Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yashica Mat 124 - an unexpected find

sample shot from the Yashica 124
I stumbled across this Yashica Mat 124 which had shutter sticky issues and was going for a really good price, so I immediately picked it up. The overall exterior condition is close to mint and I guess the previous owner did not want to spend the money to do a full CLA on the unit. A quick check on the light seals shows everything was in good shape. Even the insides of the film bay compartment was clean and nothing needed to be done there.
another shot from the Yashica 124
I then removed the front taking lens element as well as the back and proceeded to clean the shutterblades which were really covered with a thin layer of oil/grime. The 2 lens elements were cleaned up as well as they had some residual on them, most likely from the shutterblades. A quick test firing off the shutter shows everything in perfect working condition, from B mode to 1/500. Oh ya the seller has even included a battery and the light meter is working fine.

After reassembling everything back together, a roll of Kodak Ektacolor was loaded and I met up with the guys for a short coffee session at coffee bean. Within a few minutes, I've shot off 12 shots at coffee bean and I must say, shooting with the Yashica was a quite fun due to its light weight compared to my Mamiya C330. 

testing the lens capability to handle extreme contrast
I tested a few items during the 12 shots namely - bokeh, ability of the lens to handle extreme contrast, edge to edge sharpness, color rendition and shutterspeed. I did not test for high aperture shots as I was mostly interested to test the wide open capability at this time. Will do another test on landscape for the higher aperture values.
Yashica 124 and I
 The shots that came back from the photolab were quite impressive and the Yashinon produced sharp clean images even when shot wide open. This would be a great camera to have in the bag due to its compact size and ability to shoot 6x6 medium format images. Certainly a great buy at the right time.

Do click on the images to see the larger versions of the photo. If you have any questions on this TLR (twin lens reflex), do feel free to drop me an email or comment on the article below.

Till next time..adios.


  1. Great poison *ahem* i meant review...:) Btw, Happy Belated Birthday man...

  2. I've bought 2 of these over the years. Love them but I notice they do get some discoloration between the elements which, just like you said, is probably oil from the blades. Most people think it's fungus but it's not. Surprised that you could clean them yourself. How hard was that? I just sent one of mine off to Mark Hamma...Tony

  3. Hi Tony, its really quite easy to clean. Just open up the film bay and you'll have access to removing the rear lens whilst the front lens can just be removed from the front. I use Zippo lighter fluid with lens cleaning tissues to clean off the gunk from the shutterblades. The fluid evaporates quickly but you may use additional tissues to dry the blades off. Repeat a few times over a couple of days and fire the shutterblades a few times in between till everything is clean.

    Hope this helps :)



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