Seagull 4A - Should I even bother?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by hoffy, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Tonight I was offered a Second Hand Seagull 4A from a camera club member. They want $100 aust for it (around $80US).

    From what I have read, these things are lumps. Is that correct? Should I even entertain the thought?

    All opinions welcome!
     
  2. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    Do not bother. I have seen them go at markets (in good condition...ha!) for $40. $80 at the most expensive.

    EVERY SINGLE owner I know has had theirs break.
     
  3. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I'm going the other end of the spectrum here. What are you after specifically in a camera? The Seagull TLR's are notorious for breaking. However, they do have a certain lens signature. If you like the idea of a sharp center and swirly fall off, the lens on these cameras can be quite interesting in that regard. That said, you know it will likely you down at some point. It all depends on how hard you use it too. That said, you could save you money and get a used 1950's Super Richohflex TLR on Ebay and have a reliable camera with the same lens signature. Maybe for around $30 too!
     
  4. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    I am with Andrew and others on this. I have owned a Seagull and I own a Ricohflex. The seagull died, but probably had more to do with leaving in a hot car..not good for any camera. Up to that point it was doing great. BUT for the same money you can get something much better and more reliable. So if it's that particular camera you want that is one thing...if you want a good TLR camera with similar character, but more reliable...there are better options. My experience anyway.

    Rgds, Kal
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    If you have money to burn [send it to me!], I understand that Seagull 4A's make excellent bookends for your library.

    Otherwise, use your money for something much better.

    Steve
     
  6. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Mine died after 6 rolls of film. Had been used so little it still looked in mint condition
     
  7. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    As others have said, not worth that kind of money. I got beautiful pictures from my Seagull as long as it worked but thast was long time ago. Now I have a Yashica D and a Rolleicord III. Never looked back.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What did you do with the Seagull camera body? Use it as a bookend or paper weight?

    Steve
     
  9. lesd

    lesd Member

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    I have had a Seagull WSC120 which I bought from someone at work for £50 about 5 years ago. I am still using it and have got some nice pictures. No regrets.

    It has provided a cheap entry into roll film photography but I will go for something more substantial when it dies.

    Les
     
  10. KenR

    KenR Member

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    Used TLR

    You're probably better off buying a used Yashicamat or Minolta Autocord. Yes they will be more expensive, but they better made (except for the meter on the Yashicamats) and will be alive and well many years from now.
     
  11. jfdupuis

    jfdupuis Member

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    Last week-end I got a wonderful Autocord for 80 euros. I was very impressed when I took the first two rolls out of the developing tank. The build and image quality are both excellent. I would definitly recommend one over a Seagull for someone looking at an affordable TLR.
     
  12. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    ...or a Rolleicord V
     
  13. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    Thirty years ago, I bought my mother-in-law's Seagull 4 when she herself bought her Yashica 124G to replace it. I paid her GBP 10. She bought the Seagull in 1964, and coincidentally, she's just given me, a few days ago, dozens of boxes of 6x6 transparencies dating back to the mid-sixties to scan. (I can tell you that Ektachrome has held up well during that period too.)

    After forty-five years, that Seagull 4 is still going strong. It may go against the grain of general experience, I'm sure, but sometimes in life you do get lucky.
     
  14. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I think the older ones were a lot better made than the current ones, which have a lot of plastic in them
     
  15. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I have heard some good stories, but I've heard of many more bad stories (cameras breaking in use). In fact, the bad seems to vastly outnumber the good. I'd pass on this offer.
     
  16. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    My Seagull is certainly solid enough, which lines up with what Chris says in terms of age. It's a knob wind, not a crank, and it's all metal as far as I can tell. The lens itsn't outstanding, but it's agreeable. It could probably use a CLA now, but then again, so could I.

    My experience and Les's may be atypical, so I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to ignore the accounts given by others in favour of mine. In any case, even for a working model, the $80 asking price mentioned in the original post is simply too high. There are better bets, and a Yashica with a good Yashinon is one of them.

    The meter on my Yashica-12 doesn't work, but it seems to be due to a physical disconnect in the battery chamber. However, I've used a handheld meter for years, a Weston V that's as accurate now as when I bought it in the mid sixties, so I don't even notice the Yashica's dud one anyway.
     
  17. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thanks. The one that I was offered does look a bit older. Apart from a few spots, most of the text is Chinese (I'm assuming), not english like the ones you see available now.

    MF is on hold for me now. I think I'll probably look at a Holga or a toy camera for my first MF when I get there.

    Cheers and thanks for the advice
     
  18. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    The Yashica-D is a rugged camera. The later ones have a great lens. They are cheap. I got two off of an auction site. No meter on them. No batteries. Great photos.
     
  19. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    Mine also has Chinese lettering on the front, and no English other than f/stops and speeds ; but you're probably doing the right thing.

    Incidentally, if you're looking for an easy route to medium format, don't overlook folding cameras. You can have a great deal of fun with something like an old Zeiss Nettar or Ikonta, with a Novar lens that gives the Tessar a good chase, and get pictures whose quality will knock your socks off.
     
  20. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Aren`t Seagull TLR`s the one`s that make the Lubitel`s look good, or is it the other way around? :D