Anyone ever shoot a Graflex TLR?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by TheFlyingCamera, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Are the lenses any good on these, and how are the ergonomics? Are they under-rated, or are they just cheap clunkers?
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    The www.graflex.org helpboard has a section for the TLRs. They're not discussed often, but they have been discussed ...
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I've always wonder about these too. I keep thinking about getting one but I never have. I don't know if its the historical aspect or what, but they just fascinate me. Let us know what you think if you get a hold of one.

    - Randy
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    There are some right now on the 'Bay, and Ciro-Flexes as well (Buy it now items), so maybe now is the time to know :wink:
     
  5. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    The Graflex TLR is the same as the Ciro-Flex. Conventional wisdom says that most had a 3 element lens, while the Ciro-Flex model F has a 4 element Tessar type. I've seen nice photographs made with any of these, so I'd say try one out and see what happens.
     
  6. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    PS I love my Ciro-Flex, but I always liked non-Kodaks. :0)
     
  7. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Stieglitz used a 5x7 version for a number of his pictures. I seem to remember seeing a photo of him using it for the 'Equivalent' series clouds pictures and I *think* that he used the 5x7 model for "The Steerage".

    - Randy
     
  8. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Randy, I think you're mixing up the Graflex SLR with the Graflex TLR. The SLR was that huge beast with a chimney hood, whereas the TLR is a Rolleicord-type of camera.
     
  9. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    I have a Ciro-flex that is in great shape and takes very nice photos for a 65 year old camera. I've posted examples on this site. It's one of those cameras that I'll pass on to my kids some day.
     
  10. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Nice camera when in decent shape. A few have really suffered from living in basements and attics for decades, but a lot of that is easily fixed - at worst you may want to replace the mirror. The 85mm triplet is sharper than you might expect as apparently they used a slightly longer lens length so only the sharper parts of the field would be in use. The 83mm on the F is a tessar copy. Almost all the lenses are coated, and I haven't seen any with fungus (out of about a dozen). Most of the later models even have fresnels. The optics are good, focusing is easy, the shutters are accurate and reliable and the only downside is the red-window film advance. Frankly, the only reason I use my Yashicamat and Flexaret more than the Ciroflexes is that the film advance is so much faster than cranking forward to the red window (that and the Maxwell screen in the Yashicamat). I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try medium format or a TLR.

    There is a great essay on American TLRs here: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-76.html

    And some nice sample images here: http://tanyaclark.com/Ciroflex.htm and another here http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/ciroflex_e.htm
     
  11. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    In the early 1960s, World Book Encyclopedia under "Photography" used the Graflex 22 as an example of TLR's.

    When I was 14, I told a story at school that I had one. Others put me to the task of showing up with it. A trip to the local camera store confirmed that they had no such thing in stock, but they rented me a Rollei for a day.

    When my classmates and teacher told me that this was not the camera I described, they demanded to know why this one was different. I said that I upgraded...
     
  12. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I have a Sears/Tower TLR.. pretty dim screen but once I cleaned the mirror and screen it wasn't too bad. The bokeh was great, but stopped down to f8/f11 the lens was a killer. I'm sure it was nothing more than a 3-element lens but it just had this snap to it. Very pleasing. Getting used to the red-window frame advance wasn't too bad either. Excellent knock-around camera.

    Also had/have a broken Ricoh Auto 66 (or Auto 225?) with _bright_ fresnel and rollei-like frame crank/cock/advance. Nice camera except that the frame advance was broken and could never fix it. Selenium meter too. 6-element lens I believe. *sigh*
     
  13. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    That's odd... I'm positve that picture I remember is of him looking down the chimney while taking a cloud picture, although the "Steerage" certainly could have been a TLR. Thanks for the info!

    - Randy
     
  14. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Pictures of each:

    SLR : http://www.graflex.org/articles/series-d/
    TLR : http://www.graflex.org/graflex-22/

    The Graflex 22 was a rebranded Ciro-flex, which uses 120 film in 6x6. The SLR models used 2x3, 4x5 and 5x7 sheet film.
     
  15. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The SLR also came in 3x4, which seems to have been a significant fraction of total sales, based on what I see on the auction site, and a few roll film models, including a 1A (120) and a 3A (122 - postcard format). And we should remember that the SLR was the camera that gave Folmer and Schwing's descendants the Graflex brand name.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    well, for squirts and giggles, I got one off Ebay for $50 plus shipping. I'll put some film through it and see how it works. It would make a cheap alternative to the Hassy when I want to shoot medium format but don't want to risk the good gear.