Yashica MG-1 (1975)

The MG1 came out in both black and silver versions. I like the black model.
The MG-1 came out in both black and silver versions. I prefer the black model.
The MG1 is the same size as the Yasjhica Electro 35 series.
The Yashica MG1 is the same size as the Yashica Electro 35 series.
Yashica MG-1. The simple light system allows for correct expose without looking through the view-finder.
Yashica MG-1. The simple light system allows for correct expose without looking through the view-finder.

Specifications: Yashica MG-1

yashica MG-1
It also comes with the usual silver metal finish.

Type: 35mm Rangefinder Film Camera with aperture priority auto exposure only. Released in 1975. It came out in both chrome or black body versions

Lens: Yashinon 45 mm f2.8. The focus range is from 1 m to infinity. Marked in both feet and metres. 4 elements in three groups. Filter size 55mm.
Viewfinder: Viewfinder combined with a rangefinder. Bright frame with no parallax correction. Magnification 0.59x. Red and yellow exposure indicator arrows visible through the viewfinder. When lightly pressing the shutter button a red light indicates overexposure. Yellow light means that although exposure will be correct a slow shutter speed will be used meaning the camera must be held steady and it is best to use a tripod.
EE Mechanism: Built-in exposure meter with CdS “Top-Eye” cell for automatic exposure control. Shutter speed priority system.
Film Speeds: ASA 25 to 800 / Adjustment on a ring at front of the lens.
Battery: 1 x 5.6v mercury battery (no longer available). (Eveready E164, Mallory PX32, or equivalent). Without a battery, the shutter free runs at 1/500 second so the camera cannot be used. You can also use 4 x 1.5v alkaline or silver oxide button cells stacked together and taped. Or a 6v L28.
There is no manual control of the shutter speed.

Shutter: Leaf Shutter. Speeds range from 2 seconds to 1/500 of a second. Automatically sets aperture, self-cocking combined film/shutter wind, and x synchronization. There is no B setting for long time exposures. However, the Copal shutter is stepless and so does not stick to the standard speeds of 1/500, 1/250 of a second and so on. Instead, it picks any speed to best suit the available light and aperture combination. Although the manual states the camera’s auto exposure can go down to 2 seconds in poor light, in reality, it can easily run for much longer. Mine goes for about 20 seconds.

Self Timer: Yes. Runs for 7 seconds.
Flash Contact: an Accessory shoe with direct contact plus conventional flash socket.
Flash. Shutter speed automatically sets to 1/30 second when the Auto Lever is adjusted to “flash”.
Film Advance: Single stroke approx. 180 degrees.
Film Counter: Resets automatically.
Size: 140 x 72 x 82mm
Weight: 620g
The price in 1978 Australian dollars.
The Australian Photography Directory 1978-79 shows the new price of the Yashica MG-1 at A$135.00. By way of comparison, the same publication at that time listed the Yashica Electro 35GX at A$245.00. That means the MG-1 was almost half the price of the Yashica Electro when these cameras were still being sold new.

11 Comments on "Yashica MG-1 (1975)"

  1. Hi,
    there is manual control of aperture and one can use MG-1 camera without battery by adjusting correct aperture to 1/500 shutter speed.
    I have tis camera.


  2. The camera CAN be used without a battery, just on the ‘Sunny 16’ rule, the defult shutter speed is 1/500 so choose a 400 ISO film and basically use the pictures on the lens barrel as a guide, simple! Just remember the shutter speed will always be 1/500.


  3. I have found in a cupboard after doing a clean out with my mother in law a black yashiga MG-1 and was wondering if it’s worth anything if I wanted to sell?

    Melbourne Australia


    1. Hi Nick, It is certainly worth something if it goes. It won’t be much though. They sell on Trademe.co.nz in New Zealand for between NZ $20 – $50.


    1. I have no idea. Someone might know. If you live in New Zealand it is actually a good idea to send Pentax cameras to England to be serviced and repaired by Harrow Technical. They seem to have a good reputation. Sending your camera around the world to have it fixed seems odd but can be worth while for more expensive cameras.


  4. Not being picky, BUT just to help future MG1 owners, it does have manual control of the aperture too, f2.8 through to f16.


  5. You are quite correct Steve. The MG1 does offer the photographer manual control of the aperture. However you cannot choose your shutter speed as the camera does it for you. I have corrected the text above to reflect this. Thank you for letting me know.


  6. I recently aquired a Yashica MG1 Black camera. 35mm with the 45mm 2.8 lens. I also havevthe fitted leather case with it and was wondering what it is worth. The serial number is 61008521. It is in excellent condition.


    1. Hi Tonya, It probably isn’t worth very much. The black ones are always the most popular especially when in good condition and fully working. My guess is it would be worth less to sell than a higher spec black Yashica Electro 35. Its value in New Zealand on Trademe.co.nz would likely be something like NZ$50.00 perhaps a bit more!


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