specific seagull advice for a newbie

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by bikegeek76, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. bikegeek76

    bikegeek76 Member

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    Hi, all. First post. I have seen some seagull comments, however, I am hoping to hear from someone with first-hand pros and cons. I am getting my first 6x6 and I am on budget. I could roll the dice on a used, but I'd rather not. The Seagull 4b-1 was recommended to me. I was pleased to see the 1 year warranty on it. I know the 4b1 is as basic as it gets, however I am fine with that as I am a bit of a luddite anyhow. Any comments?
    Thanks all!!!
     
  2. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Well, I've used a Seagull 5b (or whatever the first model higher fromt he 4b is, its been a while :smile: ) and I have nothing but praises for it. The 3 element lens (the same as on the 4b) was very sharp, the focusing screen was very bright and easy to focus, and everything felt really smooth.

    Keep in mind that I only had the camera on my hands for a few days (it was the college's property), though.

    With a warranty, I can't see why not get it. From what I've seen, most people who complain about seagulls have used the older models, but I'd still stick around for another comment or two.

    BTW, welcome to APUG.

    André
     
  3. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Member

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    Jason, don't buy a 6x6. Hold out for a 4x5. You handled my crown graphic and drooled all over it. You know you want it.
     
  4. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Bikegeek76-

    You could pick up a "user" Ziess Ikon Ikoflex with a very sharp Tessar lens in a Compur-Rapid shutter for a fraction of the cost of a new Seagull. The Ikoflex will produce photographs of stunning quality and no doubt remain usable (even with its advanced age) many years longer than the Chinese knock-off. :smile:
     
  5. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    On photo.net a number of people stated that they had reliablity problems with the Seagull TLR. I have not used one myself. I would recommend a used Yashica or Minolta TLR.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A Mamiya C220 or Mamiya C330 would be my reccomendation, but I have had my C330 since the mid 1970s, without problem, so I might be biased :tongue:
     
  7. Wendel4

    Wendel4 Member

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    Seagull is fine by me

    I've had a Seagull TLR for about six years now, and it's never given me any problems. It's the model with the red window in the back, not the new crank model. The screen is brighter than my old Yashica-D, and the threaded cable release and hot shoe synch are great features. Unlike the Yashicas, the Seagull has no saftey button on the winding knob, so you must be careful to not accidentally "wind on" before you are ready. It's a good camera to take with you when you want to shoot 6x6, but don't want to worry about damaging/loosing a nicer machine. Ebay has a lot of Yashicas you might consider. Finding a nice used TLR that is clean, cheap, and fully functional is not always easy. Two out of three isn't so bad though, if you're game.
     
  8. bikegeek76

    bikegeek76 Member

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    Thanks, guys.

    I feel like I may run the risk of getting screwed if I buy used(Bad shutter timing, fungus, other obscure to a newbie camera problem ect...)I looked at some of you guys' recomendations on ebay, and they were nice if they are in the shape promised, however I don't have the cash to take a chance. The other recomendation from another friend was a Kiev. I understand that I may be opening a whole other can of worms with that one...
     
  9. sanderx1

    sanderx1 Member

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    You are about as likely to get a broken Kiev as a used TLR on ebay - probably more likely - and the repair would not be easier or cheaper and it might be a broken Kiev again in a couple of weeks. There isn't anything wrong as such with a Seagull if you get a new on warranty one and the warranty extends on replacement.

    Depending on stuff, a used Mimya TLR bought from KEH may be a better buy (though read the specs and description), especially if you ever buy a second lens or want to use 220 film.
     
  10. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    I have the 4A-107 which has a Tessar type 4 element lens. I have been happy with it and have not encountered any problems. I would not recommend the other models as they have only a triplet lens and are not very sharp. But then the early Yashicas had only a triplet lens.
     
  11. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    I bought my Yashica TLR from lathearn on the 'Bay and it cost me about a hundred plus postage. He doesn't have any for sale right now, but you may want to send him an email to ask him when his next batch is due (http://members.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=lathearn). He repairs them, and sell them with a light meter and a case. Good thing is that he always put all his items as Buy it now, because frankly who wants to bother bidding too much on a Yashica?

    In case you're wondering, I use the one with the Yashikor 3-elements lens and it gives real nice images when enlarged at 11x11. Definitely above the the Lomo category.
     
  12. Ben Taylor

    Ben Taylor Member

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    I was in a similar position when I was looking for my camera. I considered going for a new Seagull but I though I'd see if I could pick up a cheep TLR on eBay just so I could experiment with the format first.

    I got lucky and found a Yashica D with a 4-element Yashinon lens in near perfect condition for just £20. I've coupled it with a Western light meter to give me a complete and very usable medium format kit for £35!

    The money I've saved will go towards a more capable medium format system once I've out grown the Yashica.

    Perhaps I just got lucky, but all in all I'm very pleased I went down the second hand route rather than buying a new Seagull.

    See here for some information on the Yashica D
     
  13. JJC

    JJC Member

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    I started with a Seagull 4B-1 which developed shutter problems shortly after the warranty expired. I've heard of quality and reliability issues from others as well, although some people experience no problems at all and are satisfied. Optically I thought the lens was just fine. My opinion is that careful selection on the used market of a Minolta, Yashica, Mamiya, Rolleicord, or Ricoh can give you as much chance of success, and possibly with a more established network of repair / service people if something should go wrong. I ended up with a Mamiya C330f and think it is an outstanding camera.

    Good luck finding something you like.
     
  14. Brac

    Brac Member

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    The problem with the Seagulls are that they are renowned for poor quality control and this doesn't necessarily surface within the first few months. You may be lucky with yours or you may not. But they are no longer as cheap as they were and for the price of one you could get three secondhand (or more) TLR's. You might consider a Rolleicord as they go for less than the Rolleiflex and there are still plenty of people who can service them. Or any of the makes suggested by JJC.
     
  15. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Quality control on the Seagulls is said to be better now which may explain the increase in price.
     
  16. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    I got a Yashicamat (with yashinon) in near mint condition off Ebay for £60. I also own a Mamiya C330f which I got for £180 from www.ffordes.com - I notice they have a C33 with 80mm f2.8 in good condition for sale at £89.

    Hope this helps,

    Lachlan
     
  17. bikegeek76

    bikegeek76 Member

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    Thanks!!

    Thanks for the words of wisdom, folks. I will weigh my options carefully, and I'll let you all know what I get. Thanks again.
    Jason
     
  18. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Another important piece of Seagull advice: don't change the shutter speeds (especially past the 30-15 boundary) with the shutter cocked. I had to straighten a part in the shutter on mine that had apparently been bent by doing this; I suspect this failure (and the same part breaking instead of just bending) may be behind most of the reported "sudden, unexpected" shutter failures, at least of older Seagull models. Mine was a 4-B, probably 30+ years old, however; no idea if the newer shutters are similar...
     
  19. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I've had nothing but troubles with my seagull, and I got it new. Shutter getting stuck, timer sticking, dust and fiber underneath the brightscreen, etc. A total dissapointment.

    Go get yourself a Rolleicord. Then get a CLA for it and have a Brightscreen put in. You'll spent about as much as for that cheap POS seagull, but unlike a seagull, it wont cr@p all over you.
     
  20. bikegeek76

    bikegeek76 Member

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    Got one. Thanks Gang!!

    The guy on ebay that was recomended to me turned out to be great to deal with. I got a Yashika 635 with a meter, filters, a 28mm for my cannon ae-1, and a new bag for $175. The guy was great. Thanks again everyone!!!
    Jason