No guarantee. I looked down at the Yashica Mat in my hand and it looked in good condition. The shutter speeds and aperture worked and it had a nice leather case, albeit a bit worn. I already had a hand-held light meter so I figured it was worth the gamble and I handed over my money. That was in the summer of and in the intervening twenty years my love affair with this fantastic camera has never waned.
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Schneider Posted: May 29, The Yashica-Mat is a fashionable addition to any sidewalk cafe table, and has many times more street cred than most hipsters. The only things missing are a fedora and pack of Gauloises. Daniel J. It was an impulsive bet on a single feature, but I think it worked out. Early in my journey from digital back to film, I picked up a rough Yashica-D for cheap and I really quickly fell very much in love.
I shared some Provia slides made with the D quite a while ago. That camera had a scrape in the back that went all the way through at the edge of the film door, a stuck shutter and a literal mouse nest in the viewing lens. But with a little gaffer tape over the hole, some lighter fluid in the shutter and a thorough cleaning, it was a decent camera. And, of course, it was a strong influence in my buying the Yashica-A that I reviewed last year. Entry level or not, that was a solid camera, too.
In fact, the Frugal Photographer points out that the Yashicas made from about until are very good, and with their lower prices, likely are more economical than the Rolleicords and low-end Rolleiflexes they were meant to compete with.
So when I had the chance to buy a cheap Yashica-Mat with a misbehaving focus knob, I jumped on it. But I have a ton of example photos to show off, too. The techy stuff The Yashica-Mat was first released in and went through several slight variations over the years.
The left side of the Yashica-Mat. The large knob is the focus knob and has a film-speed reminder in it. The two smaller knobs are the spool releases. The focus knob is on the left-hand side of the camera and has a scale marked in both meters and feet, with a minimum focusing distance of 1 meter, and a depth-of-field scale.
There is a film speed reminder ring in the film advance knob. All the viewing lenses are reportedly three-element designs. The right side of the Yashica-Mat has the folding advance crank lever and frame counter. Schneider The film advance, a folding crank lever which automatically advances one frame at a time, and also cocks the shutter, is the primary feature borrowed from the Rolleiflex.
The frame counter is in a small window on the right-hand side above the advance crank. It will go all the way around when you first load film or when you go beyond the last exposure.
In between, though, wind the lever forward about one half turn to advance the film one frame, and then turn it back to set the shutter. The focal length is fixed but the lenses have Bay 1 mounts to which filters, lens hoods, and close-up lenses can be fitted.
This model cannot use film, though the later Yashica-Mat G can. The shutter and aperture controls are dials mounted to either side of the gap between the viewing and taking lenses. Mine have small leatherette discs affixed to them, but some were polished in the center or had other ornamentation. The leatherette discs are repeated on the film spool holders on the left side of the camera. Rotate them back and they pop into the camera to hold the film spools. Looking down at the focusing screen of the Yashica-Mat.
The grid lines are a nice addition. On my camera, the Open arrow has enamel in it, while the Close arrow does not. The viewfinder is of the waist-level variety — like most twin-lens reflex cameras. The flip-up hood features a spring-mounted center panel that can be pushed in partway to release a magnifier. A small silver button on the back right corner of the viewfinder hood releases the panel from sport mode. Refer to the manual for more details.
In this view you can see the displays for the shutter speed and aperture controls — displayed above the viewing lens, facing up.
I also have a Yashica Bay 1 lens hood installed on the taking lens here. Schneider Focusing is done using the focus knob and the ground glass focusing screen in the viewfinder. Instead of a pentaprism like an SLR, a TLR uses a simple mirror, so the image on the focusing screen will be horizontally reversed, which can take some getting used to. Some have said that Yashica focusing screens tend to be brighter than those of competing Rolleicords.
The Yashica-Mat has no light meter, but it does have a PC sync socket and a switch to select between M- and X-sync flash modes. A tiny lever with a dot of red enamel on it, under the bottom center of the taking lens the lower lens , is the self-timer.
The entire front plate moves in and out, carrying both lenses and the shutter with it, when focusing. The edge of the front plate seems to conceal a light baffle of some sort allowing it to telescope in and out.
The diagram in this article Romanian might help make better sense of the way the front plate works. The shutter release is on the lower-right as seen from behind the camera corner of the front plate. Functionally, this is a very simple camera. Festive lights adorn the trees lining the streets of old town Arvada, Colo.
