My first serious camera was a Rolleiflex E2 with an f/3.5 Schneider Xenotar. That was in about 1958. I still use it occasionally and with an occasional CLA it still works fine (although I've lately been seduced by a used Hasselblad C/M and a couple of lenses). The big square negative means you can crop and not loose much quality, which means you can get away without a tele lens. The 80mm feels wide in the first place and you can back up if you want wider. Rolleis are very quiet and used at waist level, perhaps even turned sideways so that you aren't obviously shooting straight ahead of you, are great for street photography. They are good portrait machines (if you crop and you remember not to shoot your subjects below eye level because of the waist level finder). They are good landscape cameras and they are even pretty good for sports and action if you use the open frame sportsfinder built into their hoods (I did some of that for my highschool newspaper). I agree with the fellow above who suggested that buying a brand new one (which almost seem to be more like commemorative models) doesn't make sense unless you have money to burn. Find a gently used one if you can. You might even fool around with a lesser model to try out the camera type--a Rolleicord (saw one at a camera show last weekend for $75), a Yashicamat or a Minoltacord. The Rolleiflex T was slightly cheaper model that lacked a couple of nice features on the full blown Rollei, but was very capable. And then, as someone else mentioned, there was the Baby Rollei which used 127 film which is, unfortunately, difficult to obtain nowadays. I can remember lusting after one of those so that I could show superslides, 4x4 transparencies that would fit readily into a 35mm projector.
You won't be sorry.
Nicole, a Yashicamat LM was my entry to MF a couple of years back. Cost $180 oz dollars.
Originally Posted by Nicole Boenig-McGrade
I see TLR's fairly frequently at markets here in Sydney, so I doubt you'll have trouble picking one up for a good price.
You will likely LOVE shooting your kid pics with it. I have two boys under 5 and they move like the wind, but it's real easy with the TLR as other posters have mentioned..
Go for it ! ! !
TLRs can be serious and nostalgic.
I use my two 124's a good deal, more this year than in many past. I bought one years ago, the second one just this year for $80. The shutters don't match but the lenses match well.
Avedon was still using a TLR at least as late as his last master-class sessions. Most of the famous 1950's work of Avedon, Penn, and many other magazine shooters was done using TLRs.
This past weekend, I was at a venue that prohibited "professional" cameras like AE-1's etc. I waltzed through the door with my TLR and two pro-packs of TXP...
Yes TLR`s in 120 roll film have their place... BUT remember that you will only have a 75 mm or 80mm lens as they are not interchangeable,(except Mamiya C series? ) and they are lighter and quieter than H,Blads Rollies. In my opinion a Hasselblad 500cm with 50mm, 80mm and 150mm makes avery great outfit, yes heavy but quality Zeiss lenses are well worth it.......... Cheers BarrieB. .
I didn't bother to read all these pages, but half my work was done with a Rollei 2.8 TLR, much of it handheld. Faster film and monopods are helpful. See some of my work at http://www.frankpetronio.com
Last year I stopped shooting 6x6 because I was getting stagnant - composition is almost too easy with a square, and I was tending to do too many centered and symetrical images. Also, I began to feel that I was compromising with medioum format, and that for times I wanted to capture information and detail, I should be using 4x5. For interiors and fast shooting, I use a 35mm or digital SLR. They seem better suited to those tasks - the Rollei was always inbetween.
But I will probably come back again. I just have to switch gear occassionally.
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Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington
Well, well, well...
Lubitel in literal translation means "lover"... (although, as it was astutely pointed out, in this context it translates more accurately into "amateur", or perhaps better "afficionado") It is an Anglocised version of a word that is really pronounced more like Liu-beetz-yell.
A little trivia there - sorry if off topic.
They are cheap. They are built like most russian things - crudely, with large tolerances and random QA/QC... but also near un-killable (what's there to break?)
They are plasticy and all that, with a dim view finder that is REALLY hard to focus (yes, the only matted spot is smaller than a dime and quite dim, the supplied magnifier is... well...here: hyperfocal method!)
