An Ebay accident

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#1
Having sold my Bronica, I found myself missing medium format and fancying a TLR for the first time. After lurking around the ’bay for several days I accidentally put in a low “buy me now“ bid on a Yashica Mat 124G, which was described as having been professionally CLA’d, new light seals, film-tested and meter checked for accuracy. The bid was accepted.

Now, not knowing much about these cameras, is the Yashy regarded as a bit of a mf turkey? Should I have saved for several days for a nice Rollieflex? And are there any foibles I need to look out for? The camera should arrive in the next couple of days.
 
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#2
It's not the best sounding camera when you wind it on Stephen, but it seems to be pretty reliable and it takes a decent photo. I've recently replaced mine with a Rolleicord, but there's no consistent difference in the photos I've taken with them. You'll have fun using it and it's a fine intro to decide whether you want to progress further with MF. You can also get tele and wide adaptors for the taking lens, but I'm not so sure about their quality.
 
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It's not the best sounding camera when you wind it on Stephen, but it seems to be pretty reliable and it takes a decent photo. I've recently replaced mine with a Rolleicord, but there's no consistent difference in the photos I've taken with them. You'll have fun using it and it's a fine intro to decide whether you want to progress further with MF. You can also get tele and wide adaptors for the taking lens, but I'm not so sure about their quality.
Thanks Peter. I do like the output of MF, but the ETRS I had felt unbalanced. I intend to keep to the standard focal length in the interests of simplicity.
 
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#7
While I would prefer a Minolta autocord for various reasons. A Yashicamat lens tends to have a better reputation than the xenar on a Rolleicord and is easier to handle.
However a Rolleiflex with a xenotar or planar is likely to be better but far more expensive. Probably the finest lens fitted to a Rolleiflex was the 3.5 planar.
Of all of them the Minolta had the best and flattest film path and the lens was fantastic and the focus mechanism the most rigid and fastest to use. However the grease used in the helix, like that on agfa cameras tended to set solid, often resulting in breaking the focus lever. (This is easy enough to regrease but often too late) they were my favourite wedding camera above even a Rolleiflex.

A Rollei has rack and pinion focussing. Which has to support the entire front panel. The equivalent on a Minolta is a very large helical mount. Which is far more rigid and remains absolutely square to the film plane.
 
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#8
Nothing wrong with the 124g, still have mine and the earlier 35s (I think it was) which has the 35mm insets and paralax lens. I thought the lens were great (I had a bronny too) made some huge enlargments on mine.
 
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#9
As long as your 124G is in full working order then you should be happy enough with the results from it. Aside from mechanical durability, you'd probably have to go for one of the later Rolleiflex models (3.5f or 2.8f, etc.) for a significant/noticable difference in image quality, and that would be an awful lot more expensive (probably over £1,500 for a mint-ish one these days?). You should also have a noticeably brighter viewing screen with the 124G than something like a Rolleicord - and if you can't see to focus properly then it doesn't matter how good the lens is!

So forget buyer's remorse, enjoy the Yashica for what it is, treat the winding mechanism gently and smoothly and you should be happy enough with it. Also, if you've bought at the right price then you should at least get your money back if you find you don't like it.
 
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#10
I had one and it remains a huge regret I sold it, some of my favourite MF film shots were taken with it, I loved the old fashioned sharp but not overly searching nature of it's lens, made it a fantastic portrait camera.
 
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#12
Sounds like I did OK, providing it’s as described. It was a good price. ;);)
Don't forget to post some photos in the F&C section once you've taken some. (y) As for film, my Yashica 635 TLRs seem to like Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (if you can find any of this currently discontinued film at a reasonable price), Ilford XP2 400 (shot at box speed in dull weather and at 200 ISO when its sunny), and Kodak Ektar 100 (once again a sunny day film). They didn't seem to like Portra 400 that much, particularly in lower contrast situations.

The 124G might cope better as I believe it has baffles in the film chamber (to reduce internal veiling lens flare, which tends to mute contrast). Even so, perhaps keep your back to the sun for a few shots as a comparison and see how you go. Hope this is useful.

