Rollei 3.5 vs Yashica mat 124

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by lcd, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. lcd

    lcd

    I finally decided to buy my first medium format TLR camera.
    I found two options, a Rolleiflex with a 3.5 Xenar lens for $160 and a Yashica mat 124 for $100, both in decent working conditions with case and looking good.
    I like them both; in your opinion which one would be a better choice? My plan is to used them in around NYC and then scan the negatives. Mostly B/W around the city and some portrait.
    Which one do you think is the best camera?
    Thank you.
     
  2. Assuming the condition of both cameras is roughly equal, isn't this a bit of a no-brainer? A Rollei with the 3.5 Xenar for $160? Sounds like a steal to me.
     
  3. Definitely go for the Rollei.
    00XcKi-297913584.jpg
     
    vo_van likes this.
  4. At that price the Rollei of course. I purchased a used Rollei over 40 years ago. The owner of the camera shop had some used Yashica mats but he insisted that I go with the Rollei. It is the most reliable that I still have.
     
  5. Kelly Flanagan usually jumps into these threads, and says that condition, and in particular accurate coupling and adjustment, is everything when it comes to TLRs. So if you can, shoot a roll with each camera, and push them to their limits, which means include some close distances at wide apertures.
    But having said that, I'd agree with everyone else: go with the Rollei, assuming both cameras are in optimal condition. My Xenar is on a much later Rolleicord Vb, which is a really good camera for backpacking.
    [​IMG]
    Rolleicord Vb Xenar, Ilford XP2 Super
     
  6. That's a great price for a Rollei.
    I have had a number of Yashicas, and one Rollei (2.8F Planar). I never paid more than a hundred dollars for any of them, so I have no bias one way or the other.
    Optically, the four-element Yashinon lens is VERY good. Especially the Yashinons I have had on two different Yashica LMs.
    Mechanically, the Rollei is leagues better than any of the Yashicas. The Yashica winding mechanism feels delicate and does not inspire confidence that it will survive a thrashing. The Rollei winding is sure and solid.
    As camera to park your money in (I hesitate to say "investment") you can't beat the Rollei. You won't lose money on it when/if you decide to sell it.
     
  7. Here are a couple of sample Yashinon shots.
    00XcQC-297993784.jpg
     
  8. One more... this one is from a Yashica 12 (120-only sibling of the 124.)
    00XcQH-297995584.jpg
     
  9. David,
    I love the above image. Wonderful colour rendition and composition.
     
  10. I am new to classic cameras. In joining a b&w classroom, I bid for similar cameras to yours and won in both cases. My bad excuses in trying TLR. But both of my Rolleiflex 3.5 and Yashica mat-124g cost more than what you have found. I have not tried the Rolleiflex yet but I have very positive experience in using the Yashica. As newbie coming out to tell the truth, I like the presence of the light meter in my Yashica and it works surprisingly well when I tested it with 2 rolls of 120 films in 100 and 400 asa.
    A shot using Fuji Acros 100 on my Yashica Mat-124g
    Fuji Acros 100 in 120 film
    with Yashica Mat-124G
    scanned by local lab
    [​IMG]
    picture linked to a recent blog post of mine in learning b&w film development and darkroom. I am yet to test my Rolleiflex. Here are some product shots of my two TLR.
    [​IMG]
    A top view that shows the primitive light meter
    [​IMG]
    Pictures link to Yashica Mat-124G product shots in flickr
    And it is a shame that I have not tried my Rolleiflex. The German engineering is quite unique and quite remarkable for its age.
    [​IMG]
    Zeiss Tessar 75mm f/3.5
    [​IMG]
    My copy also comes with an antique light meter -- I have no idea how that light meter works.
    [​IMG]
    pictures link to Rolleiflex Product Shots
    Can someone comment on how good my copy of Rolleiflex is as there are various different versions and some with a light meter but mine is without. A silly question on my behalf: is it worth keeping both?
     
  11. Hin Man: if you do not want the Rolleiflex you can send it to Me, So it can keep mine company:
     
  12. I found this page that lists different versions of the Rolleiflex 3.5. It can be confusing to find out the version as all look very similar
    http://www.siufai.dds.nl/Rolleiflex35_TLR.htm
    My copy is likely the Roleiflex Automat 3.5 MX/X as it has the viewing lens as Heidosmat 75mm 2.8 while the taking lens is a Zeiss Tessar 75mm f/3.5.
    And back to original poster, check and see if your version is the 3.5E in http://www.siufai.dds.nl/Rolleiflex35E.htm as that is more valuable with the metering and seems newer model.
     
