Yashica 124g?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ToddB, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Hey guys,

    i'm curious about these Yashica 124g cameras. Is the image quality very good? They look to be very affordable. Any input?

    ToddB
     
  2. LiamG

    LiamG Member

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    I believe they use a Tessar variant taking lens. Pretty predictable performance there; I certainly can't fault it.
     
  3. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Simple search of Yashica 124g = the links below.
    Pay particular attention to threads about the battery that powers the meter.
    Mercury cells (1.3 volts)...they're no longer available.
    Newer 1.5 volt replacements = wrong voltage in = wrong meter result out.
    Lens uses Bay-1 filter and hoods, not conventional screw-on...unless an adapter is used.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/google.p...rchid=1796921&pp=&page=3&ss=12513j25884653j14
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2013
  4. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

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    Nice camera, nice lens, makes great photos. I think most successful TLR aside from the Rollei's.
     
  5. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Todd,

    I use mine occasionally and get excellent results from it. The meter/battery situation cited above by Marc doesn't particularly concern me because I normally use a handheld meter with all my MF cameras, most of which lack built-in meters entirely.

    Konical
     
  6. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    "Pay particular attention to threads about the battery that powers the meter.
    Mercury cells (1.3 volts)...they're no longer available.
    Newer 1.5 volt replacements = wrong voltage in = wrong meter result out."



    Meter isn't much good anyway. Best to use a handheld incident or spot meter.

    Made my first professional pictures with one of them.
    Used a bunch of them over the years.
    Lens is best at f8 or 11.
    You can get amazingly good results with the sports finder - zone focused @f8 with a flash.
    The old guys I learned from always fired a flash on every frame - for fill on outdoor shots - and it definitely boosts the contrast.
    The lens is sharp enough but its slow and prone to flare as compared to contemporary 35mm optics.
    A lens hood, should you be lucky enough to find one, is mandatory.
    The bayonet mount auxiliary wide angle and telephoto lenses (also rarely found) are passable as well if you use them within their limits.

    That said, the old Yashicamat will teach you a lot about medium format photography for a very modest investment.
     
  7. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    Well then there is the Mamiya C330 family which just shows what can be done with a little Japanese ingenuity

    David
     
  8. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I'm not using mine since I'm not a TLR type of guy. Pic's available.
     
  9. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    I've overhauled a few Yashica-Mats, including the 124-G. The Yashinon lens is a very good Tessar-type lens. The internals mechanisms are solidly done; not Rolleiflex solid, not Rolleiflex precision machining, but competently done. I'd consider the Yashica-Mats the bottom level of a 'real' TLR that will give you solid results that could be used professionally.

    They made hundreds of thousands of them, it seems. Working on them, I got the sense that the factory slapped them together; there would be a little fiddling if things didn't work or meet specs, and any out-of-range cameras would then simply be dropped in a parts box. In other words, not really designed to be maintained over the years. When people talk about good or bad lenses on the Yashicas, I bet that this is primarily due to good or bad alignment and such. The focus rails and lens board are not built as solid as Rolleis ('flex or 'cord).

    In other words, condition is important. Get one in good alignment for a good price, you'll have a nice camera.

    Then again, for what 124-Gs go for these days, a Minolta Autocord has a better lens and almost no chance of being out of alignment. The Yashica-Mat 124 (no G) is a better-built camera all in all. A Rolleicord will most likely be in better alignment and such. The meter is of no concern to me since I wouldn't use it anyway.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I enjoy using my Yashica124 and haven't had any issues with the meter/battery, in fact I'm surprised how accurate it is. It's possible it was adjusted to take modern 1.5v batteries befire I bought it.

    At some stage I'll buy a second to use here in the UK. I bought the first on a whim on this forum I hadn't used a TLR since the early 1980's when my Mamiyas were stolen and found it became a mainstay of my photography in Turkey/Greece etc.

