Medium Format Twin Lens Recommendations

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Cowtown CJ, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. Cowtown CJ

    Cowtown CJ TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking for recommendations for a good medium format (120 film) Twin Lens Reflex that costs $300 or less.

    Thanks
     
  2. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    I don't know what prices run these days, but if you can find a good Rolleiflex, Rolleicord, or Mamyia C-series (preferably C-330) in your price range they would be choices.

    The Rollei's with f/2.8 lenses can be a bit pricey. The slower f/3.5 lenses are still very good. In terms of "bang for the buck", the Rolleiflex-T from the mid-'60s is generally one of the better values. The parallax correction and rapid wind common to the 'flexes, rather than the knob wind of the 'cords, but with a f/3.5 Tessar. It generally doesn't command as high a price as the 3.5F or 3.5E model 'flexes, not to speak of that of the 2.8F and 2.8E.

    The Mamyias have interchangable lenses; you would likely want to get one with an 80mm lens. The all black Mamyia lenses are newer and preferable to the older ones with chrome shutter speed rings and front cells.

    I used a then recent Rolleiflex-T back in the mid '60s and found it a great preformer. In the mid-70s I uses a Mamyia C33 (predecessor to the C-330) with an 80 and 65mm lens for a while before moving to 4x5. It delivered very good images also.

    The Rollei T and the C33 were 120 cameras only (C33 would take 220 with a special back). The newer C330 and little sister C220 take both 120 and 220.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Probably the easiest to find at an affordable price AND still in working order would be a Yashica-Mat 124 or 124-G. Many of these were sold in the 1980's, and they used to sell for $124.95 as recently as 1982. Many Yashica-Mat 124's will have been amateur-owned and very lightly used.

    The Chinese maker of the Seagull twin lens reflex has made a good number of affordable 120 twin lens reflex cameras, and new ones are still available pretty affordably.

    Mamiyaflex C220's are fairly affordable, and the MAJOR advantage the Mamiyaflex models have over Rolleiflex,Rolleicord,and Yashica models is that they have interchangeable lenses and shutters; on all the others, if the lens diaphragm conks out, or the shutter is jammed, you're out of luck and repairs will be needed. The C330 was nicer, but also costs more. Many Mamiyaflex models were used hard by wedding or portrait shooters.
     
  4. 1986

    1986 TPF Noob!

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    I just bought a Yashica C and I am extremely pleased with it. I got it on ebay for one hundred dollars. Your price range is a little higher than mine so you might want to go for the Mat-124, newer model. Also you might want to see if you can find a deal on a Rolleiflex, I have heard that the glass is better and has a better build quality. But like I said I have been very pleased with my Yashica C. It doesn't feel cheap or plasticy; very solid build quality.
     
  5. Paul Ron

    Paul Ron TPF Noob!

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    For $300 you can get an ETRS 645 SLR or an RB67 SLR in perfect working condition just for starters instead of getting an over priced TLR. I have a couple extras of each in my closet I'd part with if you are interested?

    If you are interested in getting a nice 6x6 TLR that will blow the doors off the darkroom, get a Yashicamat for $150 in restored condition working 100%. They are amzingly light n very reliable. If you are handy, get a broken one for about $25 and fix it yourself. Most only need a good shutter n lens cleaning since they sat in grandpa's closet for years before making it to the garage sale.
     
  6. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    A few months ago I traded in a Yashica 124G for a Mamiya C330, so perhaps can give you some insight on those two.

    The Yashica had a nice lens and took great photos, but the Mamiya is a huge step up. The interchangeable lenses are great, although the range of focal lengths is nothing like your average SLR setup. Big for me is the focusing screen, MUCH brighter on the Mamiya than the Yashica and with a magnified circle in the middle of it, I have no problems focusing with great precision with the C330 where I always was a little uncertain with the 124G and sometimes wound up with disappointing shots because of it. Another very biggie, or really a downside with the 124G is the lack of a proper tripod mount. The mount is located in the middle of the knob to release the back and the contact area with the tripod head is very limited and difficult to get really solid. With a MF camera that is a drag, and also I use the hexagonal Bogen QR's and had to use a cork spacer if I wanted to have the camera square with the tripod head because of the little feet on the bottom of the 124G. C330 is great with tripod. Macro capability is also huge, the minimum focus on the Yashica was not great (4' I think?) and with the Mamiya at 8 inches or so it is a far more useful camera.

    Additionally I'd say the build quality with the Mamiya is significantly better, although I've heard the older 124's are more solid than the 124G's. 124G has a light meter but for serious photography it's going to be basically useless.

    My 124G was close to mint and I traded it at a store for a relatively well-used C330 with an 80mm "blue dot" lens, and it was a straight up trade. I think the Yashicas might be a little over priced in the current market and the Mamiyas are a pretty good deal. I see good prices on eBay for the Mamiyas too.

    Hope that helps.

    Dave
     
  7. Paul Ron

    Paul Ron TPF Noob!

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    Sure the C330 is a great pro camera, another animal in itself. The lenses are wonderful n still get high prices but you do pay for that quality difference.

    Good pickup on the macro capabilities of the Mamiya, typical of most of their cameras with bellows. The RB has a great extension, making all it's lenses macro without the need for tubes although they are available. RBs are monsters n can take a beating, built like Russian tanks n will out live us all with a little bit of care on a regular basis. They are meant for heavy use and die of lonelyness sitting in the closet.

    OTOH, The Yash 124G happens to be the sought after model with gold contacts n a meter, but the others were just as good selling much cheaper, under $100 in working condition. But, a good pro quality MF SLR these days is more like $300 and a good deal for the level of quality you are getting. THese SLRs once sold for thousand$ before digital hit the shelves.

    So as for the quality n build in heavy duty pro cameras in the $300 range... SLRs like Bronica n Mamiya is the best bang for the buck. Budget minded shoppers, a light weight MF camera like Yashicamats n pocket folders are the perfect entry level. These innexpensive cameras will serve you well n give pro quality results for any amature looking to have fun.
     
  8. TheCoolerKing

    TheCoolerKing TPF Noob!

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    I got a Toyocaflex on ebay for about 60 bucks.
    Toyocaflex - Camerapedia.org

    Only problem with it was that the shutter was lagging but I found an awesome guy to fix it.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Craig J

    Craig J TPF Noob!

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    I bought my Mamiya C330f professional, with coated 80mm, 180mm lens, and a paramender in a Tamrac bag for $400.00. Lots of good TLR cameras out there but you can not beat the interchangable lenses.

    Craig (Another CJ from Cowtown)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  10. pudentaine58

    pudentaine58 TPF Noob!

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    I like my Mamiflex C2 they're a great camera, I restored one I found at an estate sale, well actually just the leather replaced. By the way I have one problem, I can't get a flash to work. All my settings are correct and the flash even goes off when I try to attach it to the shoe but as far as it going off when I click the shutter, forget it. The only thing I can see is that there is a screw missing of the 3 screws that hold the shoe on...I didn't think that should keep it from working, and I actually put a screw (not a perfect size but close enough to make a connection if needed) in but no luck...anybody have any ideas on what my problem might be?
     
  11. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why a TLR? Is it the 6x6 format or the camera?
     
  12. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That was almost 3 1/2 years ago. I think the OP might have found a camera by now.
     

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