A quest for a reasonably cheap TLR

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by M-88, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. OP
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    M-88

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    That's a mighty price tag right there :blink:

    I'll take it for a walk/test to see how good or bad the brightness is in daylight. Then I'll decide what to do.
     
  2. Dan Daniel

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    Yeah, it's almost impossible to clean front surface mirrors, at least old ones like in the Yashicas. Plain old tarnish in most cases, so if it looks foggy it should be replaced. More recent mirrors, like the ones from the Marty guy, have some sort of protective top layer. I've slipped and gotten finger prints on his mirrors and they clean off without affecting the reflection.

    Oh, just to be clear on the focus screen thing- you'll need to pay $80 or more to get a screen that will improve on the Yashcia screen. Rick Oleson, linked to above, is worth talking to if you want to change screens. His older screens were not an upgrade to Yashica screens, but the Brightscreens he now has are better.
     
  3. OP
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    M-88

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    And I thought that 80$ was a price tag of some top of the line screen with bells and whisthes, GPS, WiFi and personal assistant. Replacing the mirror sounds like a better idea according to my wallet and I approve :whistling:
     
  4. Dan Daniel

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    I have a Rolleiflex with a Maxwell screen, probably as bright as they get; as a defective one I got it for only $180 instead of his usual $280 or so. One day I got talking to a young hipster on the street and showed him the view through the Rolleiflex. His jaw dropped as he mumbled, Man, what a great LCD!! He didn't ask about its GPS functions.

    The mirror will amaze.
     
  5. abruzzi

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    Funny, I thought $80 for a brand new screen shipped anywhere was pretty cheap.
     
  6. ME Super

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    I have a Super Ricohflex with an 80mm f/3.5 lens. Shooting wide open with a shutter speed of 1/25 sec. I can take available light photos indoors on Portra 800 (I installed daylight balanced bulbs in two rooms in my house) and they end up being underexposed by about a stop. The latitude of the Portra 800 is more than enough to get a usable image out of the shot. I bought one off of eBay for $50, and when I got it, the focus was frozen on it. Mark Hansen agreed to take it off my hands and send me one he had all ready to go for the cost of what he would've charged me to fix the one I bought off of eBay. It's a sleepy little camera with 6 f/stops (3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16) and five shutter speeds plus "Bulb": "B, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200"). I can use it indoors and outdoors too. I'm still using the one Mark sent me two years ago.

    Glad to see you found a TLR that meets your needs. It's a fun style of camera, for sure. I love mine and it's a good little medium format camera. Way better than some of the box cameras.

    Now if I would just get my act together and get the adapters I want to be able to shoot 120 in my Kodak Brownie Model 2A... :smile:
     
  7. summicron1

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    if you haven't already -- tyr some of the chinese knockoffs -- just saw one at an antique store for $40 -- uses the red window metering system, but they aren't bad, all things considered.
     
  8. OP
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    M-88

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    Not when I paind 40$ for Bronica focusing screen, which is a more advanced camera in every aspect. And especially not when the whole Y-124 cost me 75$ and it was 1 Kilo, much heavier than some screen.

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who is fond of using old cameras. Keep clicking, I've heard TLR mehanisms don't like to sit aroun without being used.

    I got spooked by the stories about how bad Seagull cameras are so I crossed out a knockoff option altogether. Although Yashica is a Rollei knockoff too :getlost:
     
  9. summicron1

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    Well, yeah, the quality of the seagulls is pretty creative -- but the one I have does produce images and doesn't leak light.

    Yashica Mats of a wide variety are not too expensive and very reliable. Like every camera of that vintage, however, it pays to have it properly serviced for continued reliability -- a 60-year-old machine is, well, 60 years old.
     
  10. OP
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    M-88

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    From my point of view (although I might be wrong) Seagull is something like Lubitel, but I can at least examine the latter physically and return if it's not in good working order, since they are available directly at local flea market.

    Unfortunately nobody services cameras of that kind here (that's the reason I have to do CLA myself), but let's hope that after three evenings spent at my desk it works at least like 35-40 year old camera. I already developed the first roll and it looked alright. At least no light leak or frame overlap.
     
  11. summicron1

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    Well, the Lomo/Lubitel cameras aren't really in the same class as a Yashica Mat -- the Mats are made out of metal, and have Casio shutters, and I just had one serviced for $150, which is more than one costs, but it also means it will continue to work -- age counts. Lubitels/Lomo TLRs are plastic Soviet things -- I've got one of those, as well as the Sputnik Stereo camera -- and they're vastly lower in build quality.

    If you want to do a MAJOR upgrade to the Lubitel, paint the inside with flat black paint, or cover it with flocking (self-adhesive at the hobby storo) -- the biggest problem with those cameras is they were made with shiny black plastic on the inside, which causes all sorts of problem. Flocking or flat black paint (mask off the lens first!) will make a huge difference.

    The Seagull I have is somewhere between -- metal body, a better quality shutter and lens, but still pretty cheap.

    Considering that you can get a Mat for the same money some silly folk are spending for point-and-shoot 35mm cameras these days (the silly Olympus Mju comes to mind) I think they're a bargain.
     
  12. OP
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    M-88

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    Well, Lubitel stands for "Amateur" in Russian and that explains it all. It's a copy of Voigtlander Brilliant from 1930s, hence sub-par specs (including poor selection of shutter speeds). But back in 1964 it cost mere 10 Roubles while Zenit went for ten times more. Unlike western markets, however, there was no higher grade TLR camera available in the USSR and one had to go either for folding Moskvas (Zeiss Super Ikonta copy) or for Kiev 1988/Salut (Hasselblad copy) if they wanted something serious.