    Ian
     
  11. dpt2014

    dpt2014 Member

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    I have a 124G. It's often considered the gateway TLR, and I can attest to that. I've now owned a Rolleicord Vb, 'flex 3.5E and 3.5E2, 'flex 2.8E, and Mamiya C220 (still own them all except the Vb and 3.5E2). While the Yashinon taking lens is no slouch, I find myself reaching for the 'cords more often. The 124G comes out to play when I'm not as comfortable taking the 'flexes out. The biggest pro, IMO, is the ergonomics. Very similar to most Rolleiflexes, which I find very comfortable.
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I have a 124 non-G. I've heard before that they are better built, mainly with having more metal gearing in place of some nylon or the like, though I don't know how true that is. I do know they sound different in winding. I think they're better looking in a classic antique way too, but that's subjective. I wouldn't shy away from a good sample of either.

    I find I probably enjoy using that camera more than any of my others, including all my 35mm, my Mamiya 645 Pro with multiple lenses and backs, and maybe even my Linhof. Of course there are things it just isn't suited to and I'd never want to give up large format or 35mm. But the Yashicamat is just plain fun to use, always gets smiles and often polite questions from people, and produces excellent results.

    Mine does yield inconsistent frame spacing but there's always enough frame spacing and I always get my 12 shots so I've seen absolutely no reason to have it looked at on that account.

    Mine came with a battery, and I haven't even opened it up to see if it's a 1.5V or a Wien cell or the like. It's still working though, and as long as I've had the camera that argues against a zinc-air. I suppose I should take a look.

    I always use it along with my LunaPro SBC so it really doesn't matter to me how well or if it works, but as long as I'm often surprised at how it agrees very closely with the LunaPro. The meter on my 124 only goes to 400 though, requiring some mental compensation if I wanted to use it with Portra 800 or Delta 3200, both of which I've done. I don't know if this applies to the G model.

    Excellent camera if you get a good one. You'll almost certainly like it, and if you just find that TLRs or WLF or whatever aspect is not to your liking you should be able to sell it for about what you pay.
     
  13. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    A click on this link will perform an APUG Gallery-only search for "124G" and produce 25 images made with this camera, 22 black-and-white and 3 color. Some really nice photographs are in this set.

    (Oops. I just noticed you are not a subscriber, so this may not work for you. If not, APUG subscriptions are only $2/month, I believe. Well worth it.)

    Ken
     
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  15. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The Yashinon lens used on the late Yashica TLRs was also used on many earlier bodies which have little of the almost cult status of the 124G. However, they can make images just as good, and can be cheaper. The older Yashikor lens has just three element, and should be stopped down for critical work. I've casually used a few models of Yashica TLRs, and find them less reliable than a Rolliflex should be.
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    In a GAS attack in 2010 I picked up a 124G. I haven't done a lot with it, but have been pretty pleased with the results. The light meter is not operating, although some of that may be dirt in the contacts that switch it on when the WLF hood is opened (when I first got it, it would intermittently wiggle the needle as that lid was moved). Using a separate meter is easy enough, and I own several so I don't see that as a problem. Maybe one of these days I'll open it up -- it's on my exponentially growing do-list.

    I use a Bronica SQ-A for my "most serious" work, but the Yashica is a fun change. Generic TLR advantages seem to be occasionally drawing some friendly attention from bystanders and being less intimidating to subjects. My latest use was probably the biggest advantage -- having separate viewfinder and film optical path permits using opaque infrared filters without having to pop them on and off to compose and focus. The only other TLR I can compare it to is a Flexaret III, a circa 1950 TLR I own that feels pretty fragile in the winding crank section (and needs at least a homegrown CLA).

    I wouldn't mind a recent Rollei if someone insists on giving it to me, but I tend to be pragmatic (AKA 'cheap'). :D
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    While that's true, AFAIK all the 124s and 124Gs (and all the Yaschicamats before - the earlier ones had different names) have the Yashinon. The Yashikor was on the earlier models:

    http://www.tlr-cameras.com/japanese/Yashica.html
     
  18. Susie Frith

    Susie Frith Member

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    Hi Todd,

    My first medium format camera was a 124G, bought new, and I got some really good photos with it. Very easy to use. However, if you ever pick up a Rolleiflex, you'll realise why they are so cheap: the Rolleis are just so well built, but for the money, a good one will be a good entry to MF.

