Need advice on buying a TLR.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by edmyloo, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. edmyloo

    edmyloo Member

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    TLR's seem like the best "bang for buck" entry into medium format. Right now I've kinda decided on a Yashicamat (specifically a 12 or 24). The camera will probably be mainly used for landscapes and portraits. What should I be looking for when buying a used Yashicamat (I'm not too sure about prices either)? And are there any problems I should be looking for if I find a local deal? And also are there any better alternatives for landscapes and portraits that cost under $100?
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would suggest that if you can afford it, you buy a Rolleiflex, if not a Rolleicord.
     
  3. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    I have a yashica D and I am very happy with it. :smile: easy to do multiple exposures, fairly small (for me), and it works like a charm and you can buy them for a very nice price.
     
  4. edmyloo

    edmyloo Member

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    Rollei's are quite expensive. I do know the glass is just on a whole nother world, but it's not within my budget for an entry into MF. Also, if I grab a 24, does anyone know where I can buy 220 film? All I can find from the big retailers is Portra. I'd like maybe some Velvia, HP5, or Ektachrome, but I can't seem to find it at the bigger retailers.
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    When buying used, you should figure the possibilty of needing service. If the $100 is your total budget, you might want to look at other alternatives. The Yashica TLR is probaly a good choice other than that. Good Luck.
     
  6. edmyloo

    edmyloo Member

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    Are there any tell-tale signs whether it needs service or not? I've used one a few times, but I'm obviously not too knowledgeable about the mechanics or anything.
     
  7. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Rolleicord, hands down. And most older TLRs could use a servicing/CLA to perform their best. Harry Fleenor the best for that but not cheap.
     
  8. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    you can run 120 in a 24 with no problems at all--I have a stock 24 that has a marking for 220 and one for 120 the only difference is that at the end of a 120 roll you have to click click click click instaed of the auto winding...I think the 24's come with one sticker that says "use 220 film only" and a red marking for 220 start point and another (about 1inch away) sticker that says "for 120 use".

    a lot of people will say that the 120/220 pressure plate is different--there is no difference--the film still gets held against the same frame in the front, so the film to lens distance is always the same no matter what the pressure plate does--the only reason you move the pressure plate in a 124 say is so the COUNTER knows to stop counting after 12 so you don't have to click click click. I have both a 24 and a 124g--both function identically except for the counter/automatic winding without clicking at the end of 12 shots.
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Yashica TLRs were made with a few different lenses. The Yashinon is generally considered the best of the Yashica TLR lenses, but differences may be minor. The big thing to verify the condition/accuracy of the shutter. Leaf shutters (as in most, if not all, TLRs) like to be exercised on occasion. Make sure the little focus magnifier pops up properly and stays up. Make sure the focus distance as shown on the focus knob is close to the distance to the object you're focusing on. Finally, make sure the film winds correctly and does not overlap. All this applies to any TLR, with the exception of the Yashinon lens.

    $100 is optimistic for a Yashica in good condition, but you might get lucky.
     
  10. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Although I'm just another guy with an opinion, you might watch for a Super Ricohflex and use the extra $50 to $60 left in your budget to buy film. You will have no disappointments. An amazing bargain. Bill Barber
     
  11. edmyloo

    edmyloo Member

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    I'm gonna take a look at a Yashica-24 tomorrow. He offered $45, so I guess it sounds like a good price. Is there anyway I can verify the accuracy of the shutter on spot when I'm taking a look at it?
    And everyone seems to be recommending Rolleis. Can you get a Rollei for $100?


    And thanks! If I choose to pick i up tomorrow, I'll be sure to keep this in mind.


    How do the Super Ricohflexs compare in price and in performance? An extra 50 bucks for film would be pretty helpful. Film is pretty expensive.. x.x
     
  12. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Bring a watch with a second hand (or digital with a readout) so you can see if 1 second is on or not. The shorter speeds are evaluated by just seeing and hearing (to the best of your ability) if they seem 1/2 the duration of the next longer speed. 1/500, if it's close to accurate, is almost impossible to see when looking at the shutter through the front of the lens. Many cameras' shutter are really slow once you get down lower than 1/15; the question is whether you'll ever even use those speeds. However, if they're off, it's an indication the whole shutter will need cleaning at some point.
     
