A walk on the beach with a Yashica Mat

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by coryammerman, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. I've been wanting to try out a TLR for a while now and came across this Yashica Mat on eBay for a decent price a few months back. A couple of recent posts about Rollei's convinced me that it was high time to give the old girl a whirl. So I took it with me when on the family vacation down to Panama City Beach this past weekend. I also took a couple of other newly acquired classics with me, but late nights drinking beer and swapping stories don't bode well for getting up early in the morning, so I only managed to get out once, on the last morning before we left.
    This one is an earlier example of the Yashica Mat with the Lumaxar lenses. The viewing lens is an 80mm f3.2 and the taking lens is an 80mm f3.5. The earliest versions of the Yashica Mat came with 75mm Lumaxar lenses, but these are apparently quite rare. Both the 75mm and 80mm lenses were 4 element, 3 group Tessar clones. Later versions were equipped with Yashikor (3 elememts, 3 groups) or Yashinon (4 elements, 3 groups) lenses. There is some ongoing debate about whether the Lumaxar were imported to Japan from West Germany or made by Tomioka, who was later bought by Yashica and produced the Yashikors and Yashinons. I won't get into that here, but if you're interested you can read about it here, here, and here (for starters).
    Most people say that the Japanese Rolleiflex copies are inferior to the original. Having never handled the original, I can't comment on that. I will say that this camera seems to be very well put together. The focus is buttery smooth, as is the film advance. Everything still feels tight. Nothing rattles around when you shake it. Unlike most of my recent buys from the bay, this one required no tinkering in order to return to full functionality. The only thing wrong with it when I got it was that the small rivet holding the two halves of the viewfinder together had broken at some point in the past. I was unable to find any screws or bolts small enough to replace it, so a small piece of paper clip bent into a U shape seems to be working nicely for now.
    These first two pictures were rather severely underexposedand required a bit of post processing. I had forgotten to change the aperture from f16 to f4 like I intended. Stuff like that happens when I don't have enough coffee in the morning. All were handheld at 1/25 or 1/50. Other than these two, the rest were at either f4 or f5.6.
    As you can see, I didn't make it very far down the beach. Overall, I enjoyed my first time out with a TLR. I'm looking forward to using it again. There was a lighter color band on the side of some of the shots that I tried to minimize in post. I'm not sure if this was something that happened in the scanning or in camera, or in developing. Upon casual inspection of the negatives, they seem okay, so I'm thinking it's something to do with the scanning.
    Film was Delta 100. Developed in T-Max 1+4 for 6 minutes. Scanned on Epson V600 at 600dpi.
    Thanks for looking.
  2. Yashica made some excellent TLR's. You appear to have steady hands but I suggest faster shutter speeds or a tripod when using a TLR.
    Good work.
  3. Thanks Gene. I had anticipated things being a bit brighter when I started my walk to the beach, but some clouds rolled in keeping the sun hidden. My hands are really not that steady, but I let the camera hang on the strap and pressed it against my waist for stability.
  4. Cory, I have never owned a TLR, seemed too aawkward, though it was the "in" camera in the 50s and 60s.

    I truly enjoyed your photos. I was stationed at Eglin Aux Field #9, aka Hurlburt Field, 52 years ago, and lived in Fort
    Walton Beach. That strip of beach with its Snow White sand is magnificent.

