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  1. #1

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    Help, Santa's coming and my wife wants a TLR.

    My wife has just announced that she wants a TLR for Christmas. Why, I am not sure: we already have an RB67 SLR, but who am I to argue. She says she wants a relatively (but not too) cheap, "toe in the water" type but, and this seems to be the difficult bit, she wants a microprism spot or split prism in the finder as she has trouble focusing on ground glass even with a magnifier. I know zip about TLRs. I borrowed a Roliflex once about 20 years ago and that's it. The only thing I can find that seems to fit the bill is the Seagull 4A-109, but I have never actually set eyes on one. I have heard tell that the brand is not often highly thought of, but the 109 at least seems to have a halfway decent 4 element lens. Does anyone know it they are any good, or if anything else has the right sort of finder? I don't think she'd mind 2nd hand (most of our cameras came that way), so are there any older models with at least interchangable screens to give the option of her sort of finder, which might get more bang for the buck (or in our case pound)?

    David.

  2. #2
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I like the Mamiyas for their price and versatility.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  3. #3
    CZeni's Avatar
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    Tell Santa to look for a Rolleicord Va or Vb, or a Rolleiflex from the 1950s that's had a recent service. I have a circa 1951 'flex MX Automat that fit that description - cost me $250 and it works superbly...takes great images with the 80/3.5 Schneider Xenotar lens. I did refit it with a Maxwell screen to get the microprism focus as the original ground glass was fairly dim. Another choice is a Minoltaflex or a Ricohflex, both contemporaries to the Rollei.

    And for the 'lunatic fringe' of twin lens cameras, try to find a clean Koni Omegaflex... http://www.peterlanczak.de/koniflex.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by Woolliscroft
    My wife has just announced that she wants a TLR for Christmas. Why, I am not sure: we already have an RB67 SLR, but who am I to argue. She says she wants a relatively (but not too) cheap, "toe in the water" type but, and this seems to be the difficult bit, she wants a microprism spot or split prism in the finder as she has trouble focusing on ground glass even with a magnifier. I know zip about TLRs. I borrowed a Roliflex once about 20 years ago and that's it. The only thing I can find that seems to fit the bill is the Seagull 4A-109, but I have never actually set eyes on one. I have heard tell that the brand is not often highly thought of, but the 109 at least seems to have a halfway decent 4 element lens. Does anyone know it they are any good, or if anything else has the right sort of finder? I don't think she'd mind 2nd hand (most of our cameras came that way), so are there any older models with at least interchangable screens to give the option of her sort of finder, which might get more bang for the buck (or in our case pound)?

    David.

  4. #4

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    My vote would be for one of the Yahicamat 124's - and the lens is better than would be expected. The 124 can go for much less than the more recent 124G's.
    Mike C

    Rambles

  5. #5
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photomc
    My vote would be for one of the Yahicamat 124's - and the lens is better than would be expected. The 124 can go for much less than the more recent 124G's.
    Add my vote for the Yashica. The straight 124 was probably the best followed by the Mat. I still have the LM my parents bought in 1958 and it works just fine. There were many models of the Yashica TLR so do a Google search and find a website or two that explains what each model was.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  6. #6
    VoidoidRamone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flotsam
    I like the Mamiyas for their price and versatility.
    I too think the Mamiya TLRS are a good deal. I've only used them a couple of times, but they handled nicely. I had an unpleasant experience with a Yashica... but I think it was due to the specific camera I was using, especially since I've heard a lot of good reviews about those. -Grant

  7. #7
    Ole
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    My first (and so far only) TLR was a Lubitel 166U. It convinced me I liked MF, and that I wanted a proper camera. Then I swapped it for a glass of beer, which I consider a good trade...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  8. #8
    Glenn Mathison's Avatar
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    My first step into MF was with a Yashicamat LM and it's great. Easy to use, quiet, and the lens quality was surprisingly good considering what I'd read about it previously.

    You could do worse.

  9. #9
    noseoil's Avatar
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    The Mamiya C330 series has a lot of features, various lenses are available from 55mm to 250mm, lots of acessories are still available pretty cheap and they are out there in many places. With the other great TLR's out there, this could be a tough choice to make.

  10. #10
    BruceN's Avatar
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    I'm pretty happy with my Mat 124 G. It does well enough that I can wait a little longer for the prices on the Hassies to drop still lower...

    Bruce

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