  13. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you're going in person, waste a roll of film through it. Just to make sure it can wind/advance properly. Once it's done with the film, fire it with the back open looking through the taking lens to see that it's shutter is working right. The main problems you are apt to have is shutter being off / unreliable, film winding not working right, and physical lens damage such as scratches or fungus damage.

    If you get a good working yashica for $45, excellent. I had someone give me a yashica-C, then I spent $100 on a CLA to make it work like new, and have shot a bunch of really nice photos with it despite it not having the most desirable lens option. Still a good deal in my book.

    A cheap rolleiflex would be the automats with the 75mm tessar f3.5 lens. I bought one for $200 and it's excellent. The big money rolleiflexes have mostly planar lenses.
     
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  15. edmyloo

    edmyloo Member

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    There is a thin scratch I can see on the taking lens, but it doesn't look like a big deal. I only have rolls of 120 film I can run through it, no 220. x.x Do you think that would work fine? And I'll bring a timer or something, so I can test the shutter to the best of my ability. He did say he's used it and has good prints from it, so it sounds like it's working fine, but I guess it never hurts to test it. And 200 bucks is a bit out of my price range. x.x Maybe if I shoot it for a while and really like it, I wouldn't hesitate to invest more.
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I've never used 220, so take other's advice on film choice. A tiny thin scratch you can't be too picky about for $45. I wouldn't bother to time the shutter, I'd just see that it's consistent with repeated firings, and works OK at the slower speeds.
     
  17. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Wait and save money for something good

    If you are in Australia I have a Meopta Flexarette V you can borrow for the cost of postage - This would get you used to the format and the Beliar is a reasonable four elephant lens

    I think Flexarettes go for about Au$60 in Australia, they have a microscope substage type quadrant focus which is actually OK to use - Mine was a birthday present which is sitting on my office shelf, I would rather see it used than gather dust

    John
     
  18. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    $45 for the Yashica sounds like a winner of a deal unless something is really badly wrong. To me, a bad 1-second speed wouldn't be an issue as long as B was working.

    Those Super Ricohflexes someone else posted about look interesting. Are the lenses 3 elements or 4?

    -NT
     
  19. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    $45 for a Yashica is a great deal. I have 4 myself -- bought pretty cheaply, but not as a cheap as that! Like others, I would recommend running a roll of film (slide film preferably) through it, going through each shutter speed/f-stop combination. You should be able to cover all speeds on one roll of film. In all likelihood the slower speeds may be a little off, but not by much. I wouldn't worry about the scratch, although if you can find a lens hood (any brand) to cover the taking lens that should help you against any flare.
     
  20. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    The Yashica's are fairly robust cameras if you don't beat them up. I bought a Yashica D from a wedding photographer 34 years ago. He had used it since new as a daily shooter. It has never been serviced and still has accurate shutter speeds and winding with no overlap. It seems that the most important thing is to use it or at least exercise the shutter on a regular basis. Cameras that just sit around or have been stored for long periods tend to have problems with the slow speeds most of the time.
     
  21. BobD

    BobD Member

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    No, it won't work fine with 120 film. It will work somewhat but it's made for 220 film which is twice as long and half as thick.

    Forget the timer. You can test the shutter well enough by setting at 1 second and releasing it and counting "one one thousand."

    What you should bring is a small flashlight. Set aperture to widest setting and shutter to "B." Open the back, and shine the light through the lens while the shutter is held open. If there is fungus or haze in the lens, forget it (unless you want to fix it yourself. If just some dust specks, it's OK.

    But, I really don't think buying a Yashica 24 is a good idea for a newbie. Almost any other 120 film Yashica TLR would do much better IMO.
     
