5 Frames (x2) in Montreal with a Yashica-Mat 124G

The Yashica Mat 124G was Yashica’s last and best TLR. Manufactured from 1970 to 1986, when the market was no longer looking for TLR cameras, Yashica built this model to similar standards as a Rolleiflex, figuring that while there might be a vanishing market for TLRs, perhaps there might be a little bit of interest yet for a -good- TLR.

I love shooting medium format, that nice big negative makes for better picture quality, at the expense of much fewer frames per roll than 35mm, for close to the same price. I started on Holga, followed by a Seagull TLR, then a Yashica-Mat, then a Mamiya 645, and now a Yashica-Mat 124G because I obviously don’t have enough. It became my favorite medium format camera, after reading a review online I was sold and had to have one. I promptly went out and spent too much money for one in pristine condition and I have yet to regret the purchase.

Last year I moved hundreds of miles from the northern New York and Vermont region that has been home for most of my years, and I wanted to enjoy Montreal one last time before I left.

Montreal is the only major city within 2 hours’ drive time. It’s moderately close-by yet it always feels distant and foreign. You cross an international border, and all of a sudden your phone is roaming, you need different money, everything is French, and measurements are metric. It’s like having a European vacation without all the airfare.

Formula 1 racing was in town, so the streets of Old Town were filled with race fans and supercars. Packed streets can be fun when shooting on the street, but the skies were a bit overcast. I loaded a roll of CineStill BwXX, my first time using this particular film. I would later extend the development time in some D-76, hoping for stronger contrast, and got less-than-stellar results, with two or three exceptions.

The skies were mostly cloudy on the first day but opened up when we went to the botanical gardens the next day, so I loaded some Kodak Portra 160. This day turned out better, the sun was out and the colors were everywhere. I’ll likely try the BwXX again, despite the issues I had this trip, and further despite the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever truly gotten fantastic results from any of the CineStill line of films.