Yashica MG-1 (Jessy)


These few months, I’ve been uploading little by little the pictures this girl takes. I think I’ve tried with enough film types and light conditions as to do a proper review of my friend: Jessy the Yashica MG-1.

One advantage of having a photography lover dad is that you find orphan gadgets around the house that cost you nothing and give you the chance to discover new worlds!

After doing some research in the depths of Internet, and to get started, some technical details:

  • Jessy was born in ´75, so she´s a bit older than me, but nothing love cannot overcome.
  • Film type: 135 (35 mm)
  • ASA: from 25 to 800
  • Lens: Yashinon f2.8 45mm (55 mm filters can be attached)
  • Size: 90-60-90… oh, no! 140.6 × 72 × 82... you don´t ask a lady her weight, but I know you´re pretty tactless, so I’m telling you: 620 grams
  • Shutter speed: from 2 seconds to 1/500, in flash mode it is 1/30
  • Focus from one meter to infinity with a rangefinder system, a yellowish diamond that moves horizontally in the center of the viewfinder until we find the focus point.

The shutter adjustment system is completely automated with aperture priority. We set the film speed, choose aperture on its corresponding ring and a system with a red and a yellow led light will tell us if we´re over or underexposing.

It is quite well thought, because if we want to shoot from the hip, or any other place way in which the eye is not in the viewfinder, the camera has the two LEDs on the top with the corresponding labels. If we shoot using the viewfinder, the led lights up with an arrow shape, pointing in the direction we have to rotate the aperture ring.

With features like these, we think we can take all the advantage from it without needing extensive theoretical knowledge, but it’s more like the contrary. If we want to have some manual control, we have to cheat it by relying on the ASA setting.

I have been testing it with normal color negative films, black and white films, and different slide films with x-pro and I can say it has always satisfied me.

Next, some sample shots:

Jessy dressed on Fujicolor 200 in different light conditions:

Credits: rudemuinho

Jessy with her pink Sensia dress:

Credits: rudemuinho

Jessy getting adapted to the sobriety of the black and white jacket suit (Kodak TMax100):

Credits: rudemuinho

Strolling in Superia:

Credits: rudemuinho

I always tell her she´s gorgeous in Elitechrome, but the folks at the labs don’t like her showing up so stunning:

Credits: rudemuinho

… and here she is showing that when she thinks things twice, she doesn’t come to bad conclusions at all:

Credits: rudemuinho

One note, the camera doesn’t come prepared for multiple exposures, so we have to use the sprocket release pin to wind the shutter without advancing the film.

A small sample of what other people do with this beauty:

Credits: falsedigital & veantunes

From what I’ve read on the internet, they say she’s one of the “Last Samurais” before the plastic age… “I don’t know much about almost anything”, but I can’t imagine my Jessy with a sword and armor.

Other things that can be considered cons, are the aforementioned limitations on regards of manual settings, but I don’t think this but will scare any LC-A users ;)

By the way, doing a quick search I’ve found it sells for a very low price on eBay

Some people are a bit scared by the fact the battery is not manufactured anymore, but researching a bit you can find many possible solutions.

written by rudemuinho on 2011-07-30 #gear #rangefinder #review #lomography #compact #film-camera #user-review #yashica-mg-1


  1. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    I have one of these... works good. For battery, use a 4LR44, shimmed with an aluminum foil ball.

  2. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Ahaha there's my penis-man picture again! ;P
    Yes the Yashica MG-1 is a very capable camera. Also, like it's sibling the Yashica Electro 35 it has very accurate metering. It's a very under appreciated camera.

  3. coca
    coca ·

    my father has this camera too!! i've never used it because i couldnt find the battery anywhere, but @herbert-4 gave me a solution! :))

  4. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    Great pictures and a really nice article. I'll have to look out for this camera.

  5. orange_vespa
    orange_vespa ·

    4LR44 and aluminium foil ball seems to work well with my MG-1 too. My dad bought this camera in the seventies and now it is starting a second life with some Lomography Redscale XR film.

  6. rudemuinho
    rudemuinho ·

    @orange_vespa. Yes, that's the way!! when i wrote this review, I hadn't used redscale yet, but now, after a few rolls, I love the way they work together



  7. cyeo
    cyeo ·

    I am thinking of buying one. You have helped. Enjoyed this article so much. Thanks!

  8. firman_ophth
    firman_ophth ·

    I use 1 CR123 and 2 LR44 batteray to this beauty

  9. napoleon09
    napoleon09 ·

    I use 1 CR123A and 2 LR44 Batteries. Cost me only around $5.5 for the batteries, and $25 for the Yashica MG-1.

  10. marwamostafaph
    marwamostafaph ·

    I suddenly discovered that I had this camera and my father had taken pictures of it with it since our childhood and now when I became a photographer I felt that I had a treasure to own such a camera

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