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Thread: Yashica 124g?

  1. #11

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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.

  2. #12
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
    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.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    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
    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.

  3. #13
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddB View Post
    Is the image quality very good?
    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
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 01-01-2013 at 01:52 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: There are really 3 color photos...
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  4. #14
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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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.

  5. #15
    DWThomas's Avatar
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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').

  6. #16
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    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.
    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

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToddB View Post
    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
    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

  8. #18

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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.

  9. #19
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susie Frith View Post
    The thing is to buy one and enjoy it without worrying too much!
    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
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 01-01-2013 at 04:25 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Picked a better word...
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  10. #20
    kintatsu's Avatar
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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!

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