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  1. #1
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    TLR Users: Which Would You Recommend and Why?

    Having now entered into the MF world via the SLR route - I'm now considering trying a TLR.

    I know less than nothing about these cameras (other than the "parralax" thing) and would like to learn more.

    About all I really know to ask at this point is that I'd like a model that isn't more than about 20 years old and, if this is even possible, uses interchangeable lenses for different focal lenght options.

    Can you help me, please?

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    I entered MF just the opposite as you, George - TLR first, then SLR. I prefer Rollei TLR. My preference might be a bit odd to some, but I prefer Rolleicord for price/simplicity. I had no problems or disappointments with a Tessar-type lens (Xenar on the Rolleicord) or a max aperture of f/3.5.

    The Vb model is the last Rolleicord made and allows use of almost all Rollei accessories since it has removable hood, unlike the earlier 'cords. I bought mine from a former boss, who inherited it from his Dad. It had barely been used - the film spool tension spring hardly had a friction mark on it. I had the shutter overhauled and then "shot the hell" out of the camera. I schlepped it all over the country and several places outside. It still is my favorite camera, especially when mounted on a monopod.

    Only "problem" is the fixed focal length lens. You'd better like "normal" because that's all there is. Only with portraits did I wish I had an option, though.

    I'm not very tall so the only other "issue" is that most of my snaps have a low camera angle. Again... only a problem with portraiture as it tends to emphasize nostrils in the most unflattering sort of way.

    (Question: SLR not working out for you, or R U just looking for something different?)
    Last edited by BrianShaw; 03-21-2007 at 07:15 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    Very few TLRs with lenses that can be changed. You are really probably looking for a Mamiya C series TLR and a few lenses. The C330 is at the top end of the features, C22 at the low end.

  4. #4
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post

    About all I really know to ask at this point is that I'd like a model that isn't more than about 20 years old and, if this is even possible, uses interchangeable lenses for different focal lenght options.
    You only have one option: Mamiya C220 or C330. All other TLR models have fixed lenses (Rolleiflexes, Rolleicords, Autocords, Yashicamat, etc). There are about three categories of TLR: top/pro models, in-betweens, and good, clean, cheap fun.

    First category: Rolleiflex 3.5/2.8; Mamiya C-series
    Second: Yashicamat (12, 124, 124-G, plain "mat"), Autocords
    Third: Yashica-(A,B,C,D), Flexaret, Ciroflex

    I will leave to the experts where to put the Rolleicords and Tessar/Xenar Rolleiflexes, given that they have excellent lenses, but are not exactly as advanced as the 3.5/2.8 models.

    There is a fourth category of box/toy TLRs, but you're dropping lens quality by a mile. In comparison, with a Yashica-D, even with the lesser Yashikor lens, you can still make a nice 11x11 that is worthy of your walls.
    Using film since before it was hip.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post
    First category: Rolleiflex 3.5/2.8; Mamiya C-series
    Second: Yashicamat (12, 124, 124-G, plain "mat"), Autocords
    Third: Yashica-(A,B,C,D), Flexaret, Ciroflex

    I will leave to the experts where to put the Rolleicords and Tessar/Xenar Rolleiflexes, given that they have excellent lenses, but are not exactly as advanced as the 3.5/2.8 models.
    I'm no expert, but I'd propose the proper place is your "second" category.

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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    I'd like a model that isn't more than about 20 years old ...
    This might be a tough requirement. Aside from the Chinese TLRs I don't know of any other than the revived Rolleiflex models that wouldn't be > 20 years old.

  7. #7
    Ole
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    The entire Mamiya C-serie has interchangeable lenses.

    I've got a C3 with 65, 80 and 134mm lenses (if I remember correctly), but that may be a little too old for you?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Wow,

    Great responses - helps to answer a lot of questions as I flip through the KEH catalog.

    Brian: Quick note, no I'm not down on the MF SLR route at all - just an "itch" to try the TLR option. BTW: I'm not too tall myself at 5'9" on my tippy-toes so I appreciate your comments on that.

    MHV: Thanks for the breakdown of quality/model, it is really going to be helpful as I sort through the offerings.

    Ole: Thanks for the advice on the "C". I very much like the flexibility of various f/l options and appreciate the info. I'd imagine the "C's" are commensurately more expensive and so will have to consider price to usage etc.

    Boy, you've got to love this site!

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    Good Evening, George,

    In addition to the information above, I'll add that there is also the Koni-Omegaflex, one of which I'm fortunate to own. It's definitely on the heavy side, but it gives a 6 x 7 negative and has four different lens sets available. Lens quality is very high, but I've noticed that prices on this and other Koni used equipment seem to be moving up compared to some months and years ago.
    (The Koni stuff is usually 1970's vintage, but it's tough, and repairs shouldn't be a big problem to arrange.)

    Konical
    Last edited by Konical; 03-21-2007 at 08:55 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: added info

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    I'd imagine the "C's" are commensurately more expensive and so will have to consider price to usage etc.
    Depends. I bought my C330S on the 'Bay for less than what clean Autochords were fetching at the time, and a lot cheaper than Rolliflexes. I love the monster but it outweighs my Crown Graphic. A nice 220 model would be lighter if that's an issue for you, and would perform as well. The S model is actually lighter than the F or the earlier C330. I like the interchangeable lens sets: I use the 180mm for portraits and the 80mm for land/cityscapes. I'll get a 55mm someday when I have the loose change. Whatever you choose, I think you'll find there's something special using about a twin lens.

    K.

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