Hello friends! Welcome back to another camera review.
I’m super excited to talk about and review one of my favorite medium format film cameras, the Yashica Mat-124G. I got this little beauty a few years ago as a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband, and it’s one of my favorites!
Alright, let’s jump into some of the technical details of this camera.
The Yashica Mat-124G definitely has a very hefty feel to it, weighing a little over 2 lbs. It’s one of those cameras where you can feel how sturdy it is when it’s in your hands. Even the levers for focusing and advancing film have a weight to them.
This camera captures square images that are around 6cm (2.36 inches), and a typical role of 120 film will give you 12 square images.
The lens on the front of the camera is 80mm f/3.5 and gives really beautiful and crisp images. When I put images from the Yashica Mat-124G side-by-side with images from my Pentax 645n, I can’t tell them apart when it comes to image quality.
The Mat-124G does have a light meter. It’s a little yellow arrow that moves from left to right at the top of the camera. It does a decent job, but when in doubt, I always suggest using an external light meter.
On either side of the camera, there is a small metal hook, so using a neck strap is easy and something I definitely recommend, especially if you plan on using the flip top viewfinder!
When holding the camera, on the left side you have a dial that is used for focusing your image, and on the right side you have a lever for advancing your film as well as the image counter and ISO dial.
For the price point, this camera creates such beautiful imagery. I believe one of the biggest contributors to this camera creating lovely, sharp images is the focusing nob on the left side, it turns a little bit slower than other cameras which gives you greater precision when focusing for your image.
When it comes to loading film into the Yashica Mat-124G, this camera works very similarly to most medium format cameras.
You can use both 120 or 220 film with this camera, and loading it into the camera is quite simple. Twist the dial on the bottom of the camera to pop open the back. The film is loaded at the bottom of the camera by pulling the knob to the left, inserting your film, then letting go of the knob.
Then, thread your film into the empty spool at the top of the open back. Crank the film winder until the arrow on your roll of film lines up the green arrow near the bottom of the camera (if you’re shooting 220 film, you’ll match the arrow on your roll of film to the red arrow on the camera).
If you’re used to shooting medium format film cameras, loading up this little beauty will be a piece of cake!
Now, let’s talk about shooting. This can possibly be the most challenging part of this camera as it has a bit of a learning curve with it.
One of the coolest parts of the Yashica Mat-124G is the fact that you can see the image you are about to take from the top. Instead of using a typical viewfinder, you get to use the flip-top, waist level viewfinder to see your image.
As cool as this is, one of the learning curves to using a waist level viewfinder is how you are positioning your photos. Every movement you make and what you see in front of you will be reversed in the viewfinder, which can make it a tad bit challenging when taking and framing pictures.
But mastering this aspect is totally worth it, believe me!
One of the major pros in my personal opinion is using the waist level viewfinder and being able to see this version of your image before you actually click your shutter. This adds a whole other level of love to the whole shooting experience!
And I won’t even lie, it makes for some pretty awesome Instagram photos as well!
And for me, the biggest con is the amount of images you get per roll. Shooting 120 can already get expensive, so it’s a bit of a hit on the wallet when you only get 12 images out of a roll of film.
Because of this, it makes it difficult to use this camera in situations where you need to shoot and run through film at a faster rate.