Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-18-2012, 10:28 AM   #1
Pentaxian
LFLee's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Western MA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,264
TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) lovers?

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


Last edited by LFLee; 01-18-2012 at 10:29 AM. Reason: edit to highlight MF
01-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
Junior Member




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 42
I have never used a TLR but interested in seeing what everyone else posts here!
01-18-2012, 10:36 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Plymouth
Posts: 359
Cheap? How about this. Got one for a mate's b'day recently and he had fun building it, but he's not got around to having any shots printed yet. DIY LOMO 35mm Camera Science Twin Lens Reflex TLR Holga Lomo Recesky DC67 | eBay
01-18-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
I now have some 'real' TLRs, and some TLR box cameras (fixed focus), and have had others. My favorite, and a cult classic, was the Yashicamat 124G, which some consider the high point of Japanese consumer TLRs. Other Yashicas are popular favorites. High-end professional TLRs included the Mamiya C-sceries (C220, C33, etc) systems, with interchangeable lenses -- beyond my budget. Other classic brands are Rollei Rolleicord and Rolleiflex; and the Konica Koni-Omegaflex, similar to the Mamiyas.

I've inherited my dad's Minolta Autocord, a minor cult classic, but mine needs repair; and his prior favorite, the underrated Argus Argoflex-E. Other Argoflex models are NOT underrated; they're rather pedestrian. But the Argoflex-E is and was a gem, and I still shoot with it occasionally.

My others are consumer trash: fixed-focus box cams. Mine range from the cheap almost-toy Ansco Panda and surprisingly sharp and usable Kodak Brownie Twin 20, both with waist- and eye-level viewfinders, to the elegant art-deco Ansco Anscoflex designed at Raymond Loewy studios. The Anscoflex is fun for TTV (through the viewfinder) shooting because its viewing lens is so distorted.

If you check various manual-camera forums, you'll find discussions of such devices. Have fun!


Last edited by RioRico; 01-18-2012 at 11:20 AM.
01-18-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
I have 4, no 5, of them. So yeah I like these cameras, they are sensibly light and compact, focus nicely, and can have exceptional optics. (Ricoh Diacord, Minolta Autocord, Yashica Mat 124G, Yashica Mat 44, and a pre-war Zeiss Ikoflex)
Here's an overview:
WWW.TLR-CAMERAS.COM/TLR Categories

Cheap? The Ricoh Diacord, or other Ricoh or older Yashica models.
Reasonable? Minolta Autocord; Rolleicord, Yashica Mat 124 and the like
Expensive? the 2.8 Rolleiflexes

These are all fixed lens models. A good Autocord is butter smooth and has a great lens. Rolleis are also butter smooth, excellent construction, but you pay for the name. The Yashica Mat 124 (I have a 124G) has a built in meter, but the lens isn't usually quite up to Minolta/Rollei level. The Diacord is inexpensively built, doesn't have auto shutter cocking, but puts its value where it counts: the lens is very very good. The other Ricoh models, and older Yashicas, are all decent performers, though I don't have any experience with them.

Really, you can't go wrong with any of these... and some of the models have built in light meters, which you may want.

Then there's the series of Mamiya C's - C2, C3, C22, C33, C220, C330 - which are bulkier than the fixed lens TLRs but have interchangeable lenses. Again, with the later ones, you can't go wrong if you want the lens-change ability.

Some Yashicas, Richos and Rolleis had 35mm adapters - I'm not sure, but there may be more. These can be difficult to find, and/or expensive... and I'm not sure how useful they really are.

I've only scratched the surface - there are Meopta/Flexaret devotees, Ikoflexians, Ciroflex/Graflex-22'ians, and so on.

A beginner model? Really anything at all goes! But to get the fun of the experience, something with a crank wind that also sets the shutter is easy, cool and simple. If you're worried about having a light meter, get one that has it (I bought the 124G with the thought that my daughter would use it), but you can get by with a hand meter just fine.

