go back or forth allowing the user to control the focus on the ground glass.
On this kind of cameras the focus achieved in the ground glass is the same of the taking lens, at full aperture, due to the solidary movement of the lenses. One has to be careful with the parallax error, at close range, caused by the distance between the lenses.
The distance scale is engraved on the outer rim opposite the depth of field scale engraved on the chrome plate.
The two smaller knobs, top right and bottom left are the spool locking knobs.
On the bottom right is the battery compartment with its chrome lid.
Probably you have already noticed something missing on the top left. I removed the accessory shoe, for two reasons: one, I don't plan to use a flash with this camera and two, the camera doesn't fit the case with it on place.

Yashica Mat-124 (3)

The big film wind crank, that doubles its function cocking the shutter, dominates the scene on this side.
When its winded all the way clockwise it winds the film to the next exposure.
Winding it back, CCW, it sets the shutter.
I love that "taka-taka-taka..." sound.
The window over the crank shows the type of film being used 12ex (120) or 24ex (220).
The window on the top right shows the number of exposures taken.
The loading process of the rollfilm avoids the use of a red window by aligning the start marking of the film with an arrow on the film path, in the camera. From there all we have to do is wind the film to the next frame.

Yashica Mat-124

Here it is with its beautiful brown leather case, with a story of its own

Yashica Mat-124 (6)Yashica Mat-124 (4)

You can see it with the hood opened, ready for action, inside it there is a 3x loupe, that can be flipped up, for critical focusing.

Peeking through the sports finder
There is also this sports finder, for fast action photography. It's a great asset, you know what I mean if you ever used a waist level finder camera before. In the finder one gets a left-right inverted image, that can be puzzling if you're not used to it and are trying to follow a moving subject.

The light meter is quite accurate but gives a too wide reading.
For critical readings demands for proximity or ingenuity.

This is a very nice and usable camera, if you don't mind to be stopped by people on the street that want to admire your camera, and also if you don't bother to carry more than a kilogram worth of camera.

I think it pays...


Caged colours

Money makes the world go around

If you liked these I have more on this set


Type: Twin-lens reflex camera

Lens: YASHINON 80 1:3.5 lens, 4 elements in 3 groups

Shutter: COPAL-SV shutter, speeds 1 to 1/500" and B
Delayed timer; M or X flash synchronizer selector.

Finder: YASHINON 80 mm 1:2.8 viewing lens.
Fresnel field lens for corner to-corner brightness, 3X magnifying lens for critical focusing.
Eye-level sports-finder frame incorporated in the viewfinder hoodrg

Exposure meter: Built-in match-needle CdS type
Film speed range 25 to 400 ISO
Meter on when the viewfinder hood is open
Powered by 1,3 V, PX 625, mercury battery

Film advance: Crank-handle film advance with automatic film stop, simultaneously sets the shutter for the next exposure
Automatic resetting exposure counter displays the number of exposed frames.

Focusing: Extra-large knob extends or retracts the front panel to secure focus on the subject
Distance scale calibrated in both feet and meters (3.3 ft to infinity; 1 m to infinity).

Film: 120 (12 exposures) or 220 (24 exposures)

Other features: Aperture scale from F3,5 to F32.
Adjustable film pressure plate for use with with both 12 and 24 exposure film
Exposure load reminder window
Tthreaded cable release socket
Bay-1 filter mount (Rollei compatible) for 30 mm filters.

Dimensions: 77 x 148 x 101 mm

Weight: 1,100 Kg

Stay tuned (o;


  1. Excelente apresentação, Raúl... adoro este tipo de máquina... da minha parte estou como o Cartier-Bresson, nunca saio de casa sem a minha Rollei!

  2. muito bom.
    onde se pode revelar isto no Porto? Qual o custo?

  3. @grouchomarx: Eu revelo tudo em casa.
    Sugiro a Sempre ID, na Rua Bento Jesus Caraça.

  4. Perfect presentation!! I have bought the same one today. I´m just looking forward for the first pics. Only what i have to solve is battery for exposimeter :( enjoy!

  5. I recently purchased a MAT-124 which included Yashinon wide angle and telephoto viewing and taking lenses. Any ideas on what the focal length is when either the telephoto or wide angle auxiliary lenses are used? Thanks, Bill.

  6. Conversion Data:

    Telephoto: + 50%, 112,8mm, 1.5 magnification

    Wide-angle: -25%, 58,4mm, picture area increased by about 75%