Amid all of the wet green of the Hoh, there were numerous pockets of these red ferns. A lot of speculation was made over whether or not these ferns were turning color in the fall, or whether or not they were just red ferns. I still have no idea, though it is worth noting that there were many, many green ferns, so fall color doesn’t seem that logical. 

Either way, it added nice diversity to the sea of endless green. 

Yashica-Mat 124G: Medium Format TLR Camera Review

Guest Post by Daniel Sawyer Schaefer. Daniel is a photographer and filmmaker based out of New York City and Los Angeles, currently spending time abroad in Florence, Italy. Find more of his work at his online portfolio, and connect with him on Flickr, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.


    My beloved tank of a camera and constant companion for the past few years is my beloved Yashicamat 124G. She is by no means shiny - her last owner left her in the bottom of a closet for nearly a decade before she met my palm - but the moment I blew the dust from her eyes, I knew I was holding something truly solid.  

(Photo: Daniel Schaefer)

    The Yashicamat 124G is medium format at its most effective, with an 80mm f/3.5 lens fixed to the body and a 6x6 setup. The 80mm is phenomenal as a portrait lens but still has enough breadth in frame to rock some street photography or even landscapes.

    The 124G also offers the convenience of 120 and 220 compatibility in-body with a simple sliding of the pressure plate, so the few of us left using Kodak Portra 220 can shoot without worry. Make sure to load the rolls tightly because a loose load can lead to light leaks, especially with 220.

(Photo: Nick Parker)


    For those who are not familiar with the TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) the viewfinder can take some getting used to; images flip right to left and, as you pan, the mirror effect can be a bit disconcerting. Luckily it takes only a day or two to get used to the drift.

(Photo: Daniel Schaefer)

    The focus pull on the throw wheel is very smooth, making accurate focus a breeze. If you happen to pick up a model with a sticky throw wheel, you can easily loosen it up by applying some alcohol with an eye-dropper.  Minimum focus is a tad more sensitive than the typical SLR user might be used to, but this will be true of any TLR system.


    For the portrait shooter, the square format is well worth exploring. Resolving the subject in a square frame offers both benefits and challenges; for inspiration on square framing and composition, check out the work of Richard Avedon - a master of the TLR portrait.

(Photo: Daniel Schaefer)

    For the street shooter, the TLR setup will be a revelation. Between the waist-level finder and near-silent shutter which syncs effectively with flash through the whole range, you can get close enough for your subjects to fog the lens with their breath and not have them notice you shooting. Vivian Maier made phenomenal use of her TLR on the streets of Chicago and New York.

(Photo: Aldo Altamirano)

    For the casual shooter, the large but lightweight body allows for a setup that is incredibly solid in-hand. The shutter speed and aperture dials fall comfortably under the fingers, making shooting with this camera a real pleasure.

(Photo: Daniel Schaefer)


    Selling used for between $125 - $250, this camera is a great candidate for a reasonably-priced medium format starting kit. The most common problem with the Yashicamat 124G is an inoperative light-meter, which, even when operable isn’t the most accurate option. Personally, I use my forever-trusted Sekonic L-308s pocket meter, which at $200 is well worth the charge for any photographer. I purchased mine three years ago, and it has literally not left my pocket since.

    Another problem which can occur frequently in either under-used or neglected models of the Yashicamat 124G is a lagging shutter. I’ve noticed this in three out of the ten models I’ve handled (my own and those of my friends) and in all cases, 1/8th of a second acts more like a full second. All other shutter speeds were unaffected on all tested models.

(Photo Patrick Joust)

    All in all, the Yashicamat 124G is phenomenal camera for nearly any use. Paired with any medium format film, the camera offers a fantastic shooting experience for anyone who is lucky enough to have one slung over their shoulder.

(Photo: Xavier Aragonès)


  • Good price
  • Solid build
  • Sharp lens
  • 120 and 220 compatible


  • Difficult to clean
  • Potentially Gummy setting dials
  • Inoperative meter

Base statistics:

  • 6x6 Twin Lens Reflex, Medium format film camera
  • Viewing lens -  80mm f/2.8 tessar
  • Taking lens -  80mm f/3.5 yashinon tessar
  • F-stop range -  f/3.5 — f/32
  • Shutter Speed range - 1 second — 1/500th & bulb
  • Shots per roll - 120 = 12, 220 = 24

See more photos shot with Yashica cameras