Well let's see. I have a Yashica 635, nice lens, crappy shutter, still above 1/15 of a second works fine, takes nice pictures especially in 135 mode. I have a Yashica 44 for my 127 film needs. Absolutely a joy to use, and nice images seem to appear when I use it.
I have a C220 with 65/80/135/180 lens. All are quite adaquate but the 65 makes nice slightly WA images, the 180 makes nice head shot portraits. Very sharp lens, easy to use, but a bit heavy and it does take getting use to deal with the WLF and the reverse tracking of images. Wonderful for still lifes and landcape if you can tame the square format.
With the prices as they are, I would avoid the Lubitel and Seagull brands, be carefull with the Yashica you might buy and either go for a Rollie or a C220 (at least). There is a lot of joy in a camera that feels good, not just has the specs that make the image.
Oh yeah, my carry around MF camera? A Zeiss Ikon Nettar 6x6 with a 4.5 Novar lens. Guess focussing, guess exposers, and wonderful images. F11 is a wonderful thing. About 25 bucks at your local ebay outlet.
tim in san jose
Where ever you are, there you be.
The Lubitel beats it hands down, but it's still not the winner.
Originally Posted by elekm
Don't forget the Brownie Starflex, but if you're really bottom scraping you'd need to go to something like the Ilfordflex. Made by Great Wall - the precision engineering company that brought you the Diana, their 127 TLR style camera (no focus controls of course) was rebadged by Ilford. Also, know as the Bedfordflex, and a few other names. They also made a deluxe version - the Kingston which featured three apertures, and a fake metering cell :-)
I have a Lubitel (a hand-me-down from my brother) and really don't like it. Despite that I recently acquired a Mamiya C330S with 80mm and 180mm lenses (couldn't afford my first choice of Pentax 67 MU).
The Lubitel and Mamiya are like chalk and chipotle cheese-steak. I really like the C330S now, and probably wouldn't move to the Pentax even if the funds became available. The only things I don't like are the lack of DOF preview (but I'm getting round it), parallax error when working close (may invest in a paramender at some point) and the way some of the lenses work only in full stops (PITA, but not utterly critical as 95% of my stuff is now on B&W negative).
Whether they're still of sufficient quality, as usual for me the most limiting factor is found standing just behind the camera! Here's a recent neg scan (the print will be better) - http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...500&ppuser=538
The destination is important, but so is the journey
I hate to say it - but much of what has been said about the Lubitel is true. I actually had a friend borrow mine for the exact reason you bought yours. I warned him not to - but he insisted. I got back a camera with half a roll of film yet to be exposed. He got frustrated and couldn't get it back to me fast enough! So - beware of that.
See my gallery here on APUG for some images taken with a Lubitel - see what you think, I can send you more if you like. I can tell you this: it can produce a very nice image if you get it right. But I have to also tell you this: if it wasn't for sentimental reasons, I would never spend the money on one (it was my first real camera when I was 10 or 11 years old) - and the one I have now is a gift given to me for that very reason (I will never part with it!).
Having said that, should you get a TLR in general? Absolutely! They are very special cameras, and can't be beat for many street/candid applications (like shooting upside down over walls and around corners, at right angles to your line of sight - etc. plus, most of them stand up really well on their own on, lets say, a table at a cafe or restaurant or wall or man with a flat head - you name it. Also, its amazing how slow a shutter you can use "hand-held" - no mirror slap, leaf shutters, and with a WLF you can really do miracles in terms of steadying a camera on a good neck strap - especially if you have something to lean against). In a word: YES!
There is a "but" here. Even though many of them have the word flex in the name... they are not the most flexible of configurations (please forgive me... it was, alas, an attempt at humour) A good MF SLR will be able to "do it all" a lot better. Interchangeable lenses, film backs, ability to see exactly what the lens does - well, you know from your 35mm experience what an SLR gives you over other systems. Its much the same in MF, only larger. I saw a beautiful Bronica on APUG classifieds just a few days ago that would fit your needs perfectly (and it was in red snakeskin - can't beat that!)... but only if you find size a problem. I am currently saving up for an RB67 system- a friend of mine has one, so I have a bunch of hands-on with one... and I just can't think of a better camera for me. This thing does it all, has abslutely excellent glass, is built like a tank (and wieghs as much too...) and it gives you a nice 6x7 negative in a back that rotates so you dont have to flip the camera on its side to get protrait orientation. And its an honest to goodness pro camera, with all the features and durability assosciated with it - all that for about $400 (a decent kit, ready to use, often with an extra lens or back - although not many seem to be as nice - or well priced - as the one here in the APUG classifieds!).
