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Yashicamat 124G Review

Controls

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The controls on a TLR are pretty basic. The yashicamat 124G comes with a light meter, a focussing knob and a waist level finder with focussing screen. The viewfinder incorporates a sports finder for direct shooting, but of course this camera is not designed for sports.

The aperture and shutter speed controls are on the front of the camera, to the side of the lenses. The aperture adjustment operates incrementally rather than in whole stops; setting the aperture 1/3 of the way between f8 and f11 gives you f9. The same doesn’t go for shutter speed, but comes in distinct detentes on the dial.

IMG_0007

f stop and shutter speed indicator, in the foreground the light meter

Operating the Yashicamat 124G is easy enough, a bit clunky at times. I would have preferred to focus the camera with my right hand rather than my left, but you get used to it after a while. Instead of the focussing knob, the right hand side of the camera houses the winding lever to advance the frame and cock the shutter.

The biggest challenge you will have, especially in the beginning is getting to grips with the waist level viewfinder. WLVs are popular on MF cameras like Hasselblads, but take a while to get your head around; everything you see on the screen is reversed. If you tilt it left the picture tilts right, you want the object to move right in the frame, you move the camera right. It’s all very confusing, but persevere and you’ll soon get the hang of it.

The viewfinder is a joy to look through, but takes some getting used to

The viewfinder is a joy to look through, but takes some getting used to

What you will also get the hang of is staring at a live picture on the ground glass at f2.8. It is just gorgeous, one of the finest a things you will see in photography, especially if you’re used to looking at the world though a digital SLR. Because you look at a ground glass TLR focussing screen with both eyes, the image has a 3D quality that looking through an SLR viewfinder with a single eye just cannot match. It makes the world look gorgeous, and shows you what your photos are going to look like. Shame the 124 doesn’t come with an f2.8 lens, that would be dynamite.

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Also published on Medium.

6x6medium formatyashicamatyashicamat 124G

agoodman@me.com' Andrew • November 7, 2015


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