TLR's serious or nostalgic?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by snaggs, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. snaggs

    snaggs Member

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    Are new TLR's like Rollei's a serious or nostalgic camera option? I just happened to read something on (yes I know), dpreview, where someone said that the mirror slap on his Pentax 67 is so massive he muchs prefers a TLR when possible.

    Are they very useable hand-hold? or mainly tripod cameras? Anyone know what the difference between a new Expression 2.8 GX and the 2.8 FX would be?

    Daniel.
     
  2. Digidurst

    Digidurst Subscriber

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    Hi Daniel :smile: I absolutely love my (Mamiya) TLR. I hand-hold it, where it on a neck strap, use it on a tripod... And while this may not be true, I have heard that the lack of mirror slap will enable you to get sharp hand-held shots at lower shutter speeds. Plus I really dig that square negative! So I guess if you are serious about capturing images than you get some seriously awesome shots with a TLR. Good luck to you and let us know what you decide.
     
  3. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    TLRS were workhorses for a while.
    And yes they ar serious cameras! A mamiya 330 with interchangeable lenses would be a great option.

    Rolleiflexes are outstanding cameras, I don;t know the differences between the old and the new though
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I would say based on the price of a new Rollei TLR, they are indeed serious cameras, of course over the course of the last century most of the Rollei's have been quite good cameras with a very strong following.

    Even in this day and age, TLR photography is very serious and a great many of the camera are great performers, as Digi Said, I have also used them handheld, on a tripod and they produce great images.

    The mirror slap on the Pentax, can indeed be distracting, but there are a great number of photographers that use them quite successfully for serious work, The Pentax is a challenge to hand hold, it is a large heavy camera that just by its nature can cause you to shake due to the weight, I tried shooting one handheld a couple of years ago, with no success at all to the shear mass of the camera. So Tripod is the recommended way to use this camera.

    Dave
     
  5. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    A TLR is quiet, easier to hand hold (you can cradle it with both hands, allowing you to easily break the 1/focal length rule for shutter speeds), and the lenses in the best are at least equal to anything you can buy, for any money, to fit a 'Blad.

    Even better, you can get high quality used TLRs with decades of life left in them for less than a single lens for a MF SLR. Sure, you're limited (with most of them) to a single focal length (unless you spring for a Mamiya C series), but I don't find that to be as limiting as it seems; 99% of the time I use the 50 mm lens on my Spotmatic...
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You don't want to handhold a Gowland 8x10 TLR but MF TLRs are great handheld. TLRs have issues but then doesn't everything?
     
  7. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Even though I sold off all of my TLR gear last year to finance my Bronica system, I have a soft spot for the camera type. It's tougher to do with a C-series Mamiya, but with a lighter, fixed-lens TLR such as a Yashica Mat 124G or Minolta Autocord, I could handhold at 1/8 sec and get negatives that were sharp enough for an 11x14 enlargement. The best I could do with the 80mm lens on the Mamiya C-220 or C-3 (handheld) was about 1/30th - and that was kinda pushing the limit.

    I think part of the Mamiya's problem with handholding (compared to the Yashica and Minolta) is the layout of the shutter release. On those two fixed lens cameras, I could cradle the body with my left hand and use my left index finger on the release - a motion that pushed the release button into the body. The C-220 and C-3 required me to use my right thumb and push down on the right side of the body. I found that to be a bit more awkward, but I still loved those cameras... :smile:

    Regardless, the lack of mirror slap and the super quiet operation of the shutters made them perfect for shooting wedding ceremonies using available light.
     
  8. snaggs

    snaggs Member

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    I really like the square format. Are they rangefinders? How do you focus?

    Daniel.
     
  9. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    No, not rangefinders...

    You have two lenses of equal focal length, mounted on a movable plate one atop the other. The bottom lens has a shutter and is used to expose the film, the top lens is used to project an image on the groundglass (via a mirror) for focusing. Hence the name, Twin Lens Reflex.
     
  10. 127

    127 Member

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    I guess the biggest factor is do you want a waist level finder?
    If so, then can you live with a single lens?

    If you answer yes to both of those, then a TLR is the thing to have.

    On the other hand the new Rollei is WAY expensive. If I was in a situation to justify that kind of cash on a new camera I'd grab one like a shot, but in the mean time "previously operated" tlr's are a bargain.

