TLR, and other basic questions please help!

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by Riggaberto, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. Riggaberto

    Riggaberto TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking into getting into medium format, but I'm fairly new to photography overall. I like the results and the challenges it seems to require. Here are my questions, I appreciate your patience:

    -I'm confused overall about 120 film. It says you can have 4.5x6, 6x6, ect....but yet it's all 120 film? I dont understand the differences. I was looking on a website called freestyle photographic supplies, and the 120 film they sell doesnt show any mention of size other than 120.

    -I have an old Kodak that takes 620 film. I dont even know how to describe it, but it's not a TLR. The front folds out to the side...How difficult is it to use it with 120 film?

    -Those TLR box cameras:
    --What used models should I look for that are very cheap used but decent enough?
    --Are you stuck with 1 focal length with those things?

    Any other basic advice I should know about medium format about I'm very open to, thanks for the help everyone. I was thinking about buying a holga, but if I can get an old, decently working TLR for not too horribly much I want to look into that.
     
  2. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Holgas have a big following but for other reasons. They give out a very soft (read "pretty unsharp") image around the corners and many love that look. Look into older TLRs like the Yashicas, the Minoltas, Ricohflex as well as a Rolleicord. They are not as expensive as you might think.

    Good luck.
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The film is 6cm across. with 6X4.5, the 6mm is the long side of the rectanbular frame with 4.5 being the short side. With 6X6, the frame is square and with 6X7 the 6cm is the short side of the rectangle. The difference is in the camera and the size of the frame, not the film.

    I don't think you can use 120 film in a 620 camera.

    Yes TLR's except for the Mamiya C330 series, have fixed focal length. The Mamiyas were a 6X6 camera with interchangeable lenses.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    The film is pretty much the same size; the main difference is in the size of the flange that inserts into the end of the spools. The 620 size flange will spin without catching in a 120 spool.

    You can reroll 120 film onto 620 spools, but I've found that for many of my 620 cameras I just need to use an empty 620 spool on the take-up side. I can load the camera with 120 film (on a 120 spool), because all the action is controlled on the take-up side. Sometimes there are film tension issues, but that can usually be solved by tucking a folded wad of paper between the roll and the inside of the camera body.

    I also have a couple of 620 cameras where the previous owner did a DIY modification to the film roll flanges to enlarge them so they'd work with 120 spools. It just looks like they took a small bit of sheet metal, bent it in half around the exisiting flange, and super glued it in.
     
  5. Riggaberto

    Riggaberto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the film help everyone I understand now.

    So does everyone agree that a Yashica might be a good starter? If it's not in great condition it's fine for me as long as the fucntionality is decent. I talked to Mitica100 a bit and he reccomended a Yashica A or D as a low cost option. I still dont know enough about the different models to decide but I'm looking into it.
     
  6. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't overlook the Rolleicords and the Minolta Autocords. You'll need a separate exposure meter with either one, but it shouldn't be a reason to disregard them. I have an old Minolta Autocord which still performs like a trooper.
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    My Autocord needed the shutter adjusting but it was well worth it. Now it works perfectly and I can take advantage of the great lens. There's nothing quite like using 50-year-old cameras to remind you that you don't actually need that new dSLR :lol:

    Of course there are plenty of options; as has been said there's Rolleis, Yashicas, Mamiyas, Ricohflexes, and plenty of others - lots of companies produced TLRs at some point. Yashica have always been recommended as a good value TLR but as a result everyone looks for one so they're not always that cheap. Rolleis tend to be more expensive but look around and you could find a bargain. The Mamiya C cameras are usually relatively expensive. Ricoh tend to be less expensive but are still very good. Don't be afraid to look at all sorts, including names you've never heard of, and do a bit of Googling - you never know, you might find a real bargain or something rare.
     
  8. CDG

    CDG TPF Noob!

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    I have not yet received my "nice" medium format cameras I bought on fleabay. I will report back how they do. I will warn you from buying cameras and gear on ebay in the past, do not bid on a camera unless you're fairly certain it's in serviceable order. Or, if it's exceptionally cheap, try to ask yourself why, although from experience, sometimes getting incredible prices on ebay works, and sometimes it doesn't.

    Like recently I got a Polaroid Automatic 220. I saw it was covered in crud but decided to take the $6 gamble and after about 2 hours invested in cleanup with cotton swabs, Q-tips and some agressive cleaners where the Polaroid packfilm had corroded the rollers and I think the camera should be a good "beater" piece to take places and not worry about (too much). :) But in general the above is a "gamble" rather than a surefire way to get into rectangular format Polaroid packfilm.

    I own a Spartus Full Vue that I purchased recently. It uses regular 120 film even though it's a cheap camera. I've seen some cool pictures, reminiscent of lomographs taken with a Holga camera or something taken with this model. While I'm glad my Spartus does not require 620 film, I can vouch that I've read that you can simply roll 120 film onto a 620 reel and get the same thing. There are some online stores dedicted to even more obscure film types too- I'm often amazed at the stuff some people manage to dig up and get processed.

    I can't comment on the performance of my Spartus otherwise (first roll shot today so I'll be getting it developed later), but if you're looking for a camera just to mess around with and get your feet wet with, maybe take some spartan photographs, I wouldn't discount using a really old "point and shoot" TLR. My Spartus is about as complicated as a rock and only required some minor cleanup to make working again. Unfortunately though quality is all over the place on those old models (the Spartus was considered low end in its day). Often you get poor lens quality, slow shutters and poor quality viewfinders and mirrors.

    Google is your friend. Be wary of the info you find on the net, but there are some good resources- often whole owner's manuals that dedicated people have put out there for folks like you or me who just want to learn a little more about this stuff before investing the big bucks in a serious setup. :)

    Otherwise though I can't be of any specific assistance. Hope this gives you some help though!
     
  9. