Testing a Yashica Mat 124g

Photographs made with a Yashica Mat 124g along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh

For one reason or another, in the past few years, I sold two of my best film cameras, a Mamiya RZ67 and a Hasselblad 500cm. I don't miss the Mamiya all that much; it was an excellent camera, but so big and heavy that I rarely used it. More suited to studio work than outdoor photography, unless you are very dedicated. I do miss the Hasselblad, however. I've always enjoyed working with square, 6x6 medium format. I liked almost everything about that camera, other than the attention it attracted whenever I used it in public places. To cut a long and tedious story short, I recently got a Yashica Mat 124g in good condition to fill the gap left when I sold all my best medium format cameras.

These are a few photographs made with that camera when I took it out for a short walk to see if everything works. It seems it's all good. It's such a pleasure to use a TLR camera. I read and watched a lot of reviews before choosing this camera (and I'd previously owned, briefly, an original Yashica Mat, which broke after just a few rolls). It's almost universally liked and regarded as a solid, cheaper alternative to the Rolleiflex. I especially like the lock lever on the shutter button, so I don't need to worry so much about accidentally wasting a photo. The viewfinder isn't quite as clear as the Hasselblad, and you need to take your time and use the built-in magnifying glass to focus accurately. But there is something very satisfying about viewing the world through a ground-glass viewfinder, rather than a digital live feed which feels synthetic by comparison.

I often revisit the Water of Leith, since I live close by, and one day maybe I'll have gathered enough work over the different seasons to put a small series or book/zine together. It's not something I'm working on intensively, but it's simmering away in the background.

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