i have one of these cameras. i believe its the third version. it is very basic, but the later ones come with more "desirable" features like a self timer and a flash shoe
the lens is really wonderful. killer bokeh and great range of depth of field effects can be obtained. as for sharpness stopped down, i believe the lens on my pearl river tlr (probably made in the same factory as the great wall?) is a lot sharper
the camera has a very unusual shutter/mirror combination. the mirror is actually part of the shutter. the problem arises in cocking the shutter (which flips the mirror up). to select your shutter speed you pull the knob out, rotate it to the speed, and let it drop back down. then you twist the knob to raise the mirror and cock the shutter. if you want to change speeds after you've cocked the shutter, you can't. sounds like maybe not a big deal, but its burned me on many occasions.
the problem is the rest of the camera. it's metal, so its not flimsy enough that if you drop it that it will shatter, but the knobs and buttons on it are really cheap. the shutter button fell off mine, and the cover on the wind knob fell off also
as for loading film, i've not had a problem. apparently there were kits made for these to adapt it to all kinds of film... 35mm, 828 (i think) and a 645 mask. i never see these products anywhere.
i will say that i love it.. but DONT overpay. the prices usually seen on ebay are outrageous
i dont know where you live, but older chinese people, especially those that lived in china in the 60s, 70s will recognize the camera. i took it to chinatown in san francisco once, not even thinking about it. soooo many people were really happy/enthusiastic to see it!
Last edited by sfadam; 09-05-2011 at 02:55 AM. Click to view previous post history.