The Yashica Mat-124 was made up until 1970. It is based on the similar Yashica-24 and Yashica-12. The replacement Yashica Mat-124 G was made from 1970 till 1986 and was the last TLR produced by Yashica. Even if this type of camera seemed to be obsolete at the time of its appearance, the 124 G was a success.
Both models have a four-element, 80mm f/3.5 taking lens, of the better "Yashinon" variety. The Mat-124 and Mat-124 G (Yashica-12, 24) all accept Bay 1 accessories, such as those made for the Rolleiflex. Focusing is via a ground glass screen, with a 3x diopter loupe for critical focusing, as well as a sports finder. The focusing screen is used with the camera at waist-level. The sportsfinder, incorporated in the focusing hood, is operational by pushing the front cover backwards. According to the instruction booklet, it comes in handy for snapshots or when shooting fast-moving objects at eye-level. The Copal SV shutter features speeds 1 to 1/500 sec., plus B. It has a self-timer and flash sync with both electronic x and bulb m modes. They also features a coupled match-needle exposure meter, although it uses now-discontinued 1.3v mercury cells. Suitable air-zinc replacements and adapters for modern alkaline or silver oxide batteries may be obtained at camera stores and on the internet. They can handle both 120 and 220 film. The focus knob now has a film emulsion type reminder dial with settings for Day Reversal, Day Negative, Tungsten Reversal, B&W and Empty.
Since the cameras are basically is a Rolleiflex copy, the controls take a similar configuration. Build quality is very good. Yashica’s are considered to be an excellent choice for entry-level medium format. The 4-element 80mm f/3.5 Yashinon (taking) lens cannot be considered of equal quality compared to the Rollei’s, however it produces very good results, especially when stopped down to f/8-16. Unlike some Rolliflex models in sportfinder mode there is no additional mirror to reflect a portion of the screen to check focus in this set-up. An artificially inflated demand for the 124G has raised the price somewhat in the used market.
The 124 and 124 G are largely identical, save for trim the Mat-124 G was all black and electrical differences. The 124G pressure plate slides between 12-exposure and 24-exposure settings, while on the original 124 it pulls out and rotates. The covering on the 124 is the square pattern type while the 124G has changed to a more traditional pebble style leatherette covering.