Replacing the Seagull 120
I want a new camera. I love medium format, and especially the colors of fresh velvia transparencies on a light table, however that ain't much good if it's out of focus. I've been having problems with my Seagull TLR. It has vignetting which I've noticed at pretty much all apertures. The DOF scale is not right, something I've only really discovered after scratching my head wondering why the past few rolls aren't sharp. I even left 1/2 to a full stop of breathing room between the infinity and the F stop and my images are out of focus. I thought it was lens sharpness, but I was wrong.
I don't want to spend more than $200 and get a GOOD MF camera. I don't want autofocus, metering, or other automatic garbage. I need a camera that will take sharp pictures that doesn't vignette. I've looked at either a rollieflex TLR or a good rangefinder folding camera. Any suggestions? I think I want 6x6, maybe 6x7.
Well, I know that you could pick up a Mamiya RB67 and a decent lens for that price. The Mamiya rangefinders are considerably more than $200. I can attest that the RB67 with C lenses is very very sharp and does not vignette for no good reason. Also, some people say that it is heavy, but it really is not with a proper neck strap. They should probably stick with a box camera, which better be light enough for them, haha.
You could spend a lot less than that on a Czech TLR (Flexaret) or A Ricohflex/Diacord (even the super ricohflex has a nice lens)... For 200 you could buy AND have it CLA'd.
You might keep your eye on this one.
I have one of these to keep in the truck, they work great and are generally pretty cheap.
Geez Louise!! A GOOD medium format camera for under 200 dollars! I guess it depends on how you want to define good.
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I've seen Yashicamat 124G TLRs, which are very nice go for $200, and for a little more you can get a Mamiya 645 or a Mamiya C330. My son's mother had a Seagull TLR. Hers actually had a VERY sharp lens, but the shutter broke on it after 9 rolls of film!
A good Medium Format Camera for around $300.00
y choice is the 2.25" X 3.25'' Crown Graphic with Graflock Back and a Mamiya 6X7 120 Rollfilm back, plus a decent lens/shutter combo.
Originally Posted by dpurdy
Originally Posted by sharpey
Watch out for the Flexaret. My understanding is that the East German shutter is cranky and very hard to fix. But boy, is it multi-format.
If you can find a clean RolleiCORD III or later, with a Xenar lens you would have a lot of bang for the buck.
I have a Yashica 635 TLR that lets me use 120 as well as 35 mm film. I never use it though. They are pretty handy versions of the Yashica D.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Indeed, I have one and the lens is pretty sharp + picture quality is very satisfactory -> as long as you shoot @ F8 or F11. Wide open it's a little bit soft but that's fine for (and goes very well with) portraits.
Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto
On the TLR front, a YashicaMat or Mamiya C220 should be possible with your budget. The Mamiya has the advantage of interchangeable lenses. You might also be able to pick up a Rolleicord too.
For a folding rangefinder, you have a reasonably broad choice. I'd look at the Iskra, Certo Six, Mamiya 6 (old folder), Super Ikonta III or Super Fujica-6. Each one has its own (different) strengths and weaknesses. Of them all, I think the Iskra is the best camera, assuming the film winding mechanism is functioning properly. Great lens, and probably the brightest VF of all the old folders.
The Certo is a bit more quirky with its lever focus (which can make it difficult to mount on a tripod). Make sure the RF is working properly, as their RF mirrors have often deteriorated. Wonderful lens, great build quality and convenient 40.5mm filter thread.
The old Mamiya 6 folder comes in many shutter and lens configurations, but one of the later ones would probably be best. Make sure it comes with the film pressure plate.
The Super Ikonta III can be had for that money with the Novar lens. The lens is more than adequate, but commands a lower price than the Tessar equiped model that collectors favour.
I've recently acquired a Super Fujica-6, and it is a pretty decent folder too. There's not much info on the 'net about them, and they can be hard to track down. There's one for sale over at the LeicaShop
For $200, you could also get a CLA'ed Pentacon 6TL with standard 80mm lens. Accessories and other lenses for these are plentiful, reasonably priced, and the lenses are pretty decent.
So many choices....