Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
Over the years I have been handling a lot of twin lens reflex cameras, and have learned they all have there own individuality in handling and capturing imaging, but during this time there has only been three TLR cameras which really stood out: The Rolleiflex, Mamiya C Series and Yashica Mat 124G.
The Rolleiflex TLR’s are undoubtedly the top of the range with there unique craftsmanship, lenses and outstanding quality throughout there range, and therefore they don’t come cheap, and I must admit having a problem walking by a Rolleiflex on sale. The Mamiya C220 and C330 with there very sharp interchangeable Minolota Rokkor Lenses, aimed at studio-bound professionals as they are heavy in weight and carry the nickname ‘The TLR-beast on the world’. Yashica tried very hard to match the Rolleiflex, and the 1970 Yashica Mat 124G was there finest example. I have owned a few different Yashica Mat TLR Cameras through the years including the 124G, and if I didn’t have the money to invest in a Rolleiflex TLR, the Yashica Mat 124G would be without a doubt my first option, even though it has a more plastic feel to its body, and may not be the prettiest Yashica Mat model, it is the winner in capturing images.
Yashica TLR Cameras
Yashica made many TLR cameras throughout the 50′s-80′s. They can be split into two camps: knob winders and lever winders. The cameras tended to be evolutions of the previous model, rather than revolutions, but this worked in Yashica’s favour, and their final TLRs where some of their best.
Yashica TLRs are generally regarded as cheap, yet robust and reliable. The MAT series were the first Yashicas to have the aforementioned crank winders and auto shutter-cock. The 124 and 124G series introduced the ability to use both 120 and 220 film. The great thing about the MAT 124(G) is the incorporated battery-powered lightmeter, which, when working, is surprisingly accurate. The difference between the Mat 124 and Mat 124G are small, with the ‘G’ standing for ‘Gold’, adding gold connectors to the electronics.
The Mat 124(G) are great cameras, but recently they have come into vogue, pushing their prices upwards.
Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera Manual
- Type: Twin-lens reflex camera accepting either (120 film) = 12 exposures or (220 film) = 24 exposures.
- Lens: YASHINON 80mm f/3.5, Tessar lens composed 4 element in 3 groups.
- Shutter: COPAL-SV shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 sec. and B. built-in self timer; MX flash synchronizer selector; shutter locking device.
- Finder: YASHINON 80 mm f/2.8 viewing lens; Fresnel field lens for corner to-corner brightness; 3X magnifying lens for critical focusing; eve-level sports-finder frame incorporated in the viewfinder hood.
- Exposure meter: Built-in match-needle type CdS meter based on preselection of shutter speed; film speed range from ASA(ISO) 25 to 400; meter switch coupled to viewfinder hood; operates on 1,3 V mercury battery.
- Film advance: Crank-handle film advance with automatic film stop; simultaneously charges the shutter for the next exposure; automatic resetting exposure counter registers 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).
- Other features: Aperture scale from F3.5 to F32; adjustable film pressure plate usable with both 12 and 24 exposure load film; exposure load reminder window, threaded cable release socket; hinged back cover; bayonet-type filter mount accepting 30 mm filters.
- Dimensions: 77 x 148 x 101 mm
- Weight: 1,100 grams
Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera Manual Map
|1. Sports-finder Frame||14. Flash Contact|
|2. Neck-strap Eyelet||15. Aperture/Shutter Speed Indicator Window|
|3. Exposure Counter||16. Aperture Control Dial|
|4. Neck-strap Fasten Catch||17. Shutter Speed Control Dial|
|5. Exposure Load Reminder Window||18. Accessory Shoe|
|6. Film Wind Crank-Handle||19. Spool Locking Knob|
|7. Shutter Locking Lever||20. MX Flash Synchronizer Selector|
|8. Shutter Release Button||21. Focusing Knob|
|9. Back Cover Latch||22. Battery Compartment Lid|
|10. ASA Film Speed Setting Wheel||23. Spool Locking Knob|
|11. ASA Film Speed Indicator Window||24. Self-Timer|
|12. Exposure Meter Window||25. Taking Lens|
|13. CdS Light Acceptor||26. Viewing Lens|
How to load a new Battery into a Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
- Open the Battery Compartment Cover with finger and holding by turning it counter-clockwise. This camera uses a 1.3 V mercury battery to power its exposure meter. Use Either Mallory PX-13B, Eveready EPX-13 or equivalent.
