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Thread: Deciding on TLR

  1. #1
    EKDobbs's Avatar
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    Deciding on TLR

    I'm spending $500 or less on a used TLR camera. Currently, I'm interested in the Mamiya C330, which gets great reviews everywhere I've seen.

    Now, I'm not blowing images up to gallery size or doing professional work by any means, but I'm also interested in at least 8x10 quality. That being said, are there alternatives to the C330 that have meters/are cheaper, but not so cheap as to have poor image/build quality? I was thinking Yashica Mat 124 or a Rolleicord, but it's difficult to find comprehensive comparisons.

    Thanks in advance for helping out an armchair-enthusiast such as myself.

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    I have a Rolleiflex 2.8 which is more than you care to spend.(I got mine after my father passed away 20 years ago) Mamiya C330 is a great choice.

    Jeff

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    I think any TLR shooting 6x6 will very, very easily make an extremely high quality 8x10" print. I think any of those camera will serve you well, I only have experience with Rollei, and the quality is outstanding. You can get a Yashica Mat for much less than $500, and it'll be a lot smaller than a C330, if that's important to you.

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    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    The problem in working out which one is best is that they are all good. Mamiya, Rolleicord, Rolleiflex, Autocord, Microflex and Yashicamat are all great.

    If you are happy with a fixed 'normal' lens then all but the Mamiya will offer you this in a lightweight body. If you want to change lenses then you need to look at the Mamiya range of TLRs. More versatile but also a bit more bulk to carry around.

    I have a Rolleicord V in my collection of around thirty film cameras. If I was only allowed to keep one, this would be the one.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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    EKDobbs's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'm definitely leaning towards the C330. I've got a M645 pro, and I love the build quality. Still, a good testimonial could push me towards a Yashica or Rolleicord, especially if it's cheaper (I make ~$90 a week, working weekends).

    The problem in working out which one is best is that they are all good. Mamiya, Rolleicord, Rolleiflex, Autocord, Microflex and Yashicamat are all great.
    And thats why I came here. I had no idea Minolta even made TLRs, and I'd never heard of Microflex.
    Last edited by EKDobbs; 01-30-2012 at 05:05 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: new posts

  6. #6
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    They are probably all more than adequate for 8x10, but many that have meters may be a bit erratic, and/or run into the mercury battery problem. I have a Yashica MAT 124g, which I believe was their last TLR model. It's early 1980 vintage, thus pretty old. I have a battery adapter to try a silver oxide cell in it, but at the moment there is what may be a dirty contact problem in the switch that enables the meter when the hood is opened. I plan to get in there and look around one of these days, but meanwhile a Gossen Digisix solves my problem.

    Just wanted to toss that out, as a small separate meter would leave you ready for any (or multiple!) camera(s) and might be better, or at least not a major deciding factor.

    DaveT

  7. #7
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    I have a Minolta Autocord, a Rolleiflex Automat and a Yashica 24 for tlrs. They are all great. If you do end up getting a Yashica, you will need to flock the inside film box to eliminate internal reflections, which is a real problem with a lot of Yashica tlrs unless it is a late model 124G.

    Chris

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    How and what are you going to shoot? The Mamiya 3 and 2 series are great cameras. Lens quality seems to be better with the later versions but even early seem fine. Multiple prime lenses so quality is not compromised. Minus of course is if walking around it gets to be a heavy kit and is not as unobtrusive as most of the fixed lens tlrs. I used to craze a C330f Professional system but as much of my photography is hand held walk around, it had weight against it.

    The Yashica and Rollei models are lighter for walking around. But to get to a longer focal length or wider view when you can only do it via a different lens are the auxilary lenses. I've yet to find a set even the Rolleis that do not affect the quality. Yes, you can crop to get around the longer lens issue but in some instances can not get wider when your back is against the wall, no pun intended. Yes, there is the tele-Rollei but, last time I looked at pricing, I doubt you'd carry it around often.

    I've had the Yashicamat-G and several Rolleiflexes, no 'Cords. On balance the Yashica is a good starting camera to test the waters with. It uses the Bay I filter set so if you later move up to a Rolleiflex 3.5, there is a good chance the accessories are transferrable. Do'nt get bogged down with the lens too much, the Tessar vs Planar debate, like trying to compare 2 perfects with each other. The 'flex lenses are simply for most part above almost anything you'll likely shoot. This tlr design is easy to carry and shoot with as they are vitually identical except for the Rolleiflex T. The Rolleiflexes I've had were quieter than the Yashicamat-G. If you look at Rolleiflex , look for a T. It is between the 'Flex and 'Cord supposively but in comparing it to both, it is really a 'Flex less the autostart mechanism so the same system as the 'Cord and Yashica, align the arrow on the film to a mark on the camera. It Does use the EV shutter system so the dual wheels are lacking. If you get it CLA'd the interconnect of the shutter and aperature levers can be defeated. I actually like the shutter button on the T better, I find less potential of body movement with less thinking about it. It also has the removeable hood for the 'Flex finders and is easier to replace the screen than the earlier non-removeable hood 'Flexes.

    Assume that any camera you get should or will need a CLA to assure shutter speeds and lens alignments. The 'Mat-G and some Rolleis have some form of meter. Make sure they are either accurate or use it a bargaining chip. Repair and replacement of the selenium metering cells (Rollei) is not cheap, figure a trip to Quality Light Metric in California, the non-selenium meters I think all use the PX625 mercury so something like a C.H.R.S. adaptor will get you power.

    The limiting factor result wise for each of these will be the user's ability; all are excellent cameras but, only a tool.

  9. #9

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    Just get the Mamiya and stop the agonizing. I love mine. Even though I usually use the normal 80, being able to change focal lengths is a big plus. And to echo Brianl - simplicity is its own reward.

  10. #10

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    Have you held a Mamiya TLR? I know by saying this I'll encourage people who climbed Mt. Everest with a C330 in their waist pack to chime in, but face it, they are big. And no matter how far out he bellows go, parallax is an issue with any TLR inside of a meter.

    Interchangeable lenses- nice! Size- well, your call. At least it is very simple here- large size, interchangeable lenses, or small(er) size with fixed lens. For me, a fixed lens works best, so I give that up and get a camera I can carry in one hand for hours on end.

    Don't choose based on a meter. Too many excellent TLRs with no meters or broken meters.

    Condition might be more important than model. I'd take an aligned Rolleicord III over an abused Rolleiflex MX-EVS any day.

    Anything of the Yashica level or up will do you well. Look around, but don't spend forever looking.

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