Here's one from a 1970 Yashica 635 TLR with Yashinon lens (the same type as the Yashica Mat 124), taken on Fuji Acros 100, home scanned on an Epson V600 flatbed, rather than a high-res lab scan, so there'd be more detail in there if I'd gone for a high-res scan. Best of luck, and have fun. :)

 
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#13
Don't forget to post some photos in the F&C section once you've taken some. (y) As for film, my Yashica 635 TLRs seem to like Fuji Neopan Acros 100 (if you can find any of this currently discontinued film at a reasonable price), Ilford XP2 400 (shot at box speed in dull weather and at 200 ISO when its sunny), and Kodak Ektar 100 (once again a sunny day film). They didn't seem to like Portra 400 that much, particularly in lower contrast situations.

The 124G might cope better as I believe it has baffles in the film chamber (to reduce internal veiling lens flare, which tends to mute contrast). Even so, perhaps keep your back to the sun for a few shots as a comparison and see how you go. Hope this is useful.

Here's one from a 1970 Yashica 635 TLR with Yashinon lens (the same type as the Yashica Mat 124), taken on Fuji Acros 100, home scanned on an Epson V600 flatbed, rather than a high-res lab scan, so there'd be more detail in there if I'd gone for a high-res scan. Best of luck, and have fun. :)

That's a nice clean shot! I like Acros, but up here I am happier with 400ASA, which I have used with some success in my Bronica (now gone) and Contax. Contrary to some reports I find XP2 rather good. I don't process at home (yet) but I am slowly collecting equipment. I have an Epson V500, but not too keen on its output for film, even using Vuescan.

Thanks for the tips on the Yashica - yes, I had heard that it is susceptible to flare, so I have ordered a cheapie lens hood (3D-printed) from Italy via Ebay.

Fun is what photography is all about for me, though I shall be somewhat limited in what I can do during January due to impending hospitalisation. However, I get out during the weekends!
 
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#14
That's a nice clean shot! I like Acros, but up here I am happier with 400ASA, which I have used with some success in my Bronica (now gone) and Contax. Contrary to some reports I find XP2 rather good. I don't process at home (yet) but I am slowly collecting equipment. I have an Epson V500, but not too keen on its output for film, even using Vuescan.

Thanks for the tips on the Yashica - yes, I had heard that it is susceptible to flare, so I have ordered a cheapie lens hood (3D-printed) from Italy via Ebay.

Fun is what photography is all about for me, though I shall be somewhat limited in what I can do during January due to impending hospitalisation. However, I get out during the weekends!
A lens hood is a good idea with all lenses of that period, and the Yashinon is no different in this regard than any other Tessar type lens with with single coating. Not that the later ones with early multi coating were very much better.

It is only in recent times that it has become possible to shoot directly into a light source with out considerable flare. and then only with the very best lenses.
 
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That's a nice clean shot! I like Acros, but up here I am happier with 400ASA, which I have used with some success in my Bronica (now gone) and Contax. Contrary to some reports I find XP2 rather good. I don't process at home (yet) but I am slowly collecting equipment. I have an Epson V500, but not too keen on its output for film, even using Vuescan.

Thanks for the tips on the Yashica - yes, I had heard that it is susceptible to flare, so I have ordered a cheapie lens hood (3D-printed) from Italy via Ebay.

Fun is what photography is all about for me, though I shall be somewhat limited in what I can do during January due to impending hospitalisation. However, I get out during the weekends!
I like XP2 too, try the 'shoot at 200 develop as standard' trick with XP2 in sunny weather, if you've not done so already, I think you'll like the results. I find my Epson flatbed is better with medium format film than it is with 35mm.

A lens hood should help but I believe the lens flare issue may also be caused by the internal paint in the film chamber losing its matt finish on some cameras, which causes light reflections. Don't worry too much if this has happened as you can fit black flocking (of the high-quality, non-moulting, optical/telescope kind); which, if done neatly, should sort the issue completely and reduce internal reflection better than the matt black paint did when new. I'm just doing one of my 635s at the moment.

