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01-18-2012, 06:14 PM   #16
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The last two models of Rolleichords are excellent. I have one however I or I should say my wife broke the cable release housing but the camera can still be used. With Rolleiflexs the least expensive is the T which I do not recommend as I think the chord is lighter, less expensive and just as good as the T. The Mamiyas offer interchangeable lenses at a penalty of weight. TLR are so quiet to use. Composing is no different on them than waist level finders on SLR like Hasselblads and I even once owned a Ashiflex that had waist level finder if I remember correctly. At least the image is not upside down like in a view camera.

01-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
Well, I know Pentax didn't have a TLR. I wonder if anyone here have one?
The looks of these cameras really unique and I would really like to try one on.

Can someone recommend TLR in each of these category?
1. 'cheap' (<$100) and good, but not easy to obtain;
2. reasonably priced (<$250), and good models;
3. really good but also expensive;
4. legendary TLR.

and finally, the 'best' first TLR you would recommend for beginner.

*I am looking for MF TLR (or TLR that also accept 35mm with adapter)*

Thanks!
Lee
I did lots of reading up, but settled for what I wanted to spend on TLRs for the budget I allocated for playing with them.
Settled for a Yashicamat and Meopta Flexaret

From your list :

1. 'cheap' (<$100) and good, but not easy to obtain;
>> I did not look much in this range, probably the Lomo Lubitel, which if you get a good one is supposed to work well enough for its price.
Didn't want to venture into the super cheap and end up buy a few of them, just to get a good one, so this was not in my consideration.
You may also look at some of the lesser know brands or lower end Ricoh models on ebay.
In fact if you are lucky, any TLR from Yashica 124 downwards can be had for <$100

2. reasonably priced (<$250), and good models;
>> Plenty of models in this range.
Yashicamat/124/124G; Ricoh Diacords; Minolta Autocords are the common ones ppl look for and agree upon to have good performance.
Meopta flexaret at the lower end of this price tier.
I'd recommend looking at this range too.


3. really good but also expensive;
>> The really good ones are here, but prices vary a lot.
A Rolleicord or Mamiya C series TLR can be had on the lower end of the price tier.
The very good Rolleiflex with f2.8 taking lens on the highest end of pricing.


4. legendary TLR.
>> Way beyond my budget to even look


The thing about all these TLRs are that they are very old and many have picked up some problems here and there.
Oily lens; dim focusing screens; slow aperture; lens separation, winding mechanism failure being some of the common problems with age.
I got through 2 Yashicamats to get a good one (even that one had an oily lens that I had to clean out).
On the exterior, they all look great.

The Meopta Flexaret is a viable option to look at. This is a Czeh made TLR, and is pretty good. There is a Czeh guy ( Cupog) on ebay who sells CLAed ones at a decent price, and I got one from him, to save myself all the trouble of getting problematic ones at cheaper prices. There are other sellers as well, but no idea if they are reliable.


The one that really intrigued me was the Mamiya TLR C series as this was the only system TLR with interchangeable lenses (some were very fast too at f2.8).
Beautiful cameras too.
I got over the CBA itch for it after battling it for about a year. (reason below)

In the end, I stopped looking at getting more TLRs esp the higher end ones for the following reasons :
1. Old age problems (as mentioned above) and risks of buying on ebay.
2. For the pricier ones, they don't present as much value anymore compared to some of the other MF options that have gone done in price. 645/66/67 options avaliable from Bronica/ Fuji/ Polaroid/ Mamiya/ Pentax provide more options and a better value proposition without as much risk of old age camera problems.


My main issues with TLRs (at least the cheap ones) are :
1. About 1.3m minimum focus distance, so not that great for smaller stuff
2. Rather slow taking lenses (not an issue and indeed incredible with those expensive Rollei f2.8 ones);
3. Needs some stopping down for better sharpness and then combined with #1; DOF isn't that shallow anymore.



But I really love them and the way they look (Someone make a digital one PLEASE! )
Good luck on your search.
01-18-2012, 09:31 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the replies. Please keep them coming... especially let me know what are the issues (or things to consider) in going into TLR, never try one before. They are hard to find in local craiglist so I never have a chance to try them out.

When you share you experience about TLR, it would be great if you can share the full name of the camera, so I can search them out.... Yashica alone have so many variants...

My budget is, within $250 (& I probably want one with light meter) since I just want to see if I like them (I like the look and vintage feel for sure). I know I can get lots of insights here compare to online search where most just list the specs of TLR.
So, if I am looking at someone selling TRL locally, what are the things I should be looking at to make sure it is working? After several months of looking, last week I saw a guy selling rolleiflex T for $190 and send an email right away but it was already gone.... this is real fast and I am not sure if I can get one locally.
If I am looking online, I am looking at ebay, craigslist, keh,... did I miss anything? or..... is anyone here selling their TLR??

Appreciate all your comments! Hope I can find a TLR soon.

Thanks,
Lee
01-18-2012, 10:54 PM   #19
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Be aware that going MF pretty much means doing your own film processing, so you'll want darkroom supplies. If you just want to play with a TLR, go to Freestyle Photographic Supplies - Traditional Black & White Film, Paper, Chemicals, Holgas and ULF and search for TLR. You'll find a Holga TLR for US$29. Then browse through the darkroom supplies. Have fun!

01-19-2012, 08:09 AM   #20
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RioRico, I did some search before and realize 120 film development can be done cheaply in Walmart, Walgreen that outsource them to Fujifilm lab. That is one of the major reason I venture into film (not too costly to develop film as I used to think)...

Lee
01-19-2012, 04:19 PM   #21
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last i checked, you can cross cheap and good off the list.
01-19-2012, 07:31 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by bull drinkwater Quote
last i checked, you can cross cheap and good off the list.
I thought these were choices.
01-19-2012, 10:16 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by jackinkc Quote
I thought these were choices.
i checked KEH which is my first avenue and the prices were herendous.i doubt if ebay is any better.

01-20-2012, 07:01 AM   #24
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...I dunno, I paid $25 + shipping for my Diacord ... $40 for the Autocord, though I then had to get it repaired/CLA'd which cost me $80 or so. The 124G I bought from Mark Hama for a bit over $200.
01-21-2012, 06:31 PM   #25
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Prices are not looking good on ebay for these cameras. $40 for Autocord... hm. I am finalizing on Autocord, Rolleiflex T, and the Yashica Mat 124 or 124G. Hope to get one without having to CLA....
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