Ok so this post (2 days in a row?!) is to officially introduce to this blog my wonderful Yashica Mat124G. I fucking love this camera and it has single handedly reignited my passion for film. It’s crazy because as soon as I came back from Vietnam I got a Nikon F3 with a Nikkor 35mm F2 lens, and THIS is the camera I never do a photowalk without. Luckily my Ona Bag fits both perfectly.
I found this camera at a Naples old-used-shit festival (otherwise known as Bidonville) which stops there 2 times a year and I have the weird feeling I tried to purchase the same exact camera off of the same damn guy at least twice before. These market people go to the same places, and I like to think he never was able to get rid of it. Every time it was the same damn price in different places, 150euros. So I tell him “I can’t go more than a hundred” to which he just told me to get lost. I pointed out it was the closing day and shop was about to close. He said not under 120. At that very moment the Napoli game was on the radio and we got a penalty kick. So the whole place just stalls. Napoli kicks, Napoli scores! We’re both happy and I tell him “c’mon, we’re done here for the day. One hundred”. To which he goes “Alright 100! But just because Napoli scored!”
And that was it!! (Not to mention that same day I bought two Olympus Mju for 5 and 7 euros. But that’s another story…)
The lens on this is way sharper than I would have ever thought. These shots are not really reflective of an everyday situation as they are all long exposures, 20 seconds up to 52 at F8. But nonetheless there is really nothing to say in terms of sharpness and detail rendition. Shutter button is a little groggy and has got stuck at under 0 degrees condition, but the shutter cable has been able to fix that.
The view finder is a joy to use and the magnifying lens that flips up does help a lot to get the focus just right.
It’s a little on the heavy side, more than you would like, but it’s such an enjoyable camera that you really don’t notice it at all.
Heads turn when you walk with this thing around your neck. A lot based on what my girlfriend told me. If you’re into that. I didn’t notice it but I think it’s funny.
I’m a really bad reviewer. I’m not able to be objective at all and not let my love for this camera get in the way. I can understand how one can see it as a display camera, but I can’t help bringing it along since I started using it. And the detail you get on a 6×6 negative is astonishing if all you ever shot was 35 mm.
So here are some more shots in daylight. The next one is at F3.5 and you can appreciate the depth of field you are able to get. Not a lot, but noticeable.
I shot these in the park near my house (I think it was my first roll). I initially thought the light meter was broken, but later discovered that it only opens when you flip the viewfinder (smart) and it worked wonderfully still.
I looked at the prices for this thing and for the condition, worn but perfectly working aside from the groggy shutter button which actually does his job just fine, it was a real bargain.
So all in all, I would really recommend this camera as an entry to medium format. Cheap, easy to use and you may be lucky to find one that still works. I didn’t get any accessories with it (no lens cap and no cover) but still.. I’m so excited to shoot this again, I got some rolls of color (to be developed) and today I got a couple of more FP4, cheaper than HP5 in 120 format, and I think it’s gonna be my go-to film for it. Maybe Rollei 400s but only if I have to shoot daylight as I don’t know any reciprocity information for it. But that subject is going to be for another time.
Notes: First three shots shot with Fuji Acros developed in D-76. Literally NO GRAIN at all. Metered with my Android phone. Last three shot with Rollei 400s developed in Rodinal metered with in camera light meter.