    Thanks for bringing back treasured memories.
  5. Very nice.
    I owned a late model Yashica-Mat 124 at one time. The later models such as the one I had did not to me seem as well made as earlier models like the one you have.
    The Yashica's seem about on the same plane as Rolleicords to me. The Rolleiflex F models are just more refined and highly finished cameras compared to Yashica-Mats.
  6. Regardless of the camera, lovely pictures.
  7. Nice work Cory, quite crisp as you would expect from Yashica. Wow,they really built close to the beach there, someone should mention sea level rises!
    The Japanese built so many Rollei copies, Rolleicord copies really, and most were really good. The Yashicas and Minolta Autocord were at the top of the heap, but some others..and the Kalloflex that I used recently was one, do surprise.
    I have heard that the Yashicmats had trouble with the advance lever failing, but the lenses were always excellent.
  8. Excellent images from the Yashicamat, thanks for posting. I've got one with the 75mm Lumaxar lens. Its an extremely sharp lens. The stuff about the origins of the Lumaxar is interesting. The winding mechanism is fine although I haven't used it for a while.
  9. I have Yashica Mat EM and 124G. I also have Rolleiflex E. I can attest that in terms of fit and finish both my Yashicas are inferior in comparison to Rolleiflex. Actually they are like Corolla 1989 in comparison to 1956 Mercedes 190 SL...well yes, they are...
  10. Those are nice shots, Cory. I love those Yashicas and I had an early model with 75mm lens. I sold it since I had three Mats. TLRs draw quite a bit of attention when in public. Great shots once again.
  11. At one time several years ago I shot my Yashica 635 and Rolleiflex 2.8C side by side, using the same film, processing, subject matter, etc. Yup, the Rollei was obviously a better made camera - a work of craftsman's art in its own right. And the S-K Xenotar was a bit better in the corners and edges than the Yashikor. But in most of my prints, up to 11"x11", I couldn't see much difference and I'll bet most viewers wouldn't see any differences at all. I sold the Rollei (which I now regret, since I'll never be able to replace it for what I originally paid), and kept the Yashica 635.
    Incidentally, I discovered through experimentation that the Nikon F cable release will work on the Yashica 635 if the knurled outer collar is unscrewed. Not sure whether that trick works with any other Yashica TLRs.
  12. Nice shots. Those Yashica TLRs were a great value in their day. The last one, the Yashicamat 124G, though, has been
    pushed up in price by collectors in many places. Thanks for posting.
  13. I like them.
    I especially like the "series" with the buildings. They make a nice group together.
  14. Nice moody images, Cory, though it doesn't look like swimming weather...You have a good eye for a picture, for sure. Coffee or otherwise, I still manage to stuff up apertures, particularly when I'm using an AE camera and not watching what the needles or diodes are trying to tell me. Sharp images with great tones.
  15. Rick, this is gulf coast NW Florida. The sand was Snow White and the water temperature was 75F. People would go
    swimming on New Year's Day just to brag about it.

    It was there that I crashed in a helicopter accident in1962.
  16. The region had an unusual holiday season, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

    For furriners, that's 30 May till the first Monday in September.
  17. I used to have a 124G. It produced excellent pictures. Presently, I am restricted to 35mm, as larger films are too expensive and rarer here. Lovely pictures. Thanks. sp.
  18. Nice shots. The performance of the earlier lens looks great. I have had a few of the Yashica's, currently an LM. I actually sold my Rollei 2.8F because the Yashinon 3.5 was just as sharp, and the Yashica coatings gave better contrast and flare control. I miss the Rollei because it was built like a tank, but didn't want it to be a shelf queen...
  19. I really liked my 124G, which I bought new in about 1976. It was one of the
    mostmsatisfying cameras I ever owned, but not as well made as prior models. Mine
    has a lot of soft pot metal, and after thousands of images, finally quit working. While I have used mostly Hasselblad ever since, except for a few other MF cameras now and then, the most prestigious award of my career was won with an image from a YashicaMat.
  20. Really nice set of pictures. I really like the first one. I use a Yashica A. It doesn't have the same lens, but stopped down, it does a nice job. I have a Rolleicord, but I haven't really had a chance to put it to work.
  21. Hello everyone. Just dropped in here while researching my "new" camera...a folding Agfa Isolette II.
    I have (3) Yashicamat E's and several of the 124's and think all the lenses of this series produce excellent photos when used with a tripod, cable realease and near their "sweet" spots of f11 - f16. The cameras are light in weight and adaptable thru Bay 1 to 49mm fixtures for all the filters of my 35mm cameras. A Canon back-pack holds two cameras with all the do-dad's, so packing a complete camera set into the field for a day is a joy...even lunch with a small bottle of wine fits!
    The Yashicamat series will eat the film advance gears if not treated respectfully. My advice, cock the 10 sec self timer, than advance the film. I have now been well into 5+ years of the last cla/repair on the E's....yet to send a 124 in, but they are "newer". Oh, either light meter is IMHO, junk. I swear by my Weston III's or V.
    All in all, the Mat's are enjoyable cameras for the prices. Between the two, I would opt'd for the LM or EM camera...a bit stouter in the metal parts. Enjoy, Bill

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