Replacing the Seagull 120

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by tiberiustibz, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I want a new camera. I love medium format, and especially the colors of fresh velvia transparencies on a light table, however that ain't much good if it's out of focus. I've been having problems with my Seagull TLR. It has vignetting which I've noticed at pretty much all apertures. The DOF scale is not right, something I've only really discovered after scratching my head wondering why the past few rolls aren't sharp. I even left 1/2 to a full stop of breathing room between the infinity and the F stop and my images are out of focus. I thought it was lens sharpness, but I was wrong.

    I don't want to spend more than $200 and get a GOOD MF camera. I don't want autofocus, metering, or other automatic garbage. I need a camera that will take sharp pictures that doesn't vignette. I've looked at either a rollieflex TLR or a good rangefinder folding camera. Any suggestions? I think I want 6x6, maybe 6x7.
     
  2. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    Well, I know that you could pick up a Mamiya RB67 and a decent lens for that price. The Mamiya rangefinders are considerably more than $200. I can attest that the RB67 with C lenses is very very sharp and does not vignette for no good reason. Also, some people say that it is heavy, but it really is not with a proper neck strap. They should probably stick with a box camera, which better be light enough for them, haha.
     
  3. sharpey

    sharpey Member

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    You could spend a lot less than that on a Czech TLR (Flexaret) or A Ricohflex/Diacord (even the super ricohflex has a nice lens)... For 200 you could buy AND have it CLA'd.
     
  4. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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  5. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Geez Louise!! A GOOD medium format camera for under 200 dollars! I guess it depends on how you want to define good.
     
  6. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I've seen Yashicamat 124G TLRs, which are very nice go for $200, and for a little more you can get a Mamiya 645 or a Mamiya C330. My son's mother had a Seagull TLR. Hers actually had a VERY sharp lens, but the shutter broke on it after 9 rolls of film!
     
  7. T Hoskinson

    T Hoskinson Member

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    A good Medium Format Camera for around $300.00

    y choice is the 2.25" X 3.25'' Crown Graphic with Graflock Back and a Mamiya 6X7 120 Rollfilm back, plus a decent lens/shutter combo.
     
  8. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Watch out for the Flexaret. My understanding is that the East German shutter is cranky and very hard to fix. But boy, is it multi-format.

    If you can find a clean RolleiCORD III or later, with a Xenar lens you would have a lot of bang for the buck.

    I have a Yashica 635 TLR that lets me use 120 as well as 35 mm film. I never use it though. They are pretty handy versions of the Yashica D.
     
  9. Loris Medici

    Loris Medici Member

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    Indeed, I have one and the lens is pretty sharp + picture quality is very satisfactory -> as long as you shoot @ F8 or F11. Wide open it's a little bit soft but that's fine for (and goes very well with) portraits.

    Regards,
    Loris.
     
  10. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    On the TLR front, a YashicaMat or Mamiya C220 should be possible with your budget. The Mamiya has the advantage of interchangeable lenses. You might also be able to pick up a Rolleicord too.

    For a folding rangefinder, you have a reasonably broad choice. I'd look at the Iskra, Certo Six, Mamiya 6 (old folder), Super Ikonta III or Super Fujica-6. Each one has its own (different) strengths and weaknesses. Of them all, I think the Iskra is the best camera, assuming the film winding mechanism is functioning properly. Great lens, and probably the brightest VF of all the old folders.

    The Certo is a bit more quirky with its lever focus (which can make it difficult to mount on a tripod). Make sure the RF is working properly, as their RF mirrors have often deteriorated. Wonderful lens, great build quality and convenient 40.5mm filter thread.

    The old Mamiya 6 folder comes in many shutter and lens configurations, but one of the later ones would probably be best. Make sure it comes with the film pressure plate.

    The Super Ikonta III can be had for that money with the Novar lens. The lens is more than adequate, but commands a lower price than the Tessar equiped model that collectors favour.

    I've recently acquired a Super Fujica-6, and it is a pretty decent folder too. There's not much info on the 'net about them, and they can be hard to track down. There's one for sale over at the LeicaShop

    For $200, you could also get a CLA'ed Pentacon 6TL with standard 80mm lens. Accessories and other lenses for these are plentiful, reasonably priced, and the lenses are pretty decent.

    So many choices.... :wink:
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Possibly.

    I had a Flexaret with a dodgy shutter. I somehow managed to graft the shutter mechanism from an Agfa Isolette onto it. It's now on permanent loan to a friend and still works fine.

    How about looking at Rolleicords?



    Steve.
     
  12. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    Have a look at ebay seller Cupog. He always has some CLA'ed Flexarets, usually a few folders, and an occasional Rolleicord. I bought a Super Ikonta (532/16) from him for just a bit more than $200 including shipping from Solvakia to the U.S.

    The Flexarets that Cupog has right now have three different types of shutters. You might want to ask him which one is most reliable.
     
  13. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    You mean people pay MORE than 200 bucks for a MF camera?
    You should be able to pick up a good C220 with choice of lens, cla'd for that kind of bread. As mentioned, rb67s are reediculouse in price. A ProS with 127 or 90mm lens, should be doable for 200 clams. You have to recalibrate the rangefinder on a Crown or Speed for rb67 backs but that's not hard. Find a nice body with a Graflok back and get a great LF lens and you would be set.

    So lots of options. There is no reason these days to shoot with junk.

    'cept if you like it.

    tim in san jose
     
  14. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

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    I used A Flexaret IV and VI for quite some time and I must say that if you have a piece that has been given an overhaul it works like a charm. But they are hard to work on yourself, the Flexaret IV is just manageable to work on but the later ones (V, VI VII, Standard) are not made for self-service. I prefer the Metax shutter above all others.
     
  15. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Another vote for Cupog's Flexarets. My only complaint with my VI from him is that the image on the glass is a bit dim for my liking, and I end up using the integrate loupe more than I'd like. I haven't investigated if it can be changed out at all for a brighter screen.

    I picked up a Mamiya C330 with 80mm and 180mm lenses locally for CDN$250 a few months back - it has a brighter image, which makes focussing easier than my Flexaret. Changing lenses takes some practice, I've found, but overall it's a nice system with great lenses.
     
  16. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

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    I think it can be done if you can find a screen with the right dimensions but beware, while taking off the hood is not very difficult (you need to take off the front leatherette and loose 4 recessed screws) it's quite difficult to put it on again. Some people say it's better to not fully unscrew them but rather to a point that they are not connected to the mirror-assembly anymore. I've taken a VII apart once only to see it's a complex thing (luckily it was a spare parts camera).
     
  17. Windscale

    Windscale Member

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    Probably anything, except the Lubitel, would be better than your Seagull. For $200 you should be able to find a Rolleicord. In my experience the Triotar is better than the Xenar, although this is entirely a matter of personal preference. Once you have started using a Rolleicord, you will very quickly forget about your Seagull. But you will also want quickly to move up to a Rolleiflex!