My father recently handed down to me his twin lens reflex Yashica MAT124G Medium Format film camera. It appeared to be in excellent condition, except for a dead battery for the built-in meter, which I learned is not needed for any other functions.
The camera had not been used in over twenty years, so I wondered if it would even function properly. An initial examination led me to believe everything was in good working order. Next up, I needed to find some film!
I decided to purchase a 5 roll pack of film from Amazon.com. I was looking for something 400 ISO since I knew I’d be testing mostly indoors (it’s freezing outside!). The link to the film is below.
Loading the film was a little bit more tricky than I expected, but I did find a few resources on YouTube that explained the process, and had it all set within a few minutes.
You only get 12 exposures with a roll of 120 film. I wanted to make them count, and I didn’t want to shoot any additional rolls until I was certain the camera was in good working order.
There were a few things I wanted to get a feel for, mainly focus, depth of field, and light sensitivity. With an F3.5 lens, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and I hadn’t shot film since I was twenty (remember APX film?).
At the end of the roll I wasn’t exactly sure how to “seal” the film. I was looking for something to ‘peel’, but it turns out a lick does the trick.
I sent off the film to be developed and scanned at high resolution to 120filmprocessing.com. I had a link to my scanned images back in about five days and found myself nervous and excited as I clicked into the online gallery.
Here are some of the photos that were taken. I was really impressed with the quality of the scans. In short, I found low-light performance was not great, unless the aperture was stopped down and the exposure was long.
These two photos were taken with the camera set down on a solid surface. The dining room scene was a 3 second exposure at F8 (actuated by hand, without a remote shutter release). The decanter was shot at 1 second at F3.5.
These pictures were shot at F3.5 at a 30th of a second. I’m not exactly sure why the contrast is so utterly poor, while the decanter was so amazingly crisp.
The outdoor pictures were F8 at 250th of a second.
Shooting with a TLR is fun, and definitely garners some attention. The look of the film is certainly unique and has a grain unlike the noise in digital photos. I look forward to playing with this camera some more!
If you are interested in seeing the full-sized images as they were downloaded directly from 120processing.com, please use the link below.
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