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  1. #1
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    small, compact, durable 120 cameras

    Any recommendations? SLRs, TLRs, RF's, and folders... I want a small/compact 120 camera that I can carry on me at all times and "throw" around. I want something that is durable and has focusing abilities. I don't have a fixed budget, less than $2k I guess, and I just need one lens.

    I mostly have Rolleiflex TLR's and I've had two 120 folders (Agfa S. Isollette and Zeiss S. Ikonta). I might stick with a Rolleiflex or get something else. Preferably a 120 camera but maybe even a 35mm one. I don't like the ergonomics of the 120 folders and so I'm not sure if I'd go back to one of those as I'd rather go back to 35mm first...

    Candidates:
    Rolleiflex: I love these cameras but I'm not sure how much abuse they can take. I've had no issues with mine but they do feel delicate.
    Makina 67: Tank-like construction but not too easy to repair.
    Mamiya 6: Possibly. I hear they feel plasticy but underneath they are infact metal. I'd rather get the Mamiya 6 over the Mamiya 7.
    Fuji GF670: Felt delicate to me. It is portable but I"m unsure about the durability.
    Hasselblad 500cm: A stretch for portability and I'm unsure about durability. Can these take more knocks than say a Rolleiflex?

    In 120, those are all the cameras that I was thinking...any thoughts, suggestions, and advice?
    Michael | tumblr

  2. #2

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    One of the Fuji 645 models?

  3. #3
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Yes, those too. I forgot about those.

    I'd prefer the folder one but does anyone know who repairs those and/or can replace the bellows? I hear that the bellows give issues, especially if stock.
    Michael | tumblr

  4. #4

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    Yashcia TLR.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Jeff, Do you think that TLR's are as durable as RF's/folders?

    I just felt that the above RF's/Folders are more-orientated towards documentary/photojournalist/travel photographers and so maybe they are more durable. I threw the 'blad in there because I have this notion that they are indestructible, for some reason.
    Michael | tumblr

  6. #6
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    I hear that the bellows give issues, especially if stock.
    Who did you hear that from?

  7. #7

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    Oh, a Rolleicord is another possiblity. Simpler than the Rolleiflex. Or the Minolta Autocord- it has a bomb-proof focus helical, one of the weaker parts of the Rollei-type focus system using rails.

    If you do go with a TLR, get in the habit of racking the focus to infinity, especially before putting in a pack or such. Doing that to protect the rails and being careful with the back door, and they'll do fine in travel. The hard leather cases would help, also.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    I threw the 'blad in there because I have this notion that they are indestructible, for some reason.
    Hasselblads are definitely extremely well built and feel very solid, but there are a lot of moving parts that can go bad or be knocked out of alignment. I suspect a TLR would take more abuse without difficulty; however, fixed vs. interchangable lenses is a huge usability difference.

    I have heard that the Mamiya TLRs are built like tanks. I think they end up being about the same size as a 'blad, cheaper to replace if they do get busted.

  9. #9
    Regular Rod's Avatar
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    No folder? Okay...

    The FUJI 690GSWIII has a great lens, a bright viewfinder, a rangefinder that is clear and easy to use, lever wind on and the advantage of 6x9 format so if you like 35mm format you don't lose it to square or halfway house formats. They are also very cheap now.

    The only down side is the design fault on the shutter that means you must use the Hat or Lens Cap technique for exposures longer than 1 second!

    RR
    Last edited by Regular Rod; 12-15-2013 at 01:01 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    Who did you hear that from?
    From personal experiance with Fuji 645 bellows they can give problems, the Original bellows are made from a form of plastic and tend to split much like some of the old Agfa folders, but much worse, I have had 3 of them and have had to get the bellows replaced on them all, I believe the replacements were from Custom Bellows, I have never had a problem with bellows from any of my old MF folders, from a Voightlander Baby bessa from the 30's to my latest, a Franka Solida 2 from the 50's

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