Schneider My thoughts As I mentioned, when I got the camera it had a few imperfections. Most notably, the focus knob was wonky, working a bit sometimes, but mostly spinning without effect. Also, there was a bent-up paper clip holding the self-timer lever to the flash sync mode switch.
I can only theorize that a previous owner had trouble activating the self timer by accident and wired it in the off position to stop that. I removed the paper clip and tested the timer — it works fine. The focus knob was a tougher nut to crack. But not much. It turns out the focus knob is just bolted in place with a nut.
It seems to be relatively common for the nut to come loose, leaving the knob loose and making focusing difficult or impossible. Schneider To cure the problem, use a pin spanner to unscrew the plastic cap in the center of the knob. Find a socket that fits the nut inside and has thin-enough walls to fit in the center of the knob. Make sure the front plate is all the way in and the knob is aligned to the infinity mark. Tighten the nut. After fixing those two minor issues, I immediately started putting film through it.
I love the crank winder — the feature that I bought it for in the first place. The crank is fast. You can really burn through frames if you want.
You will get looks and comments on the street. I did make one other alteration. I carefully compared the brightness of the viewfinders in the Yashica-D and Yashica-Mat in a dim room with a single light about 10 feet away, and found them roughly equal — with the D possibly being a little brighter.
Then I opened up the Yashica-Mat. A skyway in an alley off of 16th Street Mall in Denver. Schneider I found that the mirror in the viewer — a first-surface mirror silvered with actual silver — had some desilvering that likely contributed to the dim viewfinder.
A thought occurred to me — the Yashica-D was in pretty rough shape but the mirror was flawless. So I swapped the mirrors, and the difference was like night and day. In a follow-up comparison, the Yashica-Mat is now at least a full stop brighter — maybe close to two.
I gave the Yashica-D to a friend for his daughter to experiment with, since, rough as it is, everything still technically works and it can make a good picture. Everything about the Yashica-Mat just fits for me. It sits comfortably in the hand and focus is easy to achieve, with or without the magnifier although I find myself using it most of the time. Months later, the focus remains smooth and functional. The aperture works nicely and the blades are clean and smooth.
And, oh, the pictures it can take! Hay, straw, oats and welding supplies. A garage outside of Wiggins, Colo. Schneider Is it perfect? It takes care and a little effort, and I usually try to find a place to set things down. When holding the camera, I do sometimes feel like I need to be careful not to squeeze the front plate into the camera too much, for fear it may affect the relationship between the two lenses and thereby the focus of the image.
Schneider Impressive piano playing on the 16th Street Mall. Schneider Sunset in old downtown Arvada, where the tracks pass the water tower. Schneider Sunny sidewalk in downtown Littleton, Colo. Schneider A rust spot and the undercarriage of the caboose parked at the Parker, Colo.
Schneider The former Parker, Colo. Schneider A tank — probably for heating oil — outside an abandoned house near the site of Hoyt, Colo. Schneider Review Summary.
YASHICA MAT-124 user's manual
The earliest models are equipped with a mm 3. According to some authorities most notably Mark Hama, who formerly worked in a Yashica factory , the Lumaxar was manufactured for Yashica in West Germany; according to others, it was made in Japan by Tomioka. The lens, a four-element design said to be of the Tessar type, was later re-named Yashinon. Note: the cable release is of the "Leica nipple" style which is also used on subsequent models. The Yashica-Mat LM is a solidly made, easy-to-use camera. It offers flash sync at all speeds. The taking lens is a 3.
Yashica 6×6 TLR (crank advance)
Schneider Posted: May 29, The Yashica-Mat is a fashionable addition to any sidewalk cafe table, and has many times more street cred than most hipsters. The only things missing are a fedora and pack of Gauloises. Daniel J. It was an impulsive bet on a single feature, but I think it worked out. Early in my journey from digital back to film, I picked up a rough Yashica-D for cheap and I really quickly fell very much in love. I shared some Provia slides made with the D quite a while ago.
Camera review: the Yashica Mat 124 – by Malcolm Myers
Special conditions 1 sec. To determine Aperture control dial and align yellow follower needle with red meter pointer. To focus, turn the Focusing Knob while observing the image of your subject produced on the Focusing Screen. After focusing, compose your picture. Out of focus Your subject will appear blurred on the Focusing Screen when it is out of focus.