difference between TLR and SLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by hanaa, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. hanaa

    hanaa Member

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    I'm currently looking for a medium format camera. I use 35mm SLR and am ready to advance myself into the next level. Other then the obvious diffences; what is the diffence between TLR and SLR. Or maybe what would be better to work with as a first medium format camera? In addition what kind is recommended? I don't have a clue about medium format and would like to learn all i can. I was looking at a Rollicord TLR-- any thought? Thank you so much for your time and help.

    Hanaa
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    TLRs aren't very good for closeups. Many can't change lenses. A few can.

    What are you going to use it for? Will you be happy with one lens? A lot depends on what you like and what you intend to do.

    SLRs are all over the map. Some are little different then 35mm cameras.

    http://people.smu.edu/rmonagha/pw/suggest.html

    Go over that website.
     
  3. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    With a TLR you are looking through the top lens while the camera takes the picture through the bottom lens. Therefore there is a little bit of parallax error, which gets worse the closer you get to your subject. TLRs tend to be smaller and simpler and have non-interchangable lenses, with the exception of the Mamiya C series.

    I think that a TLR is a great way to start often for purely economic reasons. A decent TLR such as a Rolleicord or Yashicamat will often be available for $100 or even less. If you have access to a good SLR for a good price, or are able/willing to spend more, there is no reason not to start that way as well.

    There are other advantages/disadvantages of each as well, I will let someone else chime in on those. :smile:
     
  4. hanaa

    hanaa Member

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    my main focus is scenery/landmarks/buildings and water.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    Very nice site. I would only say that the prices for most of the SLR equipment should be somewhat less than what is on the page, as it is about four years old from the look of it. I think that TLR prices have dropped less over the last four years. For example, it is now easy to get a nice Mamiya 645 1000s with a prism and 80mm lens for less than $300.
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Firstly. it is good to see you making a post. TLR cameras are quiet and dependable but without all the flexibility of an SLR. If you buy a Mamiya TLR you get a lot of bang for the buck and a choice of (7) lenses from 55mm to 250mm. Parallax can be nicely compensated for with a parrmender. If you buy a Rollei TLR you are buying a very highly evolved camera that is known to work very nicely indeed. Probably one of the best choices would be a Rollei with a 3.5 Planar lens. The 2 Mutars give some useful flexibility to this camera. It is extremely quiet. It is extremely reliable. The Rolleiflex models have the best film handling available. I have been watching the price on used Rolleis fairly closely. I bought a brand new Rollei TLR with 3.5 Xenotar in 1962 for $225.00 The market on Rollei TLR cameras has steadily risen over the past 30 years. The Minolta and Yashica TLRs also have their fans and are generally more economical to purchase. I used a Minolta Autocord for a period of time and it is a nice camera.

    In my opinion the biggest single draw back to a TLR is lack of DOF preview. I have little regard for the DOF scales on the Mamiya. The Rollei cameras that have DOF scales are really slick.

    HOWEVER, THERE IS NO REAL SUBSTITUTE FOR VIEWING THE IMAGE AT TAKING APERTURE.

    The SLR cameras do not have this draw back. They are louder. They are more mechanically complicated and have more items to breakdown. The only SLR cameras from Japan and West Germany that I would be concerned about the reliability would be the older Bronica cameras predating the S2. The Russian (Ukraine) cameras do not have a good reputation for reliabilty and I would not buy one. As far as optics are concerned I would steer away from the non P series lenses that are available from Bronica with the exception of the 75mm thru 110mm focal lengths...Nikkor lenses strongly excepted.

    You have disregarded the rangefinder cameras that are available for 120 film. If the camera comes with a ground glass back this may be the best choice of all.

    I guess YOU should think about what you are going to do with the camera and tell us so that better advice can be given.
     
  7. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    If you live in or near a large city with a full service camera shop just go in and handel both. With the exception of the Seagull TRLs have not been made in 15 to 20 years so the selection is limited, but I really like my Yaschica 124 and D, lightweight good lens, rugged, very quite(no mirror), easy to hand hold at a 1/30th. I glued a #6 filter adapter to the taking lens of the D for both filters and a lens hood. SLRs are much more versital, better selections of lens, easer to get repaired, you see what you get. And with the exception of the Konomegaflex, all of the TLR are 6X6, with SLRs you have a choice of formats 6X4.5 6X6 6X7 and 6X9. Although Gower made a 4X5 TLR with interchangable lens.
     
