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DJ72

Yashica mat 124g - which film, and where to process?

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Hello Gang.

 

I am soon to be in possession of a Yashica Mat 124g .

 

I want to shoot in colour, but I am not sure which film to buy. 

 

I'm a beginner, so will be having it processed in a lab - I'm in London, is there a decent place to take my film to be developed?

 

Many thanks - cant wait to get started.

 

DJ

 

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I took a look at your photos and was very intrigued by MF0754. Little children almost hidden in the trunk of an absolutely enormous tree. Your caption is just Sicily. No mention of the children in the keywords. Maybe this is some famous tree or trees but I know nothing about it and I think you  could do better with the caption and keywords. I love the image.

 

Paulette

 

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You don't say if you plan to shoot negatives or transparencies so here are a couple of suggestions for each.

Do you have a good exposure meter?

 

Colour negative
Kodak Portra: normal saturation.
https://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/colour_print__slide/kodak_portra_160_120_roll_film_5_pack/14811_p.html

 

Kodak Ektar: high colour saturation, requires accurate exposure.
https://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/colour_print__slide/kodak_ektar_100_120_roll_film_5_pack/19796_p.html

These emulsions are optimised for scanning, which might be handy if you want to submit images to Alamy. Some colour negative films give very grainy results on desktop scanners. 


Colour transparency
Fuji Provia 100f. Good general purpose transparency film. 
https://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/colour_print__slide/fujifilm_provia_100f_120_roll_film_5_pack/13677_p.html

 

Fuji Velvia 50: high colour saturation, good for landscapes. Requires very accurate exposure. 
https://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/colour_print__slide/fujifilm_velvia_50_120_roll_film_5_pack/13689_p.html


For processing, I have found Peak Imaging in Sheffield to be very reliable
https://peak-imaging.com/about/film.processing

 

 

I hope this helps. Good luck.

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The Yas124 is more antiquated then film itself.....

 

Not sure if it is still available but I always preferred FUJI Neg

to Kodak.  I don't think you want to waste chrome film in the

124.

 

I've been out of film for so long that I still have a "Brick" of

PKR on my desk....  Keeping in mind that currently 75% of

the images that I have on Alamy are scans from chromes.

 

Chuck

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Hi Sprocket 

 

This would be for film. I went ahead and ordered Kodak Portra 400,

 

Your question regarding light meter is pertinent. 

- some folk say it cant be trusted others (not many) contend the meter for them works fine.

This seems to depend on:
changing the batteries often
using an incident meter to compare readings

 

I have managed to borrow a sekonic meter for the next few days to some tests....I know nothing about medium format cameras or light metering but im learning .... my real concern is this:

If i compare with the sekonic light meter, and realise the camera is "off" i might be able to compensate for this on the camera (how - is it just tweaking the ASA?) 

 

But what happens when the battery starts to fade? How will I know that the meter is slowing down? Will I have to periodically test the meter with a hand held? If so, I will have to buy a meter anyway!

 

The cost of the Yashica was £250. The cost of a decent light meter seems to average around £100 second hand. I cant pay that kind of money right now.

 

Any tips much appreciated thank you. I realise this isn't the best forum for MF type questions, but I always find the feedback here quite good so thought it worth putting out there. 


DJ

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Posted (edited)

You will find a built-in meter very limiting as it can only conveniently be used for reflected light readings. These can be very misleading.

As to the price of a meter, you won't find £100 goes very far buying, developing and scanning film. You've already paid £6/roll for film and Peak charge £30 for process and hires scan.

Edited by spacecadet

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yes thanks for that ... your comment makes sense as I understand the difference between incident and reflective. Yet there remain plenty of people out there who use the light meter with the Yashica. I can only presume they get lucky or make some kind of allowance for it.  Cheers. Going to do some tests tonight, once I understand how to use that hand held. 

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Posted (edited)

I used a built-in meter for some time- you learn to point it downwards to avoid the influence of the sky. But you're always wondering whether it's quite right and comparing it to the exposure guides that used to be printed inside boxes of film. (Yes, that's how long it is since I used one!).

If it's TTL and centre-weighted it's much easier to use. We're used to them in digital but there's probably more scope for correction than with film.

Edited by spacecadet

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yes exactly...that is going through my mind "it should be ok" ... but with having already paid 50p per shot (not having yet paid for any developing) I am not quite comfortable with that attitude.

 

Besides, the whole point of buying the camera was to understand the process of taking a photograph - so I will take my time. Hopefully wont get outbid on the eBay meter. 

 

Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

Film may be rewarding (I miss my A1- no way am I selling it for peanuts) but I don't miss paying for it. Archive aside, it's a non-starter for stock. If all the images I have here had been shot on reversal, at today's prices, I wouldn't yet have broken even on the film.

Edited by spacecadet

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1 hour ago, DJ72 said:

But what happens when the battery starts to fade? How will I know that the meter is slowing down? Will I have to periodically test the meter with a hand held? If so, I will have to buy a meter anyway!

 

It appears that the Yashica meter was designed to use mercury cells so you may need to find zinc-air equvalents. These article explain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_battery

http://buhla.de/Foto/eQuecksilber.html

 

You could try using your digital camera as a meter. Set it to ISO 160 (the same as Portra) then frame the same shot as the Yashica and transfer the shutter speed and aperture from the digital camera over to the Yashica. 

