Help, Santa's coming and my wife wants a TLR.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Woolliscroft, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    My wife has just announced that she wants a TLR for Christmas. Why, I am not sure: we already have an RB67 SLR, but who am I to argue. She says she wants a relatively (but not too) cheap, "toe in the water" type but, and this seems to be the difficult bit, she wants a microprism spot or split prism in the finder as she has trouble focusing on ground glass even with a magnifier. I know zip about TLRs. I borrowed a Roliflex once about 20 years ago and that's it. The only thing I can find that seems to fit the bill is the Seagull 4A-109, but I have never actually set eyes on one. I have heard tell that the brand is not often highly thought of, but the 109 at least seems to have a halfway decent 4 element lens. Does anyone know it they are any good, or if anything else has the right sort of finder? I don't think she'd mind 2nd hand (most of our cameras came that way), so are there any older models with at least interchangable screens to give the option of her sort of finder, which might get more bang for the buck (or in our case pound)?

    David.
     
  2. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I like the Mamiyas for their price and versatility.
     
  3. CZeni

    CZeni Member

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    Tell Santa to look for a Rolleicord Va or Vb, or a Rolleiflex from the 1950s that's had a recent service. I have a circa 1951 'flex MX Automat that fit that description - cost me $250 and it works superbly...takes great images with the 80/3.5 Schneider Xenotar lens. I did refit it with a Maxwell screen to get the microprism focus as the original ground glass was fairly dim. Another choice is a Minoltaflex or a Ricohflex, both contemporaries to the Rollei.

    And for the 'lunatic fringe' of twin lens cameras, try to find a clean Koni Omegaflex... http://www.peterlanczak.de/koniflex.htm

     
  4. photomc

    photomc Member

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    My vote would be for one of the Yahicamat 124's - and the lens is better than would be expected. The 124 can go for much less than the more recent 124G's.
     
  5. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Add my vote for the Yashica. The straight 124 was probably the best followed by the Mat. I still have the LM my parents bought in 1958 and it works just fine. There were many models of the Yashica TLR so do a Google search and find a website or two that explains what each model was.
     
  6. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    I too think the Mamiya TLRS are a good deal. I've only used them a couple of times, but they handled nicely. I had an unpleasant experience with a Yashica... but I think it was due to the specific camera I was using, especially since I've heard a lot of good reviews about those. -Grant
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My first (and so far only) TLR was a Lubitel 166U. It convinced me I liked MF, and that I wanted a proper camera. Then I swapped it for a glass of beer, which I consider a good trade...
     
  8. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    My first step into MF was with a Yashicamat LM and it's great. Easy to use, quiet, and the lens quality was surprisingly good considering what I'd read about it previously.

    You could do worse.
     
  9. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    The Mamiya C330 series has a lot of features, various lenses are available from 55mm to 250mm, lots of acessories are still available pretty cheap and they are out there in many places. With the other great TLR's out there, this could be a tough choice to make.
     
  10. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    I'm pretty happy with my Mat 124 G. It does well enough that I can wait a little longer for the prices on the Hassies to drop still lower... :wink:

    Bruce
     
  11. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    I'd go for the Mamiya C330 (or C220) cameras. Loads on ebay, loads of accessories and, assuming your missus wants to dip more than a toe in, there are interchangeable lenses to boot. Regards, BLIGHTY.
     
  12. mfobrien

    mfobrien Member

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    I have a Rolleiflex 3.5 MX that I picked up at a swap a few years ago for $75...a bit rough on the leather, but optically and mechanically it is perfect. I have a Czech-made Meopta Flexaret VI TLR -- it too, works wonderfully and I paid less than $40 for it. Those are my two main TLRs --the others I have are just things I collect and shoot with once in a while. The mamyia C220 and 330 cameras are very nice, and have various lenses available making them quite attractive. However, the Rollei is more "compact."
     
  13. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    The Yashica and Yashica-mat 124s are almost legend for being good buys, and the top end Seagulls are supposed to be pretty good, although I've not used one. The Mamiya C220s and C330s, while good, are large, klunky and heavy.

    My suggestion would be that even though she says she wants a "a relatively (but not too) cheap, 'toe in the water' type", she'd likely be pleased with being "pampered" with a nice Rolliecord or Rollieflex. Plus, you're almost assured of getting all of your investment out of it, should she not like the TLR experience.

    Never believe exactly what a lady says, if it's humanly (or superhumanly) possible to do better. :wink:
     
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  15. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Another nice Yashica is the Yashica 12, which I have. It is made for 120 film only, but that shouldn't matter.
     
  16. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    I'll cast my vote for the Yashica Mat. I had a 124G and enjoyed using it very much. Sold it to get a Fuji GW670II, wish I could have afforded to keep the Yashica along with the Fuji. It really is a fun camera that gives better than expected results.

    gene
     
  17. Brac

    Brac Member

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    You would do best to avoid the Seagulls which unfortunately do have a very bad record for quality control (or lack of it, to be accurate). There is a new model out and whether that is any better I don't know but for the price of it you could by careful searching around pick up two Yashicas or Flexarets or Autocords etc which if well maintained are likely to more reliable than a new Seagull. Personally I like the Mamiyas,as discussed in another thread recently, but I concede they are heavy but that makes them very easy to hold steady even at slow shutter speeds.

    I have just discovered the joys of ebay and suggest that is a good starting point for any search. There is one frequent vendor in Slovakia who is always offering Flexarets which he does a CLA on and they go for very reasonable prices, around US $60-80 plus carriage. So I have just taken the plunge and successfully bid for one - delivery is imminent and awaited with interest!

    Best of luck!
     
  18. Stephen J. Collier

    Stephen J. Collier Member

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    I've tried buying cameras for my wife before and she always managed to see through the ploy. For some odd reason she seemed to think that if I bought a camera for her then I would end up using it the most. Weird.

    Count yourself lucky that your wife requested the camera.
     
  19. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Brac,
    I take it you bought from Cupog? Let us know how his flexarets work, when you get it. They sound like good & inexpensive alternatives to 6x6...
     
  20. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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  21. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    No way, I am much too fond of SLRs and never really saw the point of TLRs (sorry everyone). Now if she'd asked for a Hassy, you might have a point :smile:
    Really, though, she takes even more pictures than me, mostly for work.

    David.
     
  22. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Ralph!!!
    I am shocked that you would think this! :tongue: Women just get no respect! :D
    Go buy her a Rollei and get her a case of film too...and maybe some filters... and a Gucci bag to carry it in would be nice.... (hey...stocking stuffers). :wink:
     
  23. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Well, we have a freezer full of film. I've been looking at Rolleis, but is there a split prism finder for them? A Gucci bag on a nice muddy archaeological site. Yep, that should work :smile:

    David.
     
  24. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'I've been looking at Rolleis, but is there a split prism finder for them?'

    Yes, there's a split prism screen (or two). My personal feeling is that a good Rolleiflex is the sort of gift that could be cherished 'forever', if that means anything. It's not something that she would ever need to trade up from. Next you can buy her the wide, then the tele - unless she'd prefer the tele first, then the wide, of course. Cameras with soul, if ever a machine could have a soul. So gentle, so quiet.

    As she's an archeologist she might like the panorama head as a stocking filler. Not just any panoramic head: it centres the front nodal point of the lens over the axis of rotation.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  25. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Thanks for the chuckle at my quip, Jeanette. Aren't we men expected to know that we demonstrate the depth of our love for our women by exceeding their stated expectations? :wink:
     
  26. Brac

    Brac Member

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    Yes you're right. I will report back but it's not arrived yet.