My TLRs keep dying on me

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by mooseontheloose, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I have five TLRs, various Minolta Autocords and Yashica Mats. My first love was the Autocord, which unfortunately had to be put aside after the focus lever no longer focused. So I started buying other cheap TLRs to replace it (since I was a student and had limited funds) but after a few months or so the shutter would not work, or only sometimes work, or the film advance would die, or whatever. And I just bought another, rather than pay to have them fixed. However, this past summer I bit the bullet and finally got my first love overhauled and fixed since none of the replacements have felt as good, or had as nice a lens as the original. That was four months ago...and now it's died (the little shutter speed lever has broken, shutter speeds sound completely off). So now I'm in the position (provided I get enough teaching hours in the coming semester) of having to replace that camera (so it can join the four others on my shelf collecting dust) and I'm debating what to do and would like some advice.

    I love the square and want to stick with it -- if I want to go bigger or rectangular I have my Crown Graphic for that. I also love the portability of the TLR -- it's not any heavier than my manual nikons which means it gets used a lot. That being said, I've had my eye on the Bronica SQ Ai system since it seems to offer what I want at a price I can afford. BUT...I'm worried about weight (especially for travel) and handholding abilities (I do use a tripod on occasion but I really am a more spontaneous shooter than that for the most part) -- I'm not able to rent a system here, or even look at one, to check it out.

    What I'd really like some advice on, is whether I should invest in another TLR system (a good Rollei or Mamiya), or go for the Bronica. I'd like to hear from users who made the switch from a TLR to SLR system and their thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
     
  2. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Why didn't you just have the autocord repaired? I know it would be the second time, but maybe it would be the last. :smile:


    Mike
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    autocord

    just had mine repaired here...and the turnaround was less than a week
    Camera Repair Service
    433 market st.
    Pittsburgh, Pa.15222
    412-261-5225
    Best for the new year and get it fixed!!
    Peter
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Things wear out. With the Autocord, the next thing to go shall probably be the focussing helicoid. If you have more than one Autocord, consider having a repair person see about cannibalizing all the best parts for a rebuild of the best body.
     
  5. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    One thing I learned is that I'd rather buy a good camera than waste time buying some piece of crap I'll wish I hadn't bought and just bought the good one the first time.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Mamiya C330 or C220.

    My C330 has had one CLA since 1976 or so (bought new, with the 80mm lens, although it was a camera store demonstrator).

    My C220? Saw it at Kerrisdale cameras a couple of years ago, and whined enough that my wife and friends went together and spent $140 to buy it for me as a birthday present.

    The other lenses were all bought used (pre Ebay), and range from heavily used (the 55mm) to pristine looking (the 135mm). They were all CLAd a couple of years ago, but otherwise haven't needed service.

    Matt
     
  7. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    I second the Mamiya's. A C330 is entirely affordable and will take a licking and keep on ticking :tongue:
     
  8. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    What you want is a Rolleiflex. The Rollei copies and the Rollei cord will not have the longevity of the Rolleiflex. Get yourself a 3.5F and have it overhauled by a reputable Rollei repairman and you will have a camera that will last longer than you.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I can't agree with that. The Rolleicord has all the build quality of the Rolleiflex but is simpler. Therefore there is less to go wrong such as the interlink between the wind on lever and the shutter cocking mechanism.


    Steve.
     
  10. Ian Tindale

    Ian Tindale Member

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    Gah! It's taken me several months to log back in successfully no matter how I tried - password problems.

    I've moved from TLR to SLR and am happy for it. My Mamiya C330 is broken and old, my Bronica ETRSi (now in my possession for one year) with 75mm PE lens and (for some reason, a pair of:smile: 150mm MC lenses completely and utterly beat the results I was used to getting with the Mamiyas. The C330 simply sits in the attic now, a failed and broken relic. To me, an SLR just makes a lot more sense - and that's from a long time TLR user.
     
  11. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Not according to the repairmen I have talked to. The cord is an economy model and wont hold up to the same amount of use. But that is something I have to take other's word for as I have never owned one or taken one apart. Over in the Rollei Users Group where a lot of people have worked on them they say the cord and Yashica are similar quality.
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I wouldn't disagree with anything said above, but it is important to remember that they filled the amateur niche, not a professional niche in the Rollei product line. With that in mind, it remains a fine and reliable camera for an advanced amateur to consider. I'm assuming that the OP is not using the TLR for professional purposes.

    I bought a "low mileage" Rolleicord Vb in the mid-1980s, had it overhauled once in the late 1980's and it was my favorite travelling camera until about 2003 when I "retired" it. I even used it for several months in military helicopters and airfield operations to document operations. Never once did it let me down... and I'm sure if I poulled it out of hte closet today it would continue being a star performer.
     
