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.
Originally Posted by ToddB
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.