- Install a 1.3 V mercury battery to power the exposure meter, as illustrated.
Setting Correct Exposure on a Yashica 124G
- Turn the ASA Film Speed Setting Wheel until the figure denoting the ASA rating of the film in use aligns with the red indicator in the ASA Film Speed Indicator Window.
- Center the desired shutter speed in the Shutter Speed Indicator Window by turning the Shutter Speed Control Dial. The exposure meter pointer in the Exposure Indicator Window is coupled to the shutter mechanism and will shift in either direction when the shutter speed is adjusted.
- The exposure meter begins to function when the focusing hood is set upright by lifting it gently with your fingertip.
- When the camera is to be left unused, fold the focusing hood. This will switch off the meter and Prevent draining of battery power.
Turn the Aperture Control Dial and coincide the yellow follower needle (coupled to the aperture mechanism) with the red meter pointer (coupled to the shutter mechanism), both visible in the Exposure Indicator Window.
*The correct combination of the shutter speed and lens aperture can be seen in the Shatter Speed and Aperture Indicator Windows.
* When the Yellow follower needle (Y) perfectly coincides with the Red meter pointer ( I ), it signifies that THE CAMERA is set for correct exposure. The proper combination of the shutter speed and aperture is shown in the Shutter Speed and Aperture Indicator Windows.
* If the Yellow follower needle fails to align with the Red meter pointer, alter the shutter speed setting by turning the Shutter Speed Control Dial in either direction. If the two needles fail to match even when both the shutter speed an aperture settings are changed, it means that correct exposure cannot be obtained under the prevailing light condition.
ASA Film Speed Rating
ASA rating indicates the sensitivity of the emulsion of the film and is clearly imprinted on the box or instructions, which come with the film.
ASA FILM SPEED SCALE AND SHUTTER SPEEDS (Yashica MAT I24G)
|Light Conditions||Average Subjects|
|Bright Sun||1/500 – 1/250 sec.|
|Cloudy Bright||1/250 – 1/125 sec.|
|Heavy Overcast or Rain||1/60 – 1/30 sec.|
|Indoors||1/30 sec. or slower|
|Special Conditions||1 sec. or B|
* Set desired shutter speed by turning shutter speed control dial. To determine Aperture control dial and align Yellow follower needle with Red meter pointer.
* As a role of thumb a photographer would always advice a newcomers to photography when shooting under 1/125 sec. to place the camera on a tripod or a solid surface, as lower shutter speeds pick up camera shake, which create blurry images.
Focusing a Yashica 124G
- The camera features a magnifying lens for critical focusing which springs up into position when the sports finder frame section of the Focusing Hood is pushed in slightly.
- To focus, turn the Focusing Knob while observing the image of your subject produced on the Focusing Screen. After focusing, compose your picture.
- In Focus: THE CAMERA is in focus when the image on the Focusing Screen appears clear and crisp.
- Out of focus. Your subject will appear blurred on the Focusing Screen when it is out of focus.
How to load film into a Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
- The Back Cover will spring open when the Back Cover Locking Ring is turned in the direction of “O” (Open). *Note: The exposure counter resets automatically to “S” (Start) when the Back Cover is opened.
- Pull out the Upper Spool Holder Knob and place the empty spool in the Take-Up Spool Chamber. After the Take-up Spool is set properly in the camera, return the Spool Holder Knob to its original position.
- When loading a 120 film (12 exposures), hold the back cover with both hands and slide the Film Pressure Plate with your thumbs until it clicks into position and the sign 12 EX. (In green) appears in the window in the middle of the plate.
- When loading a 220 film (24 exposures), hold the back cover with both hands and slide the Film Pressure Plate with your thumbs until it clicks into position and the sign 24 EX. (In red) appears in the window in the middle of the plate.