    One of my main cameras is a Baby Rollei - nostalga? Maybe a bit, but it's an ideal working camera for a lot of stuff that I like to do. Now if they were to release a new baby... I'd have to start saving...

    Ian
     
  11. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    TLRs are not rangefinder, they are reflex cameras, you focus on the ground glass using the "Viewing" lens and shoot using the taker lens, hence TWIN lens.
    see HERE

    IIRC There are a couple of rangefinders (Mamiya 6 comes to mind) for sqaure format.....

     
  12. snaggs

    snaggs Member

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    Well, I'm just not using my digital anymore, and tend to just use my F65 w/50mm. I've come too like the freedom from gear of just learning to use one lens, and concentrating on thinking.

    The results I've been getting from film just kill my digital for some reason, more better looking shots. So I was pretty settled on getting a 35mm rangefinder, small & compact, with just one lens (Rollei 35RF w/40mm Sonnar f/2.8).

    Now I've been reading about TLR's.. and they seem very similar, but quieter (leaf shutter), just as handholdable (for available light), square format (which I like). Just not sure about the size, think I'll pop into my local camera shop tommorow.

    Anyone got any TLR available light shots done using Delta 3200 or something high speed?

    Daniel.

    PS. It also seems that Rollei 6x6 projectors are not too expensive, I imagine a tranny from these looks pretty good ? :smile:
     
  13. B-3

    B-3 Member

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    I have a Yashica-D that is a joy to work with. As others have pointed out, it's light enough to use handheld. I also have a Mamiyaflex with interchangeable lenses, it's well-built but rather heavy, so I only use it on a tripod (which is less often).

    These sorts of cameras are often available used and shouldn't be too expensive. Just make sure you're getting a good lens, as many seem to come in versions with both desirable and less-desirable lenses - probably a pricing issue when they were first released.

    The negatives are things of beauty. Try it, you'll like it.
     
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  15. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I have a Lubitell 166U and a Seagull that I put a ton of film through. The small size of the Lubi makes it really unobtrusive for streetshooting and the nice split screen focusing on the Seagull gives me wonderfully sharp negs, plus the Seagull has exquisite frame spacing and is a *solid* camera.
     
  16. Steve Weston

    Steve Weston Member

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    I have a Rollie 2.8F. It took me several months to find one in a condition that was acceptable to me but it was well worth it. They are quiet with no mirror slap, easy to handle and certainly the results i've had from mine have been IMHO superb. I have been called old fashioned because i haven't got the latest digital toy hanging round my neck but i don't care. I won't be parting with it.

    Steve.
     
  17. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    For my MF photography, I own a set of two Hasselblad bodies + lenses, backs, prisms etc etc and a Rolleiflex 2,8 F from the 60's.

    I make most of my MF personal work with the Rollei. It's sturdy, reliable, got a fine Planar lens, easy to use, quiet, vibration-free, fast, fun, light (compared to the Blads) and beautiful in general. As you can understand, I'm in love with it. Rollei used to make a pentaprism that fitted the camera (I don't think they still make it, although I'm not sure) that you can find on Ebay (if you're lucky). There is a Rolleiflex on sale at the moment WITH its prism and lots of other accessories (at a high price, I'm afraid).

    Parallax is corrected, there is a depth-of-field scale and a series of filters an close up lenses that fit the (taking, usually) lense. Double exposure is also possible. The finder (if you don't use a prism) has a mangifying lens (although it's very bright and you don't really need one). The F models also have incorporated selenium light metes that accept an accessory for incident metering (what modern camera can offer this alternative ?).

    You can work with a camera for all your life and never feel its age or get bored by it. Interchangeable lenses are not an issue with me, although when I need them I can use my other cameras.

    The new Rollei TLRs are overpriced, rich Japanese collectors objects. They have plastic in their mechanisms (eeerkk !!!!) and on the exterior parts sometimes (the 2,8 GX had a plastic focusing lever). They (the light meter) operate on batteries and have LEDs in the finder (!!!!!) and TTL flash control. They cannot be compared to the original 2,8 F. They look and feel like Japanese counterfeits, like Contax cameras from the 80's.

    Watch the auctions on Ebay and get yourself a Rolleiflex 2,8 F with a Zeiss Planar or a Schneider Xenotar (more expensive) lens in good condition. You'll never part with it.
     
