Considering a TLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by BradleyK, May 11, 2013.

  1. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    One of the few camera species I have yet to shoot with is the TLR. The few folks I know who shoot with them all mention the same virtues: the camera is quiet and unobtrusive and the 2 1/4 negatives are a joy to print. So...I am considering the purchase of one. Folks posting here seem about evenly divided between the Rolliflex and the Yashica. Any advantage in either? Thanks in advance for the feedback.
     
  2. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Rolleiflex is better. Yashica is less expensive and a good buy. I'd like to have a Rollei some day but I have a Yashicamat 124 I paid $185 for and I love it.
     
  3. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    That's sort of a "Toyota/Lexus" question. Just get a Yashica that has Yashinon, not Yashikor lenses and you'll be fine. Then. if you love the TLR that much, sell the Yashica later for what you paid for it and get a Rollei.

    Don't over look a Mamiya - interchangeable lenses!
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I agree with Roger Cole. I inherite my Rolleiflex from my father after he passed away. You'll be happy with either one.

    Jeff
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    If not getting a Rolleiflex, I'd opt for a Rolleicord over a Yashica.
     
  6. smolk

    smolk Member

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    You might also consider the Minolta Autocord on what I read. I have two flexes and they get the most use these days. Condition of the lens and shutter is everything though
     
  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    The Mamiya TLRs are great cameras but they are much bigger and heavier than fixed lens TLRs. You should see them in person or at least in a photo side by side with a fixed lens TLR to decide whether this matters to you.
     
  8. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Only ever had Rolleiflexes, never used a Yashica. The Yashicas look very nice though, but I don't have a bad word to say about Rolleiflexes either really.

    Only thing I'd say is probably don't bother with a meter, it can add a bit to the price, and sometimes the accuracy can be a bit ropey.
     
  9. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    Many of the Yashica's are over-hyped and over-priced...especially the 124-G.
    I wouldn't rule out the Mamiya 'C' series TLR's.

    Mamiya's are a bit more versatile...considering the seven (7) separate focal lengths of interchangeable lenses available.
    They're bigger and heavier then a Rollei or a Yashica, but my 55mm and 180mm are some of my favorite lenses.
    I monopod when I'm on-the-go (or bag-pod), and for most landscapes and portraiture, I tripod the Mamiya.

    Marc
     
  10. dotyj

    dotyj Member

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    A couple of days ago I bought a Yashica-A off eBay and am looking forward to using a real TLR.

    I don't know how highly regarded the Yashica-A is but it "looks" like a nice old camera.

    That said I've had fun with my cheap Argus Seventy-Five, and a Recesky TLR 35mm kit camera (Not much of a camera but it does work).
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I know it is not one of the two you mention, but how about a Rollicord? Great value for money.
     
  12. one90guy

    one90guy Member

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    I have a Yashica A and a Rolleicord lll, I like what I get from each camera. Both cameras have bright viewfinders, I like the shutter release on the Yashica and like the 500 shutter speed of the Rollei. Good luck in your search.

    David
     
  13. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    I had a Rolleiflex T (with 75/3.5 Tessat lens) and now have Minotla Autocord. While both are great cameras, I somehow preferred handling of the Rolleiflex (but this could just be that the Rolleiflex was my first TLR and first 6x6 camera). Both have great lenses which produce very nice portraits (nothing wrong though with Planar or Xenotar lenses in the more expensive Rolleiflex models, of course) and stopping down a bit are really sharp across the field.

    TLR is a great experience if you give it time to learn and do not plan to hurry too much while shooting. It is definitely worth a try :smile:
     
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  15. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Several years ago my daughter played in a National Fastpitch Softball Tournament. There were two women there taking team photos of all the teams with a Yashica TLR. When we received our 8x10 team photo I was completely unimpressed. The entire photo looked soft.

    I assumed at the time that the Yashica TLR's had lousy lenses. I don't know. Maybe they had one with a clouded lens or they just completely missed focus.
     
  16. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Even the older Yashikor lenses shouldn't have been entirely soft. The Yashinon in the later ones are good lenses. There are several shots on my Flickr page made with mine. This past Christmas I gave my mother and father in law a mounted, framed print roughly 15" square made from a Pan F+ negative shot in my Yashicamat. They love it.

    They probably just missed focus, or the lens was a bad sample, possibly damaged or the focus mechanism was misadjusted.
     
  18. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I will go along with the Minolta Autocord models. The lenses are absolutely cracking. The cameras themselves are very well engineered and will not disappoint. The models with the meter may or may not work (Lack of suitable batteries) but there are never the less well worth the money asked.
     
  19. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    If you can afford it get a Rolleiflex. Hands down. Get a CLA from a good technician (don't skimp on this) or you'll likely be compromising what the Rolleiflex can do for you. If money is tight Rolleicord, Autocord or Yashicamat. Condition more important than which one you get. Again, CLA a very good idea.
     
  20. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I hope they just missed focus. There were teams here in St. Louis from California, Michigan, Florida and as far east as Indiana. They photographed each team and sold 8x10's to the people who wanted them. Of course a lot of people bought them but at least they were cheap.
     
  21. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    TLR's are not for everyone they are big, clunky and slow to use. Then there is the cost of film for only 12 exposures. I have several Yashicas, a Mamiya C33 with 3 lenses and a Seagull. For most of the time they sit on the shelf. I find them useful for only certain subjects. I would suggest first borrowing one to see if this format suits you.
     
  22. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    Hey Roger,

    I checked out your flicker page and I love the b&w photo of your wife sitting down in New Orleans taken with your Yashica!
     
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Big, clunky and slow???

    None of those words describe my Yashica for me. It is not big, it is not clunky. Slow is relative and a matter of perception. It isn't as fast as using my 35mm SLRs or my 645 Pro, true enough, but it's plenty quick to use. I typically walk around and take meter readings with my handheld meter as I move to different light and set it on the dials, so I'm ready to go. It's almost as fast as the SLRs this way, while being far smaller, lighter, quieter and less obtrusive than the 645 Pro, with far better negative quality than 35mm. I like the 12 shots too. With 35mm I often have the same roll in the camera for weeks, sometimes months. Thirty six is just too darned many. 12-15 are just right for most subjects for me.
     
  24. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    I've used the Autocord, Yashicas and Rolleiflexes/Rolleicords. They're all good. My Yashica has a German Lumaxar lens which predates the Yashinon and is very sharp, but the Yashinon is also very good. The only problem that I've had with the Yashicas is that even when using a lens hood they were susceptible to flare. That was easily cured by flocking the interior of the camera.

    The Kodak Reflex II is a great tlr, but it's tough to find one in good shape and since it is a 620 camera you have to re-spool 120 film onto 620 spools, but it's worth it.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrismat61/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2013
  25. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Thanks Alan!
     
  26. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    My YashicaMat was my travel camera of choice for a while - on a bicycle no less. The TLR box shape is great for packing. These cameras are all getting on a bit, so actual condition is important. There are things that are unique to TLRs - parallax in one axis (rangefinders have parallax in two axes), left to right image reversal, and most are geared to right-hand use.