 

You could also try the Sunny f16 rule (this is the guidance on the inside of film boxes that Spacecadet mentioned). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule

 

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I wish I'd still got one of those boxes- I think it stopped in the late 80s.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I wish I'd still got one of those boxes- I think it stopped in the late 80s.

 

Funnily enough, the exposure guide is still available in the traditional format on the Portra data sheet (turn to page 2 of the PDF).  

http://imaging.kodakalaris.com/sites/prod/files/files/products/e4051_Portra_160.pdf

 

Quote

 

Daylight
Use the exposures in the table below for average frontlit subjects from 2 hours after sunrise to 2 hours before sunset.

 

Bright or Hazy Sun on Light Sand or Snow    1/125 @ f/16
Bright or Hazy Sun (Distinct Shadows)    1/125 f/11*
Weak, Hazy Sun (Soft Shadows)    1/125 @ f/8
Cloudy Bright (No Shadows) 1/125 @ f/5.6
Heavy Overcast or Open Shade ‡    1/125 @ f/4

 

* Use f/5.6 for backlit close-up subjects.
‡ Subject shaded from the sun but lighted by a large area of sky.

 

 

Edited by Sprocket

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I let the last of my Portra and whatnot go on ebay a few years ago- I don't think I've even got one of the paper slips anymore under "K" in the filing cabinet. Must have thrown away hundreds of them. Sigh.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

I used a built-in meter for some time- you learn to point it downwards to avoid the influence of the sky. But you're always wondering whether it's quite right and comparing it to the exposure guides that used to be printed inside boxes of film. (Yes, that's how long it is since I used one!).

If it's TTL and centre-weighted it's much easier to use. We're used to them in digital but there's probably more scope for correction than with film.

 

I generally metered on an incident light basis with a separate meter as it gave much more reliable exposure. Sold my high-end Gossen a few years ago when I had a major clear-out (about 50Kg!) but still have my digital Polaris flash/light meter but even doing flash work I don't usually bother. With digital I guess and then adjust using the camera histogram.

 

I sold my Yashicamat 124G many years ago, It wasn't very sharp,  although the image was larger 35mm SLRS gave sharper prints! In fact having a sort out recently I found its lens hood and a Rollei No 1 close-up lens pair ( the viewing close up lens has a prism to give some parallax correction). the bits will be going on eBay, Gumtree or whereever in a week or two.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Thanks all. I have the zinc-air equivalent already. When these start to fade what then? That's my question really - I can configure all day long this week, get it right but when will I know that the meter is fading again?? I would have to compare again to a hand held meter.

 

So as I see it I will need a meter at any given point anyway in order to make sure the needle isn't lying.  

 

Thanks to all! 

 

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, DJ72 said:

I have the zinc-air equivalent already. When these start to fade what then?

 

A zinc-air cell is designed to supply a stable voltage throughout most of its life so it should give consistent readings. It should die suddenly rather than just fade away. Bear in mind that once the seal has been removed it will have a limited life regardless of how much it is used. 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc–air_battery

Quote

Discharge properties[edit]

Because the cathode does not change properties during discharge, terminal voltage is quite stable until the cell approaches exhaustion.

 

Edited by Sprocket

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Posted (edited)

As an alternative to a costly hand held meter why not download a meter to your phone? There's plenty available, most are free also.

Edited by ReeRay
  • Upvote 1

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Thanks ReeRay and Sprocket

I just got a Sekonic L 308s on eBay for a bargain of £70.

 

Testing this morning with a borrowed Sekonic, it seems the camera is two stops out compared to the hand held meter.  

 

Sprocket - thats really useful information about the zinc battery. The camera came with a new battery but the seller hasnt confirmed yet which one it is.

 

 

 

Thanks again!

 

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Hi again. So I am using a 1.5 alkaline battery which is why the meter is so off. I have ordered the (1.35) Zinc Air so i can get a constant charge.

 

One day I might actually take a photograph!

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, DJ72 said:

 

Testing this morning with a borrowed Sekonic, it seems the camera is two stops out compared to the hand held meter.  

 

 

 

Not doubting your knowledge, but are you sure you were taking readings in the same way? Quite often there should be a difference between reflected and incident readings, depending on the reflectance of the scene.

Now you have a hand meter I'd forget the built-in one.

Edited by spacecadet

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Hi Spacecadet. I used the hand held meter in reflective mode, not much point otherwise is there

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And I have ordered the zinc battery as I want to at least have a degree of fault tolerance in the set up. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, DJ72 said:

Hi Spacecadet. I used the hand held meter in reflective mode, not much point otherwise is there

Off a grey card? The only sure way in my book.

It wasn't clear from your posts that you were familiar with the principles of exposure measurement, so I was trying to be helpful.

Edited by spacecadet

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DJ,

 

If you do not know how to expose neg film then I would

suggest not wasting the money on film and processing,

Yes I do have several great hand held meters and I rarely

rely on them.

 

I spent decades working with Leica M2's with chromes

and learned to see the exposure.  Negative film is not

difficult to expose and with LR it is easy to correct, which

I did not have access to in the 70's and 80's

 

Chuck

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