    There was a Seagull available when I went for Yashica, but the thing is - I knew how to disassemble/assembe Copal shutter, but didn't know how to deal with whatever Seagull has. Just didn't want to take any chances.
     
  13. John Wiegerink

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    I always thought Lubitel meant "love" in Russian? Or maybe something like "love"? JohnW
     
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  15. OP
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    M-88

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    "Lubov" would mean "love", "Lubit" is "(he/she) loves" and "to love". And "Lubitel" is "(he/she) who loves" and "amateur", depending on context. It's a bit simpler in Cyrilic.
     
  16. John51

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    I had a Mamiya C330 in the 80s but didn't take to it. A bit too cumbersome for me. Shame that OP does not like those TLRs as the $100 customs barrier could be (just about) avoided by buying a C body and lens(es) separately.

    I recently got a Kodak Reflex II TLR. It's similar in size to a Lubitel but better build quality. 4 elements in 4 groups so not a Tessar. fwir, Kodak optimised their front cell focusing lenses at 15 foot whereas Zeiss optimised for infinity. Going to do a head to head between the Reflex and my 6x6 Mess Ikonta at various distances to see how they compare.
     
  17. OP
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    M-88

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    I considered the possibility of getting a Mamiya C, but dismissed it shortly - someone was selling it here and it's huge. Not very practical. Looking at my Yashica, I think I made the right choice.
     
  18. Arbitrarium

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    I'd go for a Yashica, and I'd actually suggest the opposite of what most would say and DO go for the 'low end' Yashikor lens over the Yashinon. I seem to only ever see flat and lifeless images from the 'top of the range' 124G with Yashinon, but shots from the A-D range or 635 with the Yashikor have a wonderful quality and character to them. Some of my shots: http://www.arbitrarium.co.uk/the-allotments/

    I got my 635 for about £70 I think.
     
  19. Ian Grant

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    I've had new mirrors made for SLRs (quarter plate) by Vacuum Coatings Ltd in London, not very expensive, less than £20/$26 at the time. They will re-silver existing mirrors and actually use Aluminium. I've a Rolleicord to re-build and will just send them the existing mirror I also need mirrors fora few LF SLRs.

    Ian
     
  20. OP
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    M-88

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    I'm not sure if you're addressing the "swirly bokeh", or something else. As for me, so far I have shot only one roll and noticed that my Yashica doesn't like the sun, but I blame poor coating of an old lens. As for flatness of the images - I blame myself, I developed the roll on my own. I will eventually get a colour film and process it in the lab. In the meantime, the camera looks nice on the shelf. Quite a fancy decoration. Don't know why people go for 124G instead of regular 124 - the former looks like plastic, definitely lacks silver trim.

    After testing my camera, I'm happy with the brightness of focusing screen, no need to replace the mirror yet. I used the magnifying glass in 5 shots out of 12. The rest was clearly visible without it, so no need to increase the expenses, better save up for film stock.
     
  21. Dan Daniel

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    The interior of the YashicaMats is rather reflective. A discussion of this on Flickr, with photos down the thread showing flocking installed-
    https://www.flickr.com/groups/yashica_tlr/discuss/72157622734630140/

    And a lens hood is needed. You can get cheap plastic ones for under $10, better than nothing. Or patience on Ebay can get you a Rollei-type hood that mounts to the outer bayonet, allowing filters on the inner bayonet (the YashicaMat is 'Bay I' (one).
     
  22. JPD

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    My grandfather had a Yashica A with Yashimar, and he gave it to me when I was six years old and loved to take things apart to see how they worked. When I was 18-19 my father made a new focusing knob for it and I made a simple focusing screen so it could be used again. The Yashimar lens wasn't that good, but I took a couple of rolls with the camera, and then I bought a Rolleiflex 3,5 B with Tessar, which made a great difference. I began to collect Rolleis.

    I bought a Yashica A with a Yashikor as a present to my father maybe ten years ago, and the Yashikor was a pleasant surprise! Very sharp and nice contrast when stopped down, and fully open it's great for portraits. The softness at large apertures is more pleasing than the Zeiss Triotar, which is another very good triplet.

    My Rolleiflex 3,5 F with the six element Planar is great, but often too clinically sharp and heavy for my liking. The pre-war 3,5 Automat with uncoated Tessar is a nice compromise. It's lighter, very sharp and has character. Then of course the Rolleicords with 4,5 or 3,5 Triotar. I have also the Rolleiflex Standard cameras with 4,5, 3,8 and 3,5 Tessar, that I don't use that much anymore because of the dark ground glass and slow-geared focusing mechanism. They are difficult to focus even with the loupe.
     
  23. Ian Grant

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    I've been using a Yashicamat 124 for about a decade now, I bought it on this forum. It gets used alongside my LF kit with a mix of coated and multi-coated lenses and I definitely don't get flat lifeless images from it, in fact they match my LF images.

    Have to agree with Dan about the interior although I've only had an issue once in unusual lighting conditions working almost wide open.

    Ian
     
  24. John Wiegerink

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    I think you will find then very close in image quality. I have owned and used both the Kodak Reflex I and Reflex II and other than the 620 film issue, they are of professional quality. The Kodak Reflex II is a very good option for anyone who wishes to cut their teeth on a TLR. JohnW
     
  25. John Wiegerink

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    Thanks for the clarification and glad to know my memory still works a little JohnW
     
  26. raizans

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    I think the Rolleimagic is a great, undervalued TLR. If the meter's dead, you can get the selenium cell replaced with silicon.
     
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