    The thing is to buy one and enjoy it without worrying too much!

    Susie
     
  19. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    there's a definite build quality difference, but keep in mind: the copal shutters actually tend to last longer without service, I think they were made to work that way, or they're just not so precise so they're less likely to bind, or something.

    Plus, keep in mind, the quality of your images is 5 percent equipment and 95 percent you -- 100 years ago the best photographers in the world would have killed for something as good as a yashica, both for optics and build, but without them they still somehow managed to produce amazing images.
     
  20. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Susie gives really, really good advice.

    Try to stay away from the analysis paralysis. I've owned and used the same 124G since purchasing it new when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Although admittedly lightly used, it still works (and looks) like new. Those first two photos in that gallery search set are mine. One from the 70s and the other from about four years ago. There was no difference in camera performance between those exposures.

    Oh, and several years back I asked a camera repairman to calibrate the internal meter. At first he looked at me like I was crazy, but I insisted. Since then that meter has worked dead on. It's completely accurate and reliable as long as I use it in the reasonable middle of its range. (I do still use only original PX625 mercury cells in it.)

    I'm reminded of the signature line of fellow APUGger 'darinwc':

    "Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no."

    Ken
     
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  21. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    I love mine! The only issue I've had is the film advance needing to be serviced. Sharpness has never been an issue, and although I use my 7D for metering, the one I have has been within 1/3 stop every time!
     
  22. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Keeping cost in mind, it's worthwhile to look at the older pre-124g Yashicamats. The 124g has become something of a cult camera and that's reflected in the price. I was able to find a pre-124g in almost mint condition for $100. Another advantage of the older Yashicamats is that they're more solid, i.e. less plastic. Like the 124g the LM and EM models have a meter (selenium, not battery-powered), which is usually no good anymore -- although the meter on my EM is still working and accurate.
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I totally agree with the build quality of Yashicamats compared to Rolleiflex acmeras, I have both. In my case the value of my Rollei is about ten times that of my Yashica.

    As I write I'm in the middle of cutting mats for an exhibition set of 50+ images, these are a mix of of prints from 6x6, 6x17, 5x4 & 10x8 negatives, and the 6x6 are either from my Rolleiflex (UK) or Yashicamat 124 (Turkey). The prints from the Yashicamat 124 negatives don't lack anything i terms of quality and unless I told someone they'd have no idea which camera was used, and that's all that really matters.

    I treat myRolleiflex preciously, because it's mint despite being about 50 years old, but my Yashicamat vame with dings and wear so is very much a user camera so as you say I can use it without worrying too much.

    Ian
     
  24. Ed Bray

    Ed Bray Member

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    I was lucky with mine, I picked it up for $50 plus shipping. Fitted a Wein cell and all works great. I did need to clean the rear element of the lens though as it had a mild fungal like pattern, a bit of white vinegar later and the lens now sparkles. Images so far (only two films) have been very impressive although I do use a lens hood and I made a small cardboard hood for the meter to shade it from the sky.
     
  25. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    For many years my favourite camera was my Rolleicord V. This has now been joined by a Rolleiflex and a Yashica-mat LM, both from my father's collection.

    I should really try them both out to see how they compare but I doubt that I will be able to tell any difference between them or with the Rolleicord.

    I tend to use f8 more than any other stop so I won't see any differences in the lenses wide open which is where most of the reported differences are.

    As far as build quality is concerned - I haven't taken a Yashica apart but externally, it seems o.k. However, judging by the sound of the shutter and the feel of the wind on, I can tell that it doesn't quite have the manufacturing precision of the Rolleicord or Rolleiflex. I'm sure that when they were new, this was reflected in the price. Otherwise I doubt that many Yashicas would have been sold.


    Steve.
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My first serious camera was a Zenit E in the late 60's so I grew up with a similar meter on the camera body, although Selenium not Cds so more sensitive to bright skies etc. You quickly learn how to meter by turnig sideways or pointung the camera down a touch more, I did the samewith a Westo meter, except when using the Invercone.

    Ian