The Yashicamat was the first Medium Format Camera I bought. I got it off eBay, and it was in mint condition. It looked like it had never been used. I sold it 2 years later for more than I paid for it. It was a good camera, and I probably could have held on to it as it wasn’t going to lose any value, but truth be told, it didn’t really suit my shooting style.
TLR stands for Twin Lens Reflex, there are two lenses, one for viewing (top one) and one which is directed onto the film. The lenses are not interchangeable, fixed at 80mm, which is your nifty fifty in Medium format land. The Yashicamat is a 6×6 camera, shooting a large 6cm square format negative.
The Yashicamat 124 is based on the Rolleiflex camera, and nearly as good. The viewing lens on the Yashicamat is a 2.8, but the raking lens is f3.5, whereas some Rolleiflex cameras are available with an f2.8 as well as an f3.5 taking lens.
If I was going to buy another TLR, I would get an f2.8 Rolleiflex. Why? That image in the waist level viewfinder is so gorgeous to look at, it’s hard not to feel that you want to see the world that way and you want your images to look that way too. Unfortunately then they come out with f3.5 DOF rather than than buttery f2.8 look, it’s a little disappointing.
Of course, if price is important to you, and it is to most people, then the yashicamat can be got on eBay for around £150 in good condition, whereas a Rolleiflex 2.8 is going to set you back the best part of a grand. One day.
Sorry, where were we? Let’s get back to reality.