Looking for a good TLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by EASmithV, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I love large format, but I'm looking for a good medium format camera where a 4x5 handheld would be inappropriate. The camera can be a bit heavy and big, so long as it is good for portraits as well as still life and landscapes. A built in meter is not necessary, but if it has one, I don't mind, so long as it works. I know Rolleiflexes are the cream of the crop, but I'm looking for something that is in less demand. Basically, a beater MF camera that I can lug around and not worry too much about. I love shooting wide open, so it has to perform decently in that regard. Ideally, it should be less than $300.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I'm loving my Mamiya C33. You should be able to get any of the Mamiya TLR's for under $300....
     
  3. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    I am loving my Yashica D. You can buy one for a really decent price, and performance is good. Wide open the pictures are OK for me, but I am not a person who values corner to corner sharpness. So it might be a deal breaker for you (I have the older version of the lens). Plus film advancing and shutter cocking are 2 separate actions, so it's easier to do multiple exposures if your into that. Plus it's light too. :smile:
     
  4. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    If you don't mind the size and weight, then I think that one of the Mamiyas (C220, C330, etc) is going to be your best bet. Definitely under $300; the Mamiya's take interchangeable lenses too, most of which are highly regarded and cost around ~$100 each.
     
  5. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    One of the later Yashicas - either a 124 or a 124G - should be well under $300. Later lens type (Yashinon), film advance and shutter cocking exactly the same as a Rollei (crank forwards and then backwards half a turn), less weight and bulk than a Rollei and a lot less than a Mamiya, 1980s build so shouldn't be too worn, capable of taking 220 film if you can get any.

    Two things to watch out for with most Yashica TLRs: the self timer is a bit fragile and can jam the whole shutter, so best to avoid using it, and in all models except the end-of-the-line 124G you can sometimes get flare from reflections inside the film chamber. The 124G has light baffles in the chamber. In all other models you can minimise the risk of flare by painting matt black inside the chamber.
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I enjoy my Tower Reflex with its Nikon lens, but have been disappointed by the missing features that allow me to make mistakes. (I only complain because last two rolls I lost a couple frames by not "resetting" the film counter).

    Which ones have these professional features that would reduce the chance of error: Automatic frame counter reset, double-exposure prevention/auto cocking shutter.
     
  7. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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  8. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    I love the Mamiya c330's, I have 2 of them. But you might want to also consider a Bronica SQ series 6x6. There's one on ebay now for $375. If I didn't have so much 6x6 gear now, I'd probably buy it myself.
    Cheers!
     
  9. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Given that you have a LF camera you use when you can deal with something bigger and slower, I'd consider a smaller TLR. Something like a late Rolleicord (IV or V) or Autocord would be worth checking out. The Yashicas are definitely nice but may be a touch more prone to long term maintenance problems if the winding/advance isn't treated nicely. The Mamiya C2/C3 series is nice and the only option with interchangeable lenses but they are a fair amount larger than the smaller TLRs out there.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I also recommend Mamiya TLR. Look up KEH.

    Jeff
     
  11. edge-t

    edge-t Member

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    Minolta Autocord or Mamiya C330 with 80mm f2.8. Both are pretty sharp. The Mamiya isn't light though.
     
  12. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I used to carry Yashica TLR's my favorite is the D, for multi exposure capability. I've also had a Yashmat LM, which has the wind and shuttercock all in one(no multi exp), loved both cameras. I now carry Mamiya C-220 and C-330, with 55, 65, 80 and 135mm lenses and a couple of different viewers. These are heavy brutes of cameras, but tack sharp lenses that can compete with the best optics anywhere. The only thing I truely miss with the Yash's is the light weight, and the memories from my early days in photography.
     
  13. nosmok

    nosmok Subscriber

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    +1 on the Yashicamat. I bought an old beater one I'm busily beating more. it's become my go-to camera. Shooting 50asa Fujichrome you can fall into the images. Ricoh Diacord takes a great picture too, but operation much more fiddly.
     
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  15. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    I have Mamiya C22 and C330 TLRs and like both. The C22 seems heavier and is very simple to use. The C330 seems somewhat more fragile/fussy as with the film advance/cocking mechanism.
    You can also get a Porro viewfinder that has a built-in meter. I only occasionally use mine rather than a hand-held meter.
     
