My First Roll With Yashica Mat 124G

5 min read by Antonio Miše.
Published on . Updated on .

Yashica Mat 124G, an embodiment of mid-20th-century camera engineering, greeted me with its robust yet elegant presence. The utilitarian design, devoid of modern frills, conveyed a sense of purpose. This camera deserves to be out there, in the field — not on the shelf.

Yashica Mat 124G in original leather case.

I won this camera on an eBay auction a few months ago for a really good price. Though I never had the chance to hold or shoot a TLR camera, I always wanted to try one. Finally, I had my own!

In this article, I’d like to share my first-roll experience with this beautiful, sensible medium format film camera.

Sailing around Croatian Cape Horn. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.

First impressions.

Yashica Mat 124G is a big and functional camera. It’s also affordable — you can buy one for a fraction of the price of some other popular medium format cameras ($200-500, as of this writing).

My copy was owned by someone who cared for it deeply; it had a name tag in the leather case — all in pristine condition.

Shooting film with Yashica Mat 124G (ergonomics).

I had a spare roll of Kosmo Foto Mono 100 film and a day off. Here’s what I learned with the camera around Cape Planka.

Previous owner maybe? Adress is in Switzerland.

Film loading was simple; as I fed the emulsion strip into the camera it made a characteristic clunking sound. The frame counter hit one — which I wasted — I forgot to cock the shutter, and the first photo was taken by my photo bag.

The viewfinder was tricky to master as the image was inverted horizontally. But I really enjoyed composing in the square format, looking down at the ground glass. I liked that Yashica Mat had no state-of-the-art autofocus and electronics. Don’t get me wrong, as a professional photographer, shooting with modern cameras for commercial work is a must. Still, it felt liberating just to compose, shoot, rewind, and repeat.

Manual exposure. I simply used a smartphone app, which I used to read light from open shadows — and that was it. The day was slightly overcast, and there was no room for big mistakes, but my settings remained somewhat constant: 1/125s at 𝒇8 or 𝒇11. I rated my film at its box speed: ISO 100.

View on St. John’s church from the nearby rocks. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.


I live near Cape Planka, which is the location where I chose to test my Yashica Mat. It’s a natural barrier between the North and south Dalmatian coasts. We call it the “Croatian Cape Horn” because of the strong winds and the distinct look. There, you’ll also find St. John’s church and learn a few legends about this place.

Punt Planka. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.

How I developed this film.

I developed my roll of Kosmo Foto Mono in Atomal 49 developer for 8min/20℃ and let it dry for a few hours.

I think the film turned out pretty well! Not bad for my first TLR experience.

Yashica Mat 124G overview.

Yashica Mat 124G is a simple and straightforward camera. There’s nothing unnecessary in its design — every button or dial has a purpose. The manual focusing works beautifully.

This camera induces a relaxing shooting experience as it doesn’t get in the way of the photographer. Sure, the inverted image in the viewfinder is a bit tricky to master, but hey — this was my first film roll, and I know it’s not the last!

Paired with my Nikon F3, I think I have some really good tools for creating photos.

St John’s Church and small lantern. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.
Scenery at Planka. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.
Fishing. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.
Rocks at Punta Planka are carved by winds, sea and salt. Yashica Mat 124G with Kosmo Foto Mono.