  8. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I have, and use, both a TLR and SLR (Mamiya C220 and Pentax 67). Both have interchangeble lenses and lots of options (like a prism finder for the C220). As Claire outlined above, close-ups are very doable on the TLR and certainly very easily done on the P67. For your purposes, landscape and such, having DOF preview is very useful. The other important feature that only an SLR can provide is the easy ability to use a polarizing filter. Still, I love the 220 for its' square format (no need to tilt the tripod head), its' lightness, simple multiple exposure ability, and its' quiet operation. And I love the P67 for its' incredible ruggedness and flexibility and larger negative. Tough choice....good luck!!
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One advantage that a TLR has is that it doesn't have a moving mirror, and most have leaf shutters, so they are quiet and handholdable at lower speeds. For street photography I am more likely to use my Voigtlander Superb TLR than my Bronica S2A.

    Some SLRs have interchangeable backs, which are not usually an option on TLRs.
     
  10. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Hanaa:

    TLRs are great fun! They're relatively simple and generally built like tanks. Waist level viewfinding definitely takes some getting used to, but hey, that's part of the fun! I highly recommend them...

    I've got two Yashicas... a 124G and a D; I've grown fond of them both.

    The 124 can utilize both 120 and 220 film, the D only uses 120, but can do double exposures. The 124 has a light meter (that I don't think I trust) and the D doesn't. I've become inseparable with my Gossen Luna meter. I even check my X700s meter against it; just to be safe.

    The wife is making me "trim the herd' so to speak, so I think the D is going to hit Ebay soon. If your interested PM me...
     
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Hanaa-

    If this Yashica D has the Yashinon lens (not the Yashikor), you might want to consider it. I have one of these with the Yashinon lens and it's a great image maker. It's very quiet, reliable, easy to use, and has a very nice lens. As Joey stated, it won't take 220 film, but 220's becoming rare these days anyway. And if you're just starting out in medium format, you'll want to get the film developed more quickly, so 12 shots will serve you better than 24. You will need a light meter (your 35mm camera will serve this purpose just fine if you don't want to invest in a separate meter).

    I also have a couple of SLRs (a Mamiya RB67 Pro-S and a Bronica S2a) - SLRs give you many options and allow you to see exactly what will appear on the film, but as has been mentioned they're much louder, more complicated mechanically, and generally larger and heavier than TLRs. Although close-ups are not generally easy with a TLR, general photography of the types you mentioned is very easy with a TLR and I would highly recommend one if you feel the limitation of only one lens is a limitation you can live with. If you find that you use your normal (generally 50mm) lens on your 35mm SLR a lot, then having only the lens that's on a fixed-lens TLR shouldn't be a hardship. Personally I find a certain freedom in a camera that only has one lens...the choice of lens I'll use is made for me so I don't have to worry about it.

    Best of luck to you.
    Dave
     
  12. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    The large number of amazing shots made using TLRs by people like Avedon, Penn, and Steve Pyke show that interchangeable lenses and aperture preview aren't everything :smile:


    Rolleinar roolz/
     
  13. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

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    Not having interchangable lenses means that you won't be tempted to carry a huge bag full of gear and extra lenses; you'll just have to make due. I find my Rolleiflex much more portable and speedy to use than say my P67II or Hasselblad.

    Another advantage I like, although you can usually get these for SLRs too, is the waist level viewfinder. When taking portraits it allows me to look the subject in the eye, instead of through the camera. I think that my subjects are usually more relaxed looking into my face than the lens of a camera.

    A disadvantage of a WL finder is that when it's raining it's hard to keep water off the ground glass and out of the camera.
     
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  15. 127

    127 Member

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    The Yashikor isn't actually as bad as it's made out - in fact it's pretty decent.

    The YashiMAR was the original three element lens used on the Yashica tlr's. It has a very bad reputation...

    This was replaced by the YashiKOR. While there's a lot of general advice to avoid these, most people who actually have them recon they're OK. As it's a 3 element lens, I suspect that most of the bad press is a hang over from the YashiMAR.

    The YashiNON is four element, and is accepted as being very good.

    To make matters more complex some 4 element lenses were labeled as YashiKOR (ie they're actually YashiNONs).

    While I totally agree that the YashiNON is the one to go for, the YashiKOR's are worth a look if the price is right.

    Ian

    ps - Totally agree about the fixed lens. If you need a "system" then go SLR, but within it's limitations the TLR is king.
     
  16. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    I picked up the D because the price was right, knowing the cautionary words about the Yashikor lens.

    My experience has been that the the lens is actually better than some of the 35mm zooms that I've owned. My eye doesn't see that much of a difference between the Kor on the D and the Non on the 124.

    I'm still trying to talk the wife into letting me keep it...but lets not go there...
     