Like with most Russian optics, I found that you have to spend a lot more to rival the qualityof the glass (at least in the two I have had, one that I still do).
Its simple to use and impossible to break unless you drop it on concrete amd/or kick it with a steel-toe boot.
While I knew that my TLR experience, consisting solely of a Lubitel at this point, would not meet the rarified standards of the people who sneer at things that don't say Haselblad, Leica or Rollei on them - I think the little camera deserves better than it gets (and yes, I may have sentiment on my side - I got my first one when I was 10!).
Then again, I don't throw things away when they challange me. The Lubitel is hard to focus, and only has one lens and that's it...but I have taken some amazing shots with it, from landscapes to available light street type stuff. I have held it sideways, up side down, any way you please - I have swung it by the strap with the timer on. I have left it on coffee shop tables, where it attracted gawkers with its weird, old fashioned looks and photogrphed them from where it sat without them knowing it! Its been hend held (ok, gut braced, really...) at ridiculous shutter speeds AND it has been used as a make shift support for my SLR and the occassional ash tray.
It still works, and I have never had more fun with a camera while knowing that if I put the time and effort in, I will have a negative that I defy most experts to compare to cameras that couldn't be equipped with one of the two required lnes-caps for the priceof a Lubitel.
And yes, it was a KGB secret weapon - mine has lenses made out of Beria's eyeglasses and a strap woven out of Nikita's eye-brows
I love my Lubitel, and I can tell you this much - any TLR is like a rangefinder in a way - you don't understand what the big deal is until you use one and fall instantly in love with it. I say you DO need one, you will love it!!!
PS. Lubitel CLA is as simple as that on a meat grinder - DIY special if I ever saw one.
Believe it or not, I agree with you totally. The Lubitel lens is not at all bad and you can take good pictures with a Lubitel if you know what you are doing and are willing to put the work in which is necessary to overcome its design faults (which mainly affect the viewfinder).
Originally Posted by gnashings
BUT - for the kind of candid/off-the-wall pictures you are talking about, it is handy if you have a larger (f3.5) lens which you can focus accurately at full aperture and a shutter which is also accurate and has speeds down to a full second. Considering that in the UK a late-model Rolleicord or an early Mamiya can be had for £100 or less, a Lubitel for me personally is just too much work. I have owned many TLRs, including Mamiyas (C3, C330f, C330s) and several Rolleiflex Ts, probably my all-time favorite. I now have just a Rolleicord Va which I take out now and again, although the passage of the years has dimmed its viewfinder mirror a little and also not improved its owner's eyesight! I never sneer at anyone's choice of equipment and recognize that a minimalist approach (e.g. LOMO, etc.) can be refreshing. What I am saying, however, is that I think a BEGINNER whose first TLR was a Lubitel would be needlessly confused and discouraged.
My comments were meant as tongue-in-cheek as I think yours were, David
I just had to show my righteous proletarian indignation!
I certainly agree that if you can afford it, and/or if you do not have the nostalgia aspect attached to a Lubitel, well, there is a lot out there that would be a better camera choice for beginner or seasoned photog alike!
I still consider myself a beginner, but I like things that make me work for results - I like cars that bite back when the driver does something silly, I have Stevie Ray Vaughan - grade strings on my guitars, I guess focusing a Lubitel is somewhat akin to those examples
Mainly though, I have one because I had one when I was a kid, and it makes me feel good to have one now. The funny thing is, now I mainly use it for landscapes (well, actually, tree-scapes - I've been on this tree kick lately...) so it no longer gets swung around by the strap
It still sits on coffee shop tables though, and its a perfect weapon against shy little animals. Park it on the floor, wait until the shiny lenses make the critter curious and squeeze the shutter cable... and once in about 10 you get a really interesting picture.
On a more serious note, I find that a camera that really makes you sweat makes you pay more attention, think your shots through, etc. That, combined with 12 frames on a roll (not like 35 mm...) usually makes for more thoughtful picture taking.
When not swinging by the strap that is