Yashica Mat 124G - Buying Tips

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by jimnorwood, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. Hi,

    I noticed a local add offering a used Yashica Mat 124 G and went round to see it today. I'm kind of interested to try medium format and understand this camera is good for a starter. Serial number is 7124982.
    • The camera looks to be in great condition, lenses are clear with no sign of fungus or dust. When looking through the viewing lens there is some dust on the mirror.
    • Changing aperture opens and closes the diaphragm.
    • The only problem was the light meter. I know that the MAT 124G meter is not the best but I'd still like to know if it's working. I took along a hearing aid battery in 675 (1,45V) and an adapter. When opening the viewfinder the needle jumps forward when the viewfinder lid is at say 30 degrees and then returns to start position when the lid is fully open. Pointing the camera from shadow to bright light I saw no movement of the light meter needle. Other than opening the lid is there anything else I need to do to activate the light meter ?
    • The camera has not been used in 20 years. I read somewhere that sometimes cameras that had not been used for so long might need some re-adjustment ? I'm keen to avoid any further cost.
    • Seller is not offering any guarantee to I have to take it as is. He's asking 175 Euro.

    Your comments ,suggestions or other buying tips would be most useful.
  2. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    If the camera hasn't been used in many years then be sure to check all the shutter speeds, if you haven't done so already. Shutter leaves should be clean and dry.

    The meter should switch on and stay on when you flip up the focusing hood (careful that you are not accidentally shielding the meter cell with your hand). Ensure that the battery and compartment are very clean and making good contact. If the meter still cuts off, then it could be a bad contact or short somewhere.

    Of course, the camera can still be used with a handheld meter. If the meter is questionable but the camera is otherwise OK, then perhaps you could negotiate a better price.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
  3. Thanks Dave,
    Sorry for the silly question but when you say check the shutter speeds you mean that they appear to be different when adjusted ? I did check the fastest and slowest speeds and noticed there was a difference in timing but of course can't guarantee more than that.

    I'm pretty sure the meter is not working but am not sure what a fair price is to offer.
  4. btw: battery needs to be 1,35v,
  5. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    In other words, that the shutter speeds seem appropriate for their different settings and don't stick (i.e., slow speeds). You won't really be able to test the fast speeds, other than opening the back and holding the camera up to the light. Also, check the self-timer operation to see that it trips the shutter.

    You might want to see eBay "Sold" listings for cameras in similar condition, to get a better idea of prices.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
  6. Thanks but I read online that at 1.45V 675 hearing aid battery plus adapter should work. Perhaps I'm wrong ?
  7. Thanks. Yes I checked the self timer which worked and at slow speeds there was no sticking.
  8. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    A 1.45v battery should be OK for testing whether the meter works or not, though it may not give accurate readings.

    I'm not sure what kind of adapter you are using--does it actually step down the voltage? I once tried a generic brass adapter for fitting smaller batteries in a 625-size battery compartment, and I had contact problems with it.
  9. Ah...I was using a brass adapter ring I purchased for a Rollei 35. I might have a similar problem...
  10. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    You could use a rubber o-ring spacer around the 675 battery, or just get an alkaline 625 battery for testing. This would help rule out the battery contact issue.
  11. The battery voltage matters not a jot, since the meter on a 124G is near useless even when working 'properly'.

    The problem is that the acceptance angle is just far too wide, and waving your hand several inches above the meter window will affect the reading. That's not what should happen with a decent and useable meter!

    Also, €175 seems mighty expensive for a camera with a metering issue and no warranty. The 124G is no Rolleiflex.
  12. 675 hearing aid batteries will generally drop to 1.35V with a bit of use and be stable there for the life of the battery(1-6 months in my experience depending on humdity) and will give "accurate" readings(or at least as accurate as some old meters can be). If you're testing the open circuit voltage(i.e. using a voltmeter with very high impedence, as most are designed), bear in mind that the actual voltage delivered to the camera will be less.

    I agree thought that the price seems high for a 124G. It's a camera that is liked well enough and use to be a good value, but IMO at that price you'd be better served by a camera like a Rolleicord Va. You do give up crank advance in favor of a knob, and have a weirdly located shutter actuator(which admittedly I don't find that uncomfortable in actual use) that requires you to cock it separately from advancing the film, but overall IMO it's a much better camera. I find the Va to be something of a "sweet spot" since it's one of the newer/more advanced Rolleicord model, but lacks the interchangeable finders and(easily) interchangeable screens of the Vb. Prisms and the like are difficult to find, and you can still change the screen in the Va-I have one that I bought from Rick Oleson many years ago in mine-it just take a bit more work.
    pablo_escobar likes this.
  13. Thanks a lot. I have checked sold ebay listings and this evening a similar one sold for 223 Euro.
    150 to 200 seems an average price in Germany.
  14. Thanks I am in Germany so plenty of Rolleis to check and consider.
  15. Some small points that may be of interest , when Yashica went from the 124 to the 124G they changed the lens holding
    plate from metal to plastic . They did the same thing with the lens retaining nuts and on occasion the nuts would split . The lens
    were all quite good . Peter
  16. So thanks for all the comments. I went back and tried the camera again today and the light meter is working. So I purchased for 175 euro as it is really near mint condition. Now I can enjoy the first roll of film.
  17. Don't forget to post a few pics here . Peter
  18. Along with Peter's input, please consider that the 124 gears are plastic, not metal as in the EM series. Having owned both models, the 124's gave me "problems" with the film advance / shutter cocking when these gears failed. To prolong the time between services, I took the advice of a tech in a shop in N. Calif. and started to first "arm" the 10sec delay lever (which cocks the shutter), and THEN advance the film crank. Granted you can not do this for all work, but if you plan your shooting, this routine can be accomplished. My (2) 124's and an EM have not been to the shop for over 10 years. Aloha, Bill
  19. Having service both, I would disagree with this statement, the gears in my 124G are metal, similar to those in my EM. However, the exterior knobs, dials and levers are all plastic.

    The EM does have a nicer feel and smoother operation than the 124G, but when it comes to the final image, the light baffles in the 124G (which are absent in the EM) , make a big difference to flare. The EM is nicer to operate - the 124G makes a better image. If you could put the light box of the 124G in the body of the EM, you would get...... a Rolleiflex! ;)
  20. Thanks a lot for this tip. Sorry for the silly question - I am new to this ! I have searched online but am still a bit confused about film winding and cocking.
    Is this correct ? To advance from frame to frame I wind the crank clockwise until there is an automatic stop. Then to replace the winder in the correct position
    I have to wind back anticlockwise ? It is the anticlockwise motion that cocks the shutter ?

Share This Page