You'll need a lens hood; most but not all have standard bayonet fittings, i.e. a Bay-1 will fit many f/3.5 lens TLRs. Due to the geometry of the thing the lenses tend to flare.

Personally, I started with the Diacord, and loved it. Then came the Yashica Mat, then the vintage Ikoflex, then the 127 film 44, and finally the Autocord, which I actually got CLA'd and have new leather for. The Autocord is my favorite.
01-18-2012, 11:24 AM   #6
Veteran Member
Jools's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SW Wisconsin by way of Venezuela
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,386
I use the Mamiya TLR system.
Built like a tank and durable, it was my entry point into MF back in the 80s.
I started with a C33 body and recently added a C330f body. In addition, the beauty of the Mamiya TLR system is that it allows for interchangeable lenses. Depending on the focal length, some can be harder to come by than others. Still, I have accumulated four lenses (65, 80 (normal), 105, 180mm) through the years and these give me a good enough range for my needs.
They are heavy but I lug them around on a tripod, it's all manual, contemplative and a lot of fun.
I'd check with KEH for a Mamiya TLR; that is where I've picked up TLR equipment and accesories in recent years. They offer reliable and fair priced equipment.
Good luck!

Here's the C33 with the 80mm lens and a couple of samples







01-18-2012, 11:29 AM - 1 Like   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,103
Unless you are really going to be committed to shooting a TLR, I'd recommend you consider getting a good useable one for the best deal you can find.

Old Rolleicords can be affordable but their age generally means some fixing up. The viewfinder, for example, can get really dull. A relatively newer TLR like a Yashicamat would most likely be in better shape, ready to use, usually affordable and a good start.

TLRs are a fun camera. Pretty compact too for a medium format. And it is surprising what you can shoot with only one lens when you have no other choice. Actually, I think being forced to shoot with one lens is a helpful exercise people should do now and then.

Most TLRs have a sports finder too. When you flip up the WLF cover, there usually is a window you can open up and look through a peep hole in the back to see the equivalent view. You'd focus first of course and use the sports finder for composition. You'd use that when you want to follow your subject without the reverse of left/right in the WLF.

Getting use to a reversed view in the WLF is not difficult. In fact it can be helpful for compositions more often than you think. I shoot two of my MF cameras with WLF and I don't even notice it's backwards anymore.

Last edited by tuco; 01-18-2012 at 05:29 PM.
01-18-2012, 11:32 AM   #8
Veteran Member
Jools's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SW Wisconsin by way of Venezuela
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,386
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I now have some 'real' TLRs, and some TLR box cameras (fixed focus), and have had others. My favorite, and a cult classic, was the Yashicamat 124G, which some consider the high point of Japanese consumer TLRs. Other Yashicas are popular favorites. High-end professional TLRs included the Mamiya C-sceries (C220, C33, etc) systems, with interchangeable lenses -- beyond my budget. Other classic brands are Rollei Rolleicord and Rolleiflex; and the Konica Koni-Omegaflex, similar to the Mamiyas.
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
I have 4, no 5, of them. So yeah I like these cameras, they are sensibly light and compact, focus nicely, and can have exceptional optics. (Ricoh Diacord, Minolta Autocord, Yashica Mat 124G, Yashica Mat 44, and a pre-war Zeiss Ikoflex)
Here's an overview:
WWW.TLR-CAMERAS.COM/TLR Categories
Great info and starting point, guys.
Anyone ever use a Seagull TLR?