  13. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Rachelle

    It depends on what you shoot. I have a Bronica SQa that I've had for years. It's a great outfit. I also have two Rolleiflexes. Totally different camera for different use. With the Bronica you get the advantage of interchangable lenses, film backs and finders. With the Rolleiflex, what you have is what you get.
     
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  15. Windscale

    Windscale Member

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    I will definitely recommend a Rolleiflex. I personaly prefer the f3.5 models. Fine if you can afford a Planar or Xenotar. But even a Tessar is hard to beat. And Tessars are quite a bit cheaper and most models are slightly lighter than the P or X models. Any of the above would make a good workhorse for life.
     
  16. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for the responses so far. Just a few comments:

    One thing I learned is that I'd rather buy a good camera than waste time buying some piece of crap I'll wish I hadn't bought and just bought the good one the first time

    Well, I certainly don't consider the Autocord a piece of crap, and I have absolutely no regrets about buying it. And, I'm reluctant to pay the kind of money that Rolleiflexes command (for a good one) when I can buy into a bigger system with the same kind of money. Also, as mentioned, in the past, it was a lot easier to come up with $100 for a TLR than 10x that for a better MF system.

    I'm assuming that the OP is not using the TLR for professional purposes.

    Absolutely true. Which is why I shoot with a TLR in the first place (although it's not my primary camera). A couple of votes for the Mamiya, a couple for moving to a SLR system...I just don't know! I guess I just have to determine whether or not the limitations of a TLR are really hindering my photography, and if moving to a bigger system will 'fix' the problems I perceive to have with the TLR.
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    It's only worth it if you want to use a variety of lenses (although the Mamiya TLR offers an alternative there). "Piece of cr@p" is a subjective assessement. Some would call the Rolleicord a "POC" compared to a 'flex but I've produced some decent pics to disprove that. Maybe some of them are... but generally that is because some folks buy a old, cheap camera and can't invest in bringing it back into servicable condition. For me the ability to get accessories, servicing, and repair parts has been part of my definition of desireable vs undesireable for any type of older camera choice.
     
  18. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    The Autocord is a fine camera that is generally worth fixing. Perhaps you should try a different repair shop.
     
  19. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    I'd have to agree with dpurdy and go for a Rollieflex. My 3.5F is over 40 years old and only recently needed a service due to having been bounced, not by me I might add, and is now as good as new. I have used it for professional wedding and commercial work during this time without any problems and is first choice tool for weddings. The Planar lens is superb. I also have a Hasselblad 500C/M and lenses which I love dearly, but it isn't a light and portable as the Rollei. If you don't need interchangeable lenses stick with the TLR. SLR's are great, but they make you buy things, or create a desire for other lenses, tubes, magazines etc. which you do not need. Although it's a long time since I've handled a Mamiya TLR, I seem to recall they were heavier and bulkier that the Rollei/Yashica/Minolta models and IMHO you might as well go SLR as choose that option. You will not surpass the reliability and performance of a Rolleiflex TLR.
     
  20. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    A final thought, Loose-Moose; and I express it at the risk of being hooted off the board. Some years back, I purchased a Ukrainian Hasselbladski--a Kiev 88, to see if I liked the feel of that kind of camera before sinking the golden grickles into a real "Blad.
    I kind of like the feel; and thus far have not sprung for the real thing. Despite all the criticism about reliability, this thing has just plugged along every time I choose to take it out to play. I did eventually have to have the aperture blades on the prime lens cleaned, but the whole outfit cost me 255 dollars and change about ten years ago, which included a metered prism. Perhaps I will have to get the Blad someday, after I dispose of other medium format equipment I use less and less now--a Yahica 635 and a Yash 12; and a Pentax 6x7Also, I must admit, I also kind of like the anti-snobbery of my proletarian Swedish lookalike. Now, back to my Argoflex!.
     
  21. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have watched used camera prices for over 40 years. Rollei and Leica cameras seem to be the leaders in holding their value. I too would recommend a Rollei 3.5F with the Planar lens. Their is a very good chance that you will never need to have it serviced.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    HOOT, Hoot, hoot! :D
     
  23. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    *******
    I wuld behang mah haid in shame, 'ceptin I doan wanna drop no kamera from da nek. Guess I shuda nevurav solt dat Rollyflex 2.8, with al dem 'sessories. Or guv way dem Rollypollychorts, neithur.:rolleyes:
     
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I had a Mamiyaflex C-330. Sank lots of money in it to have it CLAed. It kept acting up. Sank the golden grickles into a real "Blad and never regretted going the distance.

    Steve
     
  25. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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