  17. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I own a D with a Yashikor lens because that was what I could find at the time, and though I have not compared it with the Yashinon, I have no reason to be dissatisfied with it. Of course you're not talking CZ lens, but I made many a fine picture with it, and appreciate the feel of it. Many support the lack of difference between the 'Kor and the 'Non, so if one wants a difference that matters, better go with a Rollei.
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I will have to assume, given the posts above from owners with good experiences, that I had a dog of a lens when I had a Yashica with a Yashikor lens. The one that I had was visibly soft (especially in the corners, but throughout the image there was a general lack of sharpness), and it was miles behind the Yashinon that I have now. But it seems others have had good results with the Yashikor, so mine was probably just bad luck. Thanks to everyone for the clarification.

    Dave
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would advise you as a first step into medium format to look for a Mamiya C TLR , either a C220 ( simplified budget model, but still capable of excellent results) or a C330F( full spec. model with lever wind and parallax correction ), both cameras take the same lenses. If you buy one with the 80mm standard lens and use it with the lens until you feel the need to add a Wide angle lens (there are two 55 and 65mm) or a telephoto (135mm, 180mm or 250mm ) as the need arises, and funds allow you have the option .
     
  20. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    One thing that is seldom considered when choosing between SLR and TLR is the vantage point. TLR cameras are almost always used at waist level, whether on a tripod or handheld. Most SLRs (not all) are used with a prism finder at closer to eye level. This makes a huge difference in the picture.

    This thread seems to assume 2-1/4 square format for both. With an SLR, you also have a choice of rectangular formats. The 6X7 format also gives you a larger negative. If you want a square picture, you can crop it. Often, people crop the square negatve to give a rectangualr print, which is roughly equivalent of using a 645 camera.

    Coming to terms with the TLR square format and its low perspective can be challenging, but the results can be outstanding. I agree that either the Mamaiya or the Rollei is an outstanding camera. They are available used at very low prices and are great bargins.
     
  21. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    Disregarded in this thread til so far is the mentioning of the Optika or Rittreck camera system: SLR with focal plane shutter, interchangeable backs, waist level finder, image size from 6x4,5 to 6x9, interchangeable lenses, ability to mount barrel lenses if you're handy enough to make your own lensboards. Can be used handheld. The one drawback is that the shortest lens length is 92 or 95 mm - so no wide angle landscape shots - OTOH, this same problem exists with most TLR's that have a fixed lens.

    Other drawback: they don't come up for sale that often, even though last year there must have been approx. 6 or 8 for sale on eBay. You should get a decent one for around $200-300 or a slightly more battered one for $120-150. We're quite happy with ours, as it seems lighter than other medium format SLR's like the Pentax 67. You'll need muscle for that one to work with it handheld. Another thing: It'll sure make you stand out in the crowds with their hassy's and rollei's. :wink:

    If you want more info on this camera, send a pm!

    Good luck. The first step is the hardest. Allow yourself some room for trial and error as well. Chances are you'll end up with a couple of different mf cameras, each with it's own pro and cons. I know very few people who own only one type of mf cam these days, with the prices falling every year. Indeed, it is amazing to see the price drop in the mamiya 645 and the mamiya 67 series. Sometimes they're cheaper than a new Kiev.
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Some good points Enworth, the "waist level finder" takes some getting used to after using an SLR , but in practice if used with your eye up to the flip up focus magnifier, and cradle the camera in both hands as I do, the camera
    is at chest level, and you can get prism finders for the mamiya C 330F and C330 S and Rollei cameras, although they are heavy they do give you an image that is the right way round not" laterally reversed"as on the WLF that takes a little getting used to on all waist level finders, wether SLR or TLR, but it's a trade off between convenience and image quality that in my experience is very worthwhile making.
     
  23. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Although outside the parameters of this discussion, a nice folder, with or without a rangefinder, would seem to be a viable alternative...
     
  24. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    One reason for me getting a new SLR was to get a WLF. I find them much nicer to use for many things. The option of switching to a prism is also nice for some things. For me the range of options in affordable SLRs version affordable TLRs is a big issue. With a system SLR it's almost possible to build a dream camera. Add what you want and leave out what you don't want.
     
  25. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    It depends on your definition of affordable.

    $50.-75.00 for a TLR was a lot more palatable to me than the $250.+ for a used SLR (you're talking new) when I was looking to get into MF. Especially if I wasn't sure that I would take to the format.
     
  26. Scott Edwards

    Scott Edwards Member

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    The Mamiya 105mm lens has DOF preview for use on their TLR cameras, it doesn't get a lot of press because the 80mm is a better lens. For landscape work, put the 55mm on (aperture f22), focus on something close and fire away. Everything is in focus, and mighty sharp too.