The close-up lens set is worth getting for the Yashica too, I have a genuine Yashica one (which comes as a two-lens set, with built in parallax correction in the viewing lens). I've not bothered with the wide angle or tele converters as I believe the image quality isn't marvellous and they seem to fetch silly money these days. With the Yashinon lens f/8 seems to be the sweet spot, but it's not bad even wide open and you don't get noticeably swirly bokeh like you do with the Yashikor lens with wide apertures.

Sorry to hear about the hospital stay, if you're bored in there and have access to an I-pad or whatever, then there's an interesting website about Yashica TLRs here, which should help pass a bit of time: http://www.yashicatlr.com/
 
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#16
I like XP2 too, try the 'shoot at 200 develop as standard' trick with XP2 in sunny weather, if you've not done so already, I think you'll like the results. I find my Epson flatbed is better with medium format film than it is with 35mm.

A lens hood should help but I believe the lens flare issue may also be caused by the internal paint in the film chamber losing its matt finish on some cameras, which causes light reflections. Don't worry too much if this has happened as you can fit black flocking (of the high-quality, non-moulting, optical/telescope kind); which, if done neatly, should sort the issue completely and reduce internal reflection better than the matt black paint did when new. I'm just doing one of my 635s at the moment.

The close-up lens set is worth getting for the Yashica too, I have a genuine Yashica one (which comes as a two-lens set, with built in parallax correction in the viewing lens). I've not bothered with the wide angle or tele converters as I believe the image quality isn't marvellous and they seem to fetch silly money these days. With the Yashinon lens f/8 seems to be the sweet spot, but it's not bad even wide open and you don't get noticeably swirly bokeh like you do with the Yashikor lens with wide apertures.

Sorry to hear about the hospital stay, if you're bored in there and have access to an I-pad or whatever, then there's an interesting website about Yashica TLRs here, which should help pass a bit of time: http://www.yashicatlr.com/
Thanks - I shall certainly look at that. The hospital stay isn't too bad - I will have radiotherapy once a day for 4 weeks excluding weekends. This should take up about 30 minutes of my day. Then I am free to roam Leeds! (if I feel up to it) I could come home, but it's too far for realistic daily travel, so I'm staying in the hospital's own hotel.
 
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#17
Best wishes for a speedy recovery. (y) Try and stay away from West Yorkshire Cameras if you're roaming Leeds, or it could make for a rather expensive stay! ;)
 
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#18
Best wishes for a speedy recovery. (y) Try and stay away from West Yorkshire Cameras if you're roaming Leeds, or it could make for a rather expensive stay! ;)
Last time I went there it was expensive - for them! Unloaded a fair bit of stuff - at a good price. Nice people to deal with.
 
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#19
Well, the camera arrived today - so far so good.

The body condition is as expected - well brassed (or it would be were it brass) but no major dents and the skin is intact.
Seals are good and appear new as stated.
Film chamber is clean, as are the rollers.
The focus racks in and out smoothly.
Both lenses are spotless and bright.
The aperture blades are clean, free from oil, and move easily, ditto the shutter blades.
The viewfinder screen seems on the dim side, but a) they are probably all like that b) it's too wet out side to see it in good light, and c) I might replace the screen with a 3rd party one with a split prism.
No battery in the meter, so I've ordered a couple of Wien cells from the Amazon.
No lens caps, so I've ordered a couple from the Bay.
For some reason the pressure plate was set to 24 exposures (220 film). Reset that.
The winder lever, in the resting position, is very floppy. Should there be either a spring on the arm or a grommet in its hole?

All in all, not a bad buy for the money. Next thing I suppose is to put a film through it.
 
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#20
Well, I had it in bits already. I felt that the viewfinder was really quite dim - difficult to focus except in the brightest light. I removed the finder housing to check the screen and mirror. The screen was clean(ish) but looking a bit aged. So I turned my attention to the mirror. The reflective side was full of micro-scratches and therefore I removed it to check it more carefully. I was surprised to see that on the reverse of the mirror was .... a mirror! This was unscratched but quite grubby. I carefully cleaned it with a screen wipe, and refitted it with the newly-cleaned side uppermost and reassembled the screen housing. This has made quite a bit of difference to the clarity. However, I feel that the screen is past its best and have found that Amazon actually sell replacement screens, including ones with split-image for around £23 so I ordered one and it should be with me in a week or so.
 
