Nowadays, there are several really affordable ways to get into the medium format market. You can try your hand with an all-plastic twin lens reflex (TLR) camera, which although will not be able to produce results as good as the more better built ones, can still give you a taste of the format.
Then there are the Rolleiflexes, very high quality profession standard cameras, and also the Hasselblad range, again, very high quality, with prices to match!
It all comes down to affordability in the end. If you cannot afford to fork out more than $1500 to $2000 or more for a medium format camera, I would seriously recommend the Yashica TLR range.
There are plenty of models to choose from, and all are capable of producing professional quality shots. I’m not one to blow my own horn, but I have had many shots from my Yashica Mat TLR printing by some very well-known magazines, so it shows you the quality we are talking about here.
For around $200 to $250, you can pick one up in excellent, working condition, and you can be sure it will out last your lifetime.
I picked several of my Yashicas at very low prices many years ago, and in fact, even now, when prices have moved up a little, it is still jaw-dropping to see the difference in prices between these cameras and the Hasselblads or Rolleiflex models. There is not much difference in quality when it comes down to it.
Why do I love my Yashicas, and what’s so good about them then?
Well, they have been so well designed, with the layout of the speed, aperture, shutter wind and release button so strategically placed, that you could use them all day, and without looking up from the screen, a very, very important point.
Lenses are also tack sharp. Despite what you read on the internet, both types, the Yashinon and the Yashikor, are excellent lenses; take my word for it, I’ve used both types for well over 30 years!
The other thing is that these cameras just “feel” right in your hands. The quaint square screen in the viewfinder just begs you to take the camera out and start composing your first shot. And 120 roll film is easily available, too. Another bonus is that because the negative size is very large, you can develop the film yourself if you wanted and scan the prints or enlarge them very easily.
This one has the superb Yashinon lenses, completely free of fungus, separation or scratches. All the shutter speeds work and the aperture is clean and snappy. Viewing screen undamaged and clear.
Bodywork is in excellent, nay, superb condition as you can see in the pics here. I have maintained this camera well from the start when I got it, cleaning the leatherette after every use to prevent unsightly dirt or finger marks getting onto the body etc, lenses wiped over with lens cloth, the inside film compartment blown out with a “puffer-brush”. The only thing I am a little sorry about is the case…I only have the main part, the front hinged cover is missing….I dropped the cover during a trip to the Grand Canyon, and it’s probably still lying there where it fell years ago, down in that huge, deep canyon.
This model is also the rare one with a built-in exposure meter–just point the camera at your subject, match the meter needle to the movable pointer at the top, and you’re good to go! I have fitted a brand new, easily available battery for you, too.
The name Yashica 24 means it was designed to take 24 exposures with a 220 film, rather than 12 exposures with a 120 film….as it happens, I’ve been using 120 roll film all the time with this camera and it works fine….the only benefit of using a 220 film (which is more expensive and getting rarer by the day) is that you get double the shots; that can be a pain in the neck frankly, as you have to wait for twice as long before you can rewind the film after 24 shots rather than 12!
It comes to you with it’s original 2 UV filters which have served to protect the lenses. And of course, a FREE roll of 120 roll film to start you off!
Price: UK/Europe £134.95 plus £11.99 shipping
USA/Canada/rest of world: US$202.99 plus $35 shipping
Payment: NOCHEX, PPPay, GoogleCheckout, and yes, even the dreaded Paypal! If you are in the USA/Canada, you can walk into your local branch of Bank America or CIBC and pay directly into my accounts via your bank as well. If you’re in Vancouver, just walk into any branch of VanCity bank and pay over the counter into my account.
If you don’t want to buy from this blog, see the same camera plus all my others for sale here
Contact: harsum888 at yahoo dot com