Yashica – Mat 124 – My stray into medium format

A friend of mine kept trying to get me into shooting medium format. I wont pretend to know much at all on the subject except that the essence is shooting with a camera that takes 120 film rolls. The frame size is typically something on the order of 60 x 60 mm about 2x the frame size of 35mm. This has a number of advantages but the one which most will perhaps notice is the resolution…

I found a Yashica Mat 124 in a local store, little beaten up but not too shocking given it was probably built sometime in the 70s.

SAMSUNGIt has a few quirks, which I think is due to a sticky shutter release/crank gearing. Basically advancing the film requires the following (in my case)

1) take the photograph
2) re-press the shutter release and advance the crank by about 5 degrees till it hits a hard stop
3) un-press the shutter release and advance as normal

I’ll be cleaning it up and giving it a exercise and if any issues persist ill probably open it up (requires destroying the covers) and tinker around with it.

There is also some oil on the inner taking lens, from the rear side of the aperture blades. Something that I have read is common with these cameras. I require a special tool in order to take out the lens, though i’ll get around to that when i can find one.

Anyway, I put a Portra 120 through it and despite one double exposure (basically the issue listed above) the film looks ok, there is parhaps a slight haze in certain lighting (definitely the oil) but otherwise things look pretty good.



The light on this day was not very good, it was mostly cloudy so contrast was always going to be a challenge. The original scan of this came out as about 25 mega pixels, the 1 : 1 crop of that scan is shown below


Which is quite impressive  in my opinion, the noise you see is part of the unsharp mask, in reality a professional scan of this would look great.

This is actually the first shot a took with the Yashica Mat 124, the blue/purple tinge is more an effect of my incorrect RGB settings, VueScan is wonderful but care is required to really neutralize it. These scans were done in batch, so I didn’t take time to fix it.

Scan-130602-0006_WMThe building at the back is the Biosciences building at Queen’s University.


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