Cautions: When sliding the Film Pressure Plate from 12 EX. to 24 EX., or vice versa, use both hands and then check if the plate spring is working properly by depressing the plate once or twice.
* Uneven film feeding and poor focusing may result if the Film Pressure Plate is not properly positioned.
Inserting New film into Yashica 124G TLR Camera
- Place the new roll of film in the lower film chamber while pulling out the Lower Spool Holder Knob. Also make sure that the Lower Spool Holder is returned to its original position after loading the film.
- Draw out the film leader gently and introduce its tip straight and amply into the slot on the spindle of the Take-up Spool. The film may fail to advance if the film leader is not inserted properly into the slot.
- After ascertaining that the trimmed edge of the film leader rests flush against the edge of the slot, turn the Film Wind Crank-handle gently in the direction of the arrow and check whether the film is advancing properly.
- Continue winding the film until the “start” mark on the film leader paper lines up with the GREEN triangular (<) “start” mark for 120 film.
- Continue winding the film until the “start” mark on the film leader paper lines up with the RED triangular (>) “start” mark for 220 film.
- Then, close the Back Cover and turn the Back Cover Locking Ring toward “C” (Close) while pressing the cover. (When closing the Back Cover, see that the lug on the body rests properly in the slot on the Back Cover Latch.)
Preparing Yashica Mat 124G settings for taking pictures.
Steps and settings after loading your film into the camera:
- The letter ”S” appears in the Exposure Counter during the film loading operation. After closing the Back Cover, wind the crank-handle until the figure “1” appears in the Exposure Counter Window.
- First, turn the Crank-handle all the way in a clock-wise motion (toward ). Then, wind it all the way in a counter clockwise motion (toward ) to charge the shutter.
* CAUTION: In case of slow shutter speeds (1 sec. to 1/50sec.), make sure the shutter mechanism completes its function before winding the film.
Exposure Load Reminder and Film Type Indicator Window
- Exposure Load Reminder Window: When the back cover is closed, the exposure load reminder window will show “12 EX” (green) in case of 120 film, and “24 EX” (red) in case of 220 film, to check the exposure load of the film in use.
- Film Type Indicator Window: After loaded the film, turn the Film Type Indicator as illustrated, so that the letters equivalent to the film type in use are indicated in the window.
Unloading Film From Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
- (When Using 120 Film) The figure “12” appears in the exposure counter window, it signifies that the full length of the film has been exposed. Another wind of the crank handle will set the exposure counter between “12” and “13”, but continue winding until the crank-handle turns freely without tension.
- (Alternative When Using 220 Film) The figure “24” appears in the exposure counter window, it signifies that the full length of the film has been exposed. Another wind of the crank-handle will bring out the Mark in the window, but continue winding until the crank-handle turns freely without tension.
- Open the Back Cover by turning the Back Cover Locking Ring in the direction of “O” (Open).
- Pull out the Upper Spool Holder Knob and take out the exposed film from the film chamber. Paste the seal to prevent recoiling and wrap the film in lightproof paper.
* Good Camera Tips to remember:
- To minimize the trouble in loading your next film, it is advisable to take out the empty spool from the lower film chamber and to set it in the upper chamber immediately after unloading the exposed film.
- The Shutter Locking Lever located on the base of the Shutter Release Button offers an effective provision against accidental tripping of the shutter. To lock the shatter, shift the Shutter locking Lever and align it with “L” (Lock).
Better Picture Taking Tips with Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
- Color Photography: For best results in color photography, see that your subject’ receives the light directly from the front. The even distribution of light over the entire subject area will assure better color balance.
- Shooting Open Scenes: When shooting Landscapes or other open scenes, the use of a lens hood is recommended to ward off extraneous reflected light.
- Shooting Back-lighted Subjects: The CdS exposure meter built into the camera is designed to make automatic compensation for exposure when shooting against light, therefore, take the exposure reading in the normal way.
- In case you wish to bring out your main subject brighter, approach your subject and set the exposure accordingly.