  13. Luca, either camera would be good. But I highly recommend the Rolleiflex. Your first few developed rolls of film will really impress you. I got one two years ago and the fine quality of the negatives sure hooked me. You will not regret getting a Rolleiflex.
    00XcWu-298081584.jpg
     
  14. lcd

    lcd

    I will go tomorrow morning to get the Rolleiflex camera. From the pictures they sent me it looks like it is the Rolleiflex 3.5 MX-EVS that I am going to buy (thanks Hin Man for the useful link). I hope I will find the camera in the good conditions I was told. I will have a little time to check it, and I guess I will look closely at lenses, working shutter and aperture. This will be my first TLR camera, so I am not sure what else to check.
    Thanks everyone for the very thoughtful comments, I was surprised by the great feedback you gave me on this issue. The pictures you posted, taken with the Rollei cameras, look amazing. I realize that the Yashica TLR is not as good even thou it is a very nice piece of equipment too.
    Can't wait to try the camera!
     
  15. @Luca, make sure you check on the lens for sign of fungus as that will be a bummer. And the other thing is to test is the shutter especially on the slow shutter.
     
  16. Umm.... Rolleiflex? I have an MX-EVS (Tessar 3.5), it is a fine, fine camera. Got it off ebay for $118+ship last year, best purchase I made all year.
    00Xcbd-298149584.jpg
     
  17. dlw

    dlw

    Luca, if you can swing it, get them both. Though I prefer the Rolleiflex, they're both good cameras that will perform well as long as you do your part, and together they're not really that expensive. I have a Rolleiflex 2.8C and it's my favorite camera. I just got mine back from a short trip to Oceanside Camera Repair for an overhaul and it came back working smooth as silk. If you get the Rollei, I urge you to send it out for Harry Fleenor to work his magic. He's very knowledgeable and will make your Rollei sing like a new camera, and while he has the Rollei, you can use the Yashica as a backup. The Yashica would make a great backup. Cheers.
     
  18. As others have noted, the Yashica has a decent lens but not the build quality of the Rollei. The Yashinon lens on the Yashica mat 124 was also used on earlier Yashicas which are usually less expensive. These may be better buys for limited budgets.
     
  19. Hin, I really love your first shot, the B&W portrait. Great image, lovely model.
    Luca, when you are trying out the Rollei, be aware of their "unique" film loading. Unlike every other 120 camera in which you just line up the "START" line on the film and an arrow in the camera, the Rollei's have a confounding "film thickness" mechanism by which the camera engages the film counter. This confused me when I first picked up my Rollei, and I thought the camera was broken (until I loaded it with film.)
     
  20. dlw

    dlw

    David is correct. To correctly load the Rollei, one must run the film BETWEEN the first two rollers, then over the remaining ones to the takeup spool. If one forgets to do this,and I have more than once because I didn't pay close enough attention to what I was doing, the film will be wound completely through. Sometimes the rollers will get out of alignment and the film will roll through anyway. That's a sure sign it needs to be sent to Harry Fleenor for an overhaul. Hope this helps. Cheers.
     
  21. I have the older 1938 Automat I bought for $50. Darned shame what it does with Velvia ... ;-)
    [​IMG]
     
  22. lcd

    lcd

    Here's the Rollei. I Had to send it for CLA. There were issues I did not notice at first, and it needed cleaning anyway. I think now it looks very good. I really like to use it, and I am learning how to use it properly. It came with its manual, a Weston meter that I don't know how to operate yet and its case. I still have to get back my first film. I don't regret choosing this one over the Yashica. Thanks everyone for the great comments.
     
  23. Luca, where did you find the Rolleiflex and the Yashica? I'm a college student on LI and I've been hunting around for either camera and there's nothing on craigslist, or that I'd trust the camera quality, and ebay has really inflated prices.
     
  24. lcd

    lcd

    They were both posted on craiglist ny. However, it is not that easy to verify that the camera is functioning properly when you go get it. In NY there is a lot of photo equipment for sale on craiglist. Try KEH.com maybe you can find something there.
     
  25. Thanks! Craigslist has been pretty dead, and ebay is a pain but I'll keep searching around.
     
  26. Both those prices are excellent for both those cameras , i believe from my experiences the best lens on a Yashica was on a Yashica 12 , and found the Mat not as contrasty but both these lens are great for black and white , i feel the Tessar has some thing special to it a signature look , were the Xenar even thou a Tessar design will preform more detail in the shadows but i fond this to be the difference between both camera held side by side , The Yashica has a 80 mm lens were as the Rolliflex is 75mm , now if you dint have them side by side you may not notice the difference but 5mm more is obvious on the screens next to each other , if you want a little more wide angel the Rolleiflex would be the choice , The Yashica has a better screen , and most noticeable in the using it in the night or darker environments , the screen will then let you see it is almost twice as bright and you can compose a image better n the dark , also the magnifying glass is different , i need reading glasses some times to focus and i can almost not need them with the Yashica were as the Rolliflex it is a must .
    00clVz-550451584.jpg
     

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