Yashica Mat 124

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by CarlH, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. CarlH

    CarlH TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Found one in the local pawn shop marked up for £150, went and had a look at it, everything seems to work as intended until I checked the main lens, the front element is fine but the elements on the inside are I would describe as milky rather than hazy.
    What is involved in getting them cleaned? I know it probably doesn't effect the image a lot maybe reduces the contrast but would be good if it could be cleaned for not much money as I was interested in trying out a TLR camera and this one looked ok.


     
  2. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That milky haze does affect image quality, especially if you can see it without shining a light through the lens. Cleaning is a matter of disassembly and cleaning the internal elements. There are four of them but you may not have to clean all four. I wouldn't advise doing it yourself unless you are experienced at such things and have proper tools.
     
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  3. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd keep shopping. Provided you could find a capable repair person, an overhaul could easily increase this 124s price by 50%. Earlier Yashicas are worth a look, too, if the TLR bug is still biting. Agree that amateur surgery might end in tears.
     
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  4. ashleykaryl

    ashleykaryl TPF Noob!

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    That's a blast from the past as I remember these being an economic entry point into the world of medium format. I'd give this one a miss if there is anything that doesn't look right. The price seems a little steep, even for one in perfect condition.
     
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  5. nickgillespie

    nickgillespie TPF Noob!

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    Check out a Mamiya c220. 10x the camera for the same price. The Yashica is garbage imo.
     
  6. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    All may send their Yashica garbage to me and I will see that it is properly disposed of.
     
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  7. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's a bit of a stretch. The Mamiya TLRs are heavier, bulkier, and awkward to
    cart around with multiple lenses. It was a pricey system camera that was never intended for extensive use outside the studio. No one ever saw the Yashica A on to the 124 as anything but affordable TLRs for casual use. They're just not built to the same standard as the Mamiyas and don't last under heavy use. Still, they're fun to shoot if their shutters aren't off and can produce nice results if you know their limits. Problem is, they're not young and tend to suffer from various age-related issues. Mamiya TLRs aren't immune to the same infirmities. Shot Yashica 124s and like 'em but soon moved on to Mamiya 645 Super/Pro, RB67 Pro S and Bronica SQ-B kits when prices cratered 7-8 years ago. Truth is, you've got to start somewhere.
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would hardly class the Yashicas as garbage, but as cgw mentions, many are aged now.My beloved Yashica 635 now has a somewhat decentered taking lens...the upper left corner of the image area is now a bit fuzzy....bummer! It was fine back in 1986, but now? Ehhhhh....decentered lens element. Not awful, but I can see it in any shot that has details on the left side, which is most shots.

    In the early 1980's, I ALMOST bought my then-boss's Mamiya C330 outfit with a 65, 80, and a 180? or was it a 150? three-lens set, the paramender, eye-level prism accessory, and couple other do-dads. Kind of glad and also kind of sorry I did not go through with the purchase.

    As far as 150 Pounds Sterling for a hazed-up Yashica 124....ehhhhhh...I would pass on that. I can imagine the internals of the lens in such a state would severely hamper the image quality.

    As far as ATTENTION that a TLR draws these days when shot in public: an astoundingly high level of questions, stares,points, interest in this "antique camera"type from bystanders. More so than when shooting even a Big Black Camera with a Big Honking Lens, the TLR draws the attention of folks!
     
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  9. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For that price I agree with Derrel and I would pass on that.

    FWIW the Yashica TLR's are fairly easy to service yourself. I am in the process of dealing with a nice 635 and here is what ill throw in. The camera comes apart pretty easily all you will need is a set of basic screwdrivers. However Yashica used small shim washers at the factory to mount the lens board onto the moving mechanism. These shims keep it in a level plane with the film. I dont know exactly what they used to measure this originally but I surely dont have the tool. As such you run the risk of having a non level lens board on reassembly. The lens is fairly easy to open up (you can just unscrew the front element) and clean the other elements. However once you move the front element you will need to readjust the focus plane so the top and bottom elements are in line. You can do this by putting a piece of ground glass where the film should be and adjusting the element until its in focus with the top element. All in all this sounds like fungus in the lens which can be a killer, you can find a lot of nice stuff out there on Ebay for far less.

    Regards
    Dave
     
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  10. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Way too much for a Yashica Mat 124.
     
  11. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I see a number of 124's recently sold for well over 200 USD on eBay which is more than the £150 pawn shop asking price in the OP. So, theoretically, it's a reasonable asking price for one in good condition.

    However, the camera in question needs service (lens cleaning at least) so I wouldn't pay that kind of money for it.

    Camera-clueless sellers usually don't take condition into account when they price film cameras. They just "Look them up on eBay" and take whatever price they see there, especially the highest ones, and figure "that's what it's worth."

    I was at a flea market this morning and spied an SX70 that looked nice but I didn't have my tester with me to check if it worked. I asked the price and the seller said $80. I responded with mock shock and he got defensive and said, "Have you looked them up online? Some go for over $500!"

    Of course, the obvious response would be, "Then why not sell it on eBay and get $500 for it?" But, I didn't want to start a fight so I let that bit of logic pass. Needless to say I didn't buy it. I still find them selling for $10-$20 from more realistic sellers.
     
  12. Michael Mc

    Michael Mc TPF Noob!

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    I see the 124G selling for too much on US eBay, but usually not the plain 124. I've owned the "G" and currently own a 124 and I prefer the 124 over the G. The G feels plasticky whereas the 124 feels more solid, made from metal.

    I bought my 124 off US eBay at auction for less than $100US. Sometimes (often?) you can save money if you participate in an auction as opposed to Buy It Now prices. Mine was in very nice shape for that price, so I would definitely give this one a pass as well. You should be able to find a better deal. I would definitely look for one of the later models, though, that has the Yashinon lens. There's nothing wrong with the older Yashikor lens -- it's just generally felt that the Yashinon is a better optic.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017

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