Well, I am off to take my "shut up pills" now...
Best of luck - sorry about the novel
I've used the Mamiya C330 and C220 quite a lot. They are great cameras, very rugged, and the lenses perform well (I have the whole set). It's an OK "system camera" if you buy a good set of lenses, and I think you'll quickly get used to using the WLF (it's easier than a view camera, at least the image is right side up!). The C220 is a great choice since, although it does lack many features of the C330, it is about 1 lb. lighter, which helps if your going to carry it around. I also found parallax (the real problem with all TLRs) to be pretty easy to correct for. The main drawback I found with the Mamiya "system" was lack of film interchangeability. If you want to shoot both color and B+W, you need 2 bodies --which adds cost and a lot of weight. I'd be a little concerned with the early Mamiya TLRs, since these cameras got a lot of pro use and may be worn out. Another thing which was a problem in the 3 Mamiyas I had was the foam light seal in the back turns to black goo. I ended up replacing all of mine, which was a simple job, but time consuming. For the price C220's seem to be going on e-bay recently, I'd think that one of these with a black 80mm lens would be a great starting point for 6x6 that will let you build as you like. They are very solid, quiet cameras; great for portraiture and discreet street shooting.
However, after using my Mamiya set-up for many years, I made the switch to a Hasselblad a couple years back. I tend to shoot a lot of different film, so exchangable film backs is a big bonus to me, something you'll find with the Bronica system as well. The hasselblad is certainly a more expensive option (especially lenses), but the 6x6 SLR is definitely a more versatile system. I got all my blad gear used, with chrome lenses, which lowers the cost considerably.
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I used to shoot with TLR's (and still have a soft spot for them), but since I've moved to the Bronica SQ-A and SQ-Ai, there has been NO looking back. These cameras handle very fast - especially with the Speed Grip-S and any of the prism finders.
Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
Originally Posted by digiconvert
I wondered the same thing about the clip - but so far... I have photos that I took by swinging the camera around by its strap with the timer on, and its been thrown into bags and car seats - no issues, no lightleaks. Trust the Soviets!
One thing I would pay particular attention to is the cable release - if you use it, make sure it releases properly - I think mine had an internal kink or something and I have ruined some pics that way. Other than that - you'll be fine, especially in bright light and when you use it at infinity to shoot landscapes and such.
Lubitel is Cyrillic for frustration, but they make great doorstops that can start a conversation. On the real cheap, try a Brownie Hawkeye with some JandC offerings for 620. 1/30, 5.6 will get you a load of shots.
The next consideration is the Yashica 124. The G looks classier but does nothing more than extract extra money from your wallet. Around $50-90 on eBay for a good one, $20 for a Micro Tools seal kit, and you have something that you can enjoy for a lifetime and stacks up against any Rollei TLR.
If the bug bites ya, the Mamiya RB/RZ series is plentiful and cheap when building a SLR system. Hassies and Broncos are nice, but you best be loaded with green...
Whatever the make, go for it and have fun!!!
When you come to a fork in the road, take it...
OK, I'll take this into a different direction: I know you've all been talking about 6x6 cameras, but Convert, have you considered 6x7?
I own a Pentax 6x7, and I love, love, LOVE it.
It is a beast, but the closest thing to 35mm with the advantage of 6x7 negs. I like the versatility of the format, exchangable lenses, and good deals on ebay every day. (More money than a fixed lens MF, though).
6x6 is nice, and I think a great learning tool (I have one, took me some head scratching learning to compose in a square), and from a creative viewpoint, a good challenge.
In any case: enjoy, and welcome to MF!