  22. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    As johnelvis said, 120 is no problem. The scratch should be no problem but if it bothers you fill it in with some black paint and a fine tipped brush. Light rays bend around either one but the scratch May introduce flare under some(not all) conditions.

    $50 is an excellent price if the shutter is consistant. When you check the slow speeds there should be no hesitation just a steady zzzzp.
    (hope I spelled that right) :smile:
     
  23. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Generally issues with leaf shutters are most noticeable at slow speeds, so BobD's suggestion of testing by ear is usually OK. If the Yashica 24 will work with 120 film, it's hard to go too far wrong for $45. As you say, it's a way to test whether you like the format. Definitely look for haze or separation, but don't be too concerned about small scratches or coating marks.

    If you were ready to invest $200, I'd say save the $45 and get a good Yashicamat 124 or Rolleicord. But even then, for $200, you're unlikely to get one that's recently serviced.

    But be realistic. You're talking about a camera that is probably 40 years old.
     
  24. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    PICS---of the 120 loading mark

    now here's the pics of my 24--check the pics--the one shows the one sticker that says (220 only) under the pressure plate.
    notice above that how there's a red dot and above that around the film path is a red arrow (blurry)
    if we look at those closely, you'll see that the 220 start mark is in metal red on the camera and the 120 start mark is a sticker (like the "220 only" sticker--from metal I think but stock on like a sticker)

    you'll see that the proper arrow for the 120 start mark is about 3/4" from the feed spool roller--so if your camera doesn't have it, just spot the film about there and you're sure to get problem free 12 shots.

    if you spot the 120 film at the 220 mark (in metal) then you will have your last frame cut in half.

    I've never shot 220 in mine and have done about 50 or so rolls of 120 with no problems at all.

    my 120 manual (email me--if I can find the pdf I'll email it to you) states that it takes 120 film and has a photo of the metal sticker.

    when I got mine, the 220 only sticker was loose and rattling around in there, so what probably happened to almost all of these is that the stickers came off and disappeared. People tried 120 and got the last frame cut off so they thought there was a problem.

    120= no problem. email me at johnielvis@aol.com and if I can find the pdf (I think I got it from butkus.org but can't be sure) I'll email it back.

    check the pics HOPEFULLY before you buy.

    scratch on lens = ok...but if the shutter is slow too, offer less. I paid 35 for mine and it's like perfect...got super lucky.

    SEE PICS

    OH...notice in the one pic how I "flocked" the inside with black linen tape--it's not as good as flocking material but it HAS cut down on the flare reflections inside considerably. This camera ROCKS with the close up attachments--bay 1 rolleiners.
     

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  25. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    I have a Yashica, Minolta Autocord and a Rolleiflex tlr. For starting out, I think you should consider getting a Yashica, unless you can get lucky and get one of the others for a good price. Try to get one of the earlier Yashicas with the Yashinon lens. The later Yashica 124Gs are nice but they are over-priced in my opinion. See if you can get a deal on an early Yashica 124, Yashica D, LM, etc.

    Ricoh made some very nice tlrs as well.


    If you get a Yashica, consider flocking the film box to reduce flaring. One some models the film box does not absorb light properly leading to annoying flare. Flocking is quite easy to do.

    I have a Yashica 24 like johnielvis and also have had no problems in terms of sharpness using 120 in a camera that is supposed to use only 220.

    Good luck.
     
  26. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    Now if you had of asked for rangefinder advice, most would suggest Leica,an SLR? most would suggest a Nikon and so it goes with TLR most will suggest Rollie.
    Look, there are some fantastic photos in the gallery taken with a Seagull TLR. A Magnum prize has even been won with a box brownie.
    The vast majority of film cameras are getting old now and ALL need some work at some stage.Grab the offer of the Meopta for the cost of postage and see if works for you.This is a very thoughtful offer.While using it do some research on a short list ,Rollie/yashica/autocord/diacord/meopta/whatever else looks good.Then trust you instinct and buy one.
    regards and enjoy