Use Of Filters on the Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
- When shooting under blazing sunlight or photographing snow or beach scenes, the use of a filter is recommended to assure better overall effect.
- When using filter, make compensation for exposure according to the filter factor. (For instance, double the exposure when a Y2 filter is mounted over the taking lens.)
- In case the correct combination of shutter speed and aperture is 1/250 sec. and F8, turn the Aperture Control Dial and set the lens aperture to F5.6 when using a Y2 filter.
Flash Exposure With Yashica Mat 124G TLR
- When using a conventional flash-gun or electronic flash, mount it directly on the accessory shoe or with a bracket attached to the Tripod Socket of the camera.
- Plug the PC cord of the flash unit into the Flash Contact of the camera.
- Plug the PC cord of the flash unit into the Flash Contact of the camera.Correct exposure in flash photography is determined by referring to the guide number of the flash bulb or electronic flash in use. The correct aperture is obtained by dividing the guide number for a specific ASA film speed rating by the camera-to-subject distance.
- Always set the Flash Synchronizer Selector to “M” with M-class bulbs.
- Switch the Flash Synchronizer Selector to “X” when using F-class flash bulbs or electronic flash.
* The guide number is clearly indicated on the outer box or instructions which come with the flash bulbs or electronic flash.
|Flash Unit||Flash Contact||Shutter Speeds|
|M-Class bulbs||M||All Speeds|
|F-Class bulbs||X||1/30 sec. or slower|
|Electronic Flash||X||All Speeds|
Using Self-Timer with Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
* When using the self-timer, always see to it that the Flash Synchronizer Selector is switched to “X” position
- Charge the shutter by winding the Crank-handle and then set the Self-Timer by shifting the lever on the bottom of the lens barrel section in the direction of the arrow.
- The Self-Timer is activated through depression of the Shutter Release Button and trips the shutter after a delay of 6 to 15 seconds.
* When shooting with the aid of the self-timer. it is advisable to mount the camera on a tripod or to set it on a firm surface.
Caution: Avoid manipulating the Self-Timer Lever while the Flash Synchronizer Selector is set at “M” position, since it may cause damage to the Self-Timer mechanism.
B (Bulb) Exposure Cable Release on Yashica Mat 124G
- At ”B” (Bulb) setting, the shutter remains open over the duration the Shutter Release Button is depressed. This setting is used for long exposures under subdued light conditions or in shooting fireworks, etc.
- When shooting at 1/30 sec. or slower shutter speeds or making B (bulb) exposures, it is advisable to mount the camera on a tripod and to use a cable release to prevent erratic movement of the camera during exposure. To mount the cable release, screw it into the Cable Release Socket on the Shutter Release Button.
Depth Of Field on Yashica Mat 124G TLR
- The depth of field for a given aperture and camera-to-subject distance can be read off the depth-of-field scale around the Focusing Knob. By checking this scale, you can easily determine before shooting the extent over which the objects will appear sharp and clear.
- When your camera is focused on a subject at a distance of 10 feet, and the lens aperture is set at F16, the range indicated by figures”16″ on both sides of the distance scale Index is the extent of the depth of field. In other words, all objects from a distance of about 7 feet to 15 feet will appear sharp and clear on the film.
Sports Finder on Yashica Mat 124G
The Sports-finder incorporate in the Focusing Hood comes in handy for snapshots or when shooting fast-moving subjects at eye-level.
- To set the Sports-finder for action, press the Sports-finder Frame Cover all the way in until it clicks in place.
- To close the Cover, push the Release Button on the back of the Focusing Hood.
Lens Hoods and Filters for Yashica Mat 124G TLR Camera
- LENS HOOD (30 mm bayonet type) Use of lens hood is recommended for subjects in bright light, sea or snow scenes, and to prevent unnecessary stray light from falling on the lens.
- FILTER (30 mm bayonet type)
Better overall results can be obtained through use of a filter when shooting sea or snow scenes, etc. under glaring sunlight and for obtaining special effects. Filters available for B&W film UV, ND2 Y2 02, R1, G1, Filters available for color film 1A, BOB, 81B, 82A & 85.