I recommend a Seagull TLR. Cheap and very good buy for the money.
A Holga is not an option in this category. A Holga is a Holga, and a very special camera with great uniqueness. But as a MF camera for normal use it will disappoint. But for fun and those dreamy shots: USE IT!
A previous poster in this thread suggested a Kiev 88. I own a substantially modified version of this camera but as you are a beginner to MF I would advise against buying one of these at the moment. They are not, IMO, for the inexperienced. The Holga is a non starter. Assuming you are wanting a step up in quality from, say, 35mm then the Holga will disappoint.
I have used and would recommend the following
Minolta Autocord - simple, reliable and possessing a very nice lens
Mamiyaflex C220 - robust and has interchangeable lenses. Stay away from the very old C2 and C3 models of the Mamiyaflex. They are practically impossible to repair.
Yashicamat 124G - not as nice as the Minolta but still pretty good. Miles better than a Holga
Mamiya 645J - the first of the Mamiya 645 SLRs giving 15 shots on one film. Surprisingly affordable.
I just started into MF a few months ago. Although some day I hope to acquire a Hassy or a Bronica, I decided to start with a Rolleicord to get my feet wet.
It takes decent pictures, but I found it very limiting insofar as it is a fixed-lens TLR. Not long ago I decided to go for a Mamiya C220. It was very inexpensive, and has great potential for expansion. It is very user friendly and simple to use. The one huge advantage IMHO is that the body itself is absurdly simple and there is little that can go wrong with it. If the lens set craps out, it can be easily and inexpensively repaired or replaced; this is not the case with a Rollei.
In retrospect, my Rolleicord was a waste of money...Overpriced and overrated for what I wanted it for. So as a newbie to MF, my recommendation would be a C220.
Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!
It really depends on what you intend to do with the camera. I have used and liked the new seagull TLRs, but have no long term knowledge of it. I have also used rolleicord and Lipca TLRs, and out of the 3, I'd rather shoot the seagull (btw, all were 3 element lens types).
I own a Pentacon Six 6x6 SLR, and like it quite a bit. It does have a broken frame counter, tons of internal flare, and extremely wide frame spacing, but when I press the button, the shutter fires. In the end, that's all I care about. Once you figure in that line of though with the fact that I only use 80mm lenses, I'd probably be just as happy with a new 4 element seagull TLR (which would have a brighter screen, less internal flare, and correct spacing, if all went well). JandC used to have them at a very good price, but I can't find them anymore...
BTW with a name like André Ferreira, I have to ask: Are you from Portugal or Brasil? :-)
One of the Holga's attractions is that it uses a very simple lens and that it leaks light. That gives a "look" to it that may or may not be what you want.
If you're interested in dabbling in medium format, one of the Japanese TLRs (not the Chinese made Seagull), or a Rolleicord is a good place to start. Other possibilities include a folding camera with a pop-up viewfinder (probably less than $70), an older Mamiya 645 system or possibly a Rolleiflex. The knock against the Seagull is long-term reliability/build quality.
The downside of the older cameras is that many will need to be serviced or cleaned (or both) before they can be used. Once properly serviced, they should perform well for decades.
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One thing not mentioned here is a Koni Omega...6x7 rangefinder camera with very good lenses. If you can find one that's not been thrashed by a wedding photographer you'll be quite pleased...expect to spend $300 or so on it...
Originally Posted by André Ferreira
A lot depends on what you want to do with it. In particular, do you need to be able to shoot fast, or do you have plenty of time and do you need interchangable lenses. Also Medium format is actually a whole group of formats that just happen to use the same film, so you need to decide which you want. I use an RB67 for most of my Medium format work and they can now be got used remarkably cheaply, but it isn't quick to use. I have just bought a Pentax 67II for use in the air and it has been a revolution. That wasn't cheap, but you can pick up the older model fairly cheaply.
Curiously enough, I too just bought a 67II from a local shop that took a couple of them and a raft of lenses in on trade for d*g*t*l gear. Last time I really looked at 67II's the body and prism alone was always $1600 or more...last week I got a very clean body and prism, 90/2.8 and the 35/4 fisheye for $1700 (I am such a sucker for fisheye lenses...) Just processed my first negs from the beast - really nice.
Originally Posted by Woolliscroft
Holga's are fun. I think I paid $20 for mine - and thats what they're worth. I think they can be a usefull first step into medium format, but only in a "feet wet" kind of way.
At £140 the Seagulls don't look such a good deal - I've seen second hand mamiya's sold by dealers for not much more. On ebay you'll get a Rolleiflex for that price no problem.
TLR's are what they are - love 'em or hate 'em. Personally I love em. I've got 5! I think the discipline of the fixed format lens is usefull, and they force you to slow down, and think (In the UK Sony have an ad campaign for their digicams - "Shoot - don't think". I assume they're not using that in America ;-)). I'm not convinced by the Mamiya TLR's as I'm not sure that TLR's work well as "systems". I use my Rollei as it is. If you want a system then try an SLR.
The Lomo TLR's are a small step up from a holga if you want to find out if the TLR is right for you, but don't pay money for them. Mine was £12 - again, about what it's worth. I've seen people pay serious cash for them on ebay which is crazy. They're probably a better start than a Holga, but don't expect to much - they're worth exactly what I paid for mine!
Hmmmm...I tried the Seagulls and found them quite good.
Originally Posted by 127