01-18-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
QuoteOriginally posted by Jools Quote
Anyone ever use a Seagull TLR?
Have not heard good things, though if your taste runs to toy/Holga/LOMO it gets you some of the way there. In other words, the lens isn't great and there are better buys out there.

btw, some samples, some technically good, some not, and many boring

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nesster/sets/72157626711172321/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nesster/sets/72157603388274162/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nesster/sets/72157606962849173/
01-18-2012, 12:11 PM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Eastern Kentucky
Posts: 416
Used a Yashica A 2 1/4x2 1/4 and a little newer 127 in the 1960's and 1970's.The 124's were new then.The A was an OK camera but the 127 had a very sharper lens,you could count the threads in material in shots taken from across the room.Most all twin lens from this era were pretty good.Will try and find some photo's from these.
Jake
01-18-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
Site Supporter
jackinkc's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Posts: 118
TLR

My fave TLR of all time was my Rollei 2.8D. I have also owned both a Minolta Autocord and a Yashicamat 124G.

In my opinion, Mamiya TLRs are very good buys right now. They are reasonably priced, excellent cameras, with a complete line of interchangeable lenses. KEH is a good supplier with an excellent reputation for accurately rating their items.
01-18-2012, 03:16 PM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2010
Location: Sydney
Posts: 503
For several years (before I could afford to buy my first P67ii in 2000), I used a couple of Mamiya C330f's and had great results. The interchangeable lenses make the system quite flexible (once you get used to the TLR way of working). You can get prism finders (not to be confused with the less sophisticated porro finders), but I simply adjusted to the waist level finder (with its back-to-front image); easier to do slowly on a tripod, but possible handheld with practice. I would say the later lenses are good, but never as good as modern, medium format optics. I had various different lenses at different times and would say that the 'black' ones are generally much better than the earlier silver ones. The final series of 80mm standard lenses (not just a normal black, but noticeably better with later coatings) are especially good for the system. I had every lens between 80 and 180 (not the longer 250 or the wide angles) and liked them all. The 180 can have issues with the linkages to the body's shutter release, as it's long and get develop play, so watch for that. Don't forget, if you change lens after winding on, to manually cock the lens (something you always had to do on the earlier versions of the body). Oh, and all of these bodies are now quite old, so make sure the bellows is light tight and the lens board is parallel to the body.

All of that said, it's a good system and generally cheaper than MF SLRs. And fun!
01-18-2012, 03:57 PM   #13
Veteran Member
borno's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: md-usa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,580
I think the big square ground glass and everything backwards really made me compose my photo's better. You had to think about things carefully with those precious 12 exposures. (C220 and a couple lenses)
01-18-2012, 04:09 PM   #14
Pentaxian
ChrisPlatt's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Queens NYC
Posts: 4,856
An acquired taste

Twice many years apart I purchased 6x6 and 4x4 TLR cameras.
I tried for months each time but never warmed up to either one.
Composing looking down at a reversed image feels quite unnatural for me.
Suggest you try before you buy.

Chris
01-18-2012, 05:14 PM   #15
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
QuoteOriginally posted by borno Quote
I think the big square ground glass and everything backwards really made me compose my photo's better. You had to think about things carefully with those precious 12 exposures.
QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Twice many years apart I purchased 6x6 and 4x4 TLR cameras.
I tried for months each time but never warmed up to either one.
Composing looking down at a reversed image feels quite unnatural for me.
The groundglass certainly seems unnatural. And it certainly forces one's attention to the screen. Besides TLRs, I use a Praktica FX3 SLR with a waist-level VF. These setups are certainly not for action shooting unless one has trained fairly extensively. Yes, they do require careful composition. Just like slow food vs fast food, so we have slow shoots vs fast shoots. What, me hurry?
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, medium format, tlr, tlr twin lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale - Sold: Mamiya C33 TLR, prism, WLF and 80mm 2.8 lens gabriel_bc Sold Items 3 10-27-2011 07:41 PM
Macro Twin Drops Twin Views eaglem Post Your Photos! 2 04-19-2011 06:54 AM
Cheap twin lens reflex camera kit ve2vfd General Talk 10 04-06-2011 07:07 PM
K-x / twin lens or k-r / 18-55mm? Taobat Pentax DSLR Discussion 38 03-30-2011 02:37 PM
Large format twin reflex lens, can you split? telfish Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 03-04-2010 02:34 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:02 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top