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#21
The mirrors can get a bit grubby with age. I cleaned the mirror on one of my 635s with some spectacle cleaning wipes I bought from Aldi for 99p (for 50) when they had them in as a 'special', and it came up nicely. I did try the wipes on a non working scrap one I bought for spares first though, just in case the mirror was silvered on top and it damaged it!
 
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#22
Well, I had it in bits already. I felt that the viewfinder was really quite dim - difficult to focus except in the brightest light. I removed the finder housing to check the screen and mirror. The screen was clean(ish) but looking a bit aged. So I turned my attention to the mirror. The reflective side was full of micro-scratches and therefore I removed it to check it more carefully. I was surprised to see that on the reverse of the mirror was .... a mirror! This was unscratched but quite grubby. I carefully cleaned it with a screen wipe, and refitted it with the newly-cleaned side uppermost and reassembled the screen housing. This has made quite a bit of difference to the clarity. However, I feel that the screen is past its best and have found that Amazon actually sell replacement screens, including ones with split-image for around £23 so I ordered one and it should be with me in a week or so.
Do you have the link for the split-prism screens please? Might get one of those myself. Thanks.
 
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#25
Just got the split-prism screen, and fitted it despite being distracted by the Jack Russell destroying her latest toy (all of 10 minutes old) at my feet. I was surprised to find, upon removing the old screen, that there were in fact 2 screens. The top one is a plain ground screen with a simple matrix on it, and the lower screen which was fresnel with a clear centre. This is the one I replaced. I am not sure if there should be 2, and if so whether I have replaced the correct one, but the view is somewhat brighter and, more importantly, the split image is easily visible and works. Once the new battery is “conditioned” (it’s a zinc-air which needs the tab being removed for an hour or so before fitment) I shall throw in a roll of film and see how it goes.
 
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#26
Just got the split-prism screen, and fitted it despite being distracted by the Jack Russell destroying her latest toy (all of 10 minutes old) at my feet. I was surprised to find, upon removing the old screen, that there were in fact 2 screens. The top one is a plain ground screen with a simple matrix on it, and the lower screen which was fresnel with a clear centre. This is the one I replaced. I am not sure if there should be 2, and if so whether I have replaced the correct one, but the view is somewhat brighter and, more importantly, the split image is easily visible and works. Once the new battery is “conditioned” (it’s a zinc-air which needs the tab being removed for an hour or so before fitment) I shall throw in a roll of film and see how it goes.
Yeah, there should be two screens. I believe that you can take the top screen out and wash it in soapy water to clean it up, but the grid lines are delicate and can be wiped off if you're not careful.
 
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Yeah, there should be two screens. I believe that you can take the top screen out and wash it in soapy water to clean it up, but the grid lines are delicate and can be wiped off if you're not careful.
I just clean the top side of the glass screen on mine in situ with a 'huff' of breath quickly followed by a lens pen/filter pen and leave the grid marked side well alone; any miniscule improvement in clarity will almost certainly not be worth damaging the grid line markings for!
 
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#28
I just clean the top side of the glass screen on mine in situ with a 'huff' of breath quickly followed by a lens pen/filter pen and leave the grid marked side well alone; any miniscule improvement in clarity will almost certainly not be worth damaging the grid line markings for!
<Nige puts his Brillo pads back into the cupboard...> :D
 
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#29
Thanks - I shall certainly look at that. The hospital stay isn't too bad - I will have radiotherapy once a day for 4 weeks excluding weekends. This should take up about 30 minutes of my day. Then I am free to roam Leeds! (if I feel up to it) I could come home, but it's too far for realistic daily travel, so I'm staying in the hospital's own hotel.
I hadn't noticed this post earlier Stephen, but very best wishes for your hospital treatment, and hopefully you'll be far away from the flooding as well! (y)
 
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#33
Glad you didn't employ the cat; even if you could get it to cooperate momentarily, it would probably have removed half grid markings and etched some of its own into the glass! ;)
If we had a cat we wouldn’t have one due to the appetite of the JRT. ;). If the dog had licked it she would probably have eaten it. I’m not sure that I would have been able to see through it once it had been recovered. At best it would be in sepia. :hungover:
 
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