  16. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    my vote is for a rolleicord. I love mine. I have a III by the way.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've got two extremes in TLRs - A Rollei 2.8 E and a Graflex 22. The Graflex is a great knockaround camera with a halfway decent lens on it, but the shutter is limiting and it's a red-window film advance, so your spacing is never consistent, and there's no double-exposure prevention. Which is why I went to the Rollei - it has the most accurate and consistent film advance mechanism I've ever seen. I'd say look around for a beater Rollei 3.5 E - I found my 2.8 on Ebay for $500, so you should be able to score a 3.5 for close to your budget.
     
  18. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    TLRs are a great complement to 4x5 shooting. With a good film like tmy2, you can nearly get 4x5 results if it's not to be enlarged too much. It'll be better than 35mm for sure, and better than a lot of digital stuff.

    You should be able to get a rolleicord or tessar equipped rolleiflex (automat) for your budget. I like my 75/3.5 rolleiflex. The Yashicas are good as mentioned. Lots of choices here. I have a Yashica-C which is pretty low end compared to some of the others, but I like it a lot. Unless you can test it before buying, you may want to set aside some of the budget for servicing the camera as well.
     
  19. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I have a Rolleiflex to sell -- Serial No 1,276,291 Should be a 3.5A (Automat Model 4) -- it has a Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 75/3.5 (with a red "T" on the lenses -- multicoated) made in the early 1950's, I believe.

    Good to very good condition (with case in good condition, except I would no longer trust the strap) -- the only problem is the the "B" setting does not work. Can be repaired when you send it in for an eventual CLA.

    $150 plus shipping.

    Vaughn
     
  20. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    If you hard press for a TLR while not look up KEH.

    Jeff
     
  21. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Just for fun, I did -- the cheapest Rolleiflexes were well over two hundred dollars and non-operative or shutters times off.
     
  22. Velander

    Velander Member

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    I just inherited a camera collection and I don't know what I'm going to do with them. Maybe one of them would work for you. You can see them by doing a Google search for "Larry's Camera Collection", or you can just visit my home page under my profile.
     
  23. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    EAS, "The camera can be a bit heavy and big, so long as it is good for portraits as well as still life and landscapes."


    Portraits...Still Life's...and Landscapes?
    Sounds like a bellows focusing, Mamiya TLR, with inter-changeable lenses is your answer.
    Three lenses would be a nice kit, but would cost more than $300. Probably well north of $450.

    Portraits: Get the fantastic 180mm Super. Second choice, (coin toss). I'd go with the 105mm-D/DS over the 135mm.
    Street and Still Life's: The standard 80mm, great with the close focusing bellows (for still life's) and/or a short tele above.
    Landscapes: The 65mm (cheaper), or 55mm (expensive), and of course, the standard 80mm, the fastest lens at f:2.8.
    Body: Go for a later C-220 or C-330 (denoted by 120/220 capability internally), or a C-330F.
    Lenses: Try to get the later Black vs earlier Chrome, (shutter surround). Black, Blue-Dot (shutter lever), preferred.

    So, the full-meal-deal, ($550) three lens kit would be the 55, 80, and 180-Super, w/C-330F body.
    Least expensive, ($375) but still very capable would be the 65, 80, and 135, w/C-220 or maybe a C-330 body.

    Just my two cents. Prices may vary. Patience!

    Marc
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2011
  24. snederhiser

    snederhiser Member

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    Hello;
    My vote would be a Mamiya TLR with interchangeable lenses. During my high school days I took pictures for the paper, the reason the photography class existed. They would always stick me with a 4 X 5 Speed Graphic, RH10 (roll film back), and a Metz 502 with battery pack. Many great pictures of Football, Basketball, and general interest were shot. Why not spend the money on updating the Graflex instead of investing into another system? Different masks for the viewfinder can be had or made and a plexiglass insert made with lines for the wire frame finder. Just my two cents, Steven.
     
  25. pedrosimao

    pedrosimao Member

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    I've got a Mamiya C330 Pro F with the 55mm, the 80mm and the 180mm lenses, a Rolleiflex 3.5F (with lightmeter, but having no battery it's only exact under sunlight) and a Halma 44 (size 127 film)
    I strongly recommend the Mamiya system: it's the best TLR system by far, and the 80mm f2.8 lens is superb. I travel anywhere with it, and it's great
     
  26. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    My fist choice would be either Rolleiflex T (I had one and loved it, payed 200€ for good condition few years ago) or Minolta Autocord (which has VERY good reputation among users) with Citizen shutter. The Tessar lens of the Rolleiflex T was reasonably sharp wide open in the center (well, it is a tessar) and got very sharp across the field at about f/8. To get better sharpness wide open you would need a planar in the Rolleiflex D, E, F models, but even the older f/3.5 versions are well above $300.