  18. snaggs

    snaggs Member

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    How well do waist level finders work in low light? As good as a rangefinder or SLR? or are they a bit dim?

    Daniel.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    An SLR can have a waist level finder as well, so that's not really the axis of comparison. Also, some TLRs can take a prism for eye-level viewing.

    In general, a waist level finder will be brighter than a prism finder, because the prism eats light, but a prism does a better job at blocking out extraneous light than an open waist level finder, so it might be easier under certain conditions to focus with a prism. In low light, you'll probably find yourself using the magnifier with the WLF, holding it at chest level, so that your head will block most of the extraneous light, and under such conditions, it can work pretty well. It will depend on the quality and type of the focusing screen (often upgradable, even on old cameras), and the condition of the mirror (old ones can be dirty, tarnished, or worn).

    A nice thing to have, if it is an option on the camera you choose, is a chimney finder, which is just a simple magnifier that blocks out extraneous light. These have been made for SLRs and TLRs.

    Waist level finders are pretty stealthy for street shooting and candids. On the other hand, you can always pick out a wedding shot with a waist level finder camera, because you can see up everyone's nostrils.
     
  20. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    They can work fine in low light - how good is your eyesight? As far as brightness - that's a function of the focusing screen and speed of the viewing lens. Most lower priced fixed lens TLR's have an f/3.5 viewing lens. Some cameras, the Mamiya comes to mind, can have either a prism finder or a porro finder mounted. The porro finder gives you eyelevel viewing, but with mirrors instead of a prism - they are MUCH dimmer!

    This wasn't shot with a normal lens (I used a 55mm wide angle on a C-220), but it's one of my favorites. I braced myself against a door jamb and handheld this at 1/4 second on Ektachrome EPP.
     
  21. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Come on David, haven't you ever held a waist level finder camera upside down over your head for a "Hail Mary" shot? :smile:

    hehehe
     
  22. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    TLRs......, you can't beat 'em. Never owned a Rollei, so I can't comment. But I own (and have owned) Mamiya TLRs, namely the C330f. Very quiet and with a shutter release handgrip attached, very stable. Focussing is on a par with other MF systems in terms of viewfinder brightness, but should you need one, then Beatttie do an 'Intenscreen'. The lenses are pretty good too, with (IMO) the 55mm being the best of the bunch. They might very well appeal to one's sense of nostalgia, but then again not everything modern represents progress. BLIGHTY.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    How do ya think I got this one?--

    [​IMG]

    I'm not 10 feet tall.

    Bronica S2A (SLR), 50/3.5 at f:3.5, 1/15 sec. probably, waist-level finder, Tri-X/Acufine
     
  24. stark raving

    stark raving Member

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    My only Rolleiflex is a 50 year old Automat, yet the dimensions and control placements are similar to the current 2.8 GX, so I'll assume my experiences transfer to those cameras. As a big man with big paws, I find the Rolleiflex ergonomics to be superb. I hold the Rollei in the palm of my right hand with the back steadied up against my body, and my right thumb curling around the shutter release. My left hand is free for the focus knob. I find my thumb to be steadier and smoother squeezing the shutter release than my forefinger. Sight - focus - exhale - squeeze.... 1/15 is possible, and 1/8 might even work on good days. Find something to brace it on, and you can go even lower. Remarkable cameras.
     
  25. ScottH

    ScottH Member

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    I'd say mine's a little of both, though my 'flex (2.8 E) from the late 50's isn't so much nostalgia per se, as it has 10+ years on me. I've only had it for 3 or so months and it's my first TLR, but it's been a joy to use. I'm still getting used to the left/right inversion, but that's only when the kids are running around. It can get as 'serious' as I need it to relative to it's optics - granted I won't be using flash with it. I'm looking forward to bringing it along on summer vacation. Maybe do a small portfolio of my uncle's dairy farm where I used to spend a few weeks each year working in the summer.
     
  26. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    I "borrowed" a Rolleicord IV (TLR, consumer version, circa 1950) from a relative. The lens is absolutely amazing (Schneider Xenar 1:3.5 75mm). Negatives are tack sharp. It has become my keep-it-loaded-and-handy camera and I love it. Can't wait until it grows up into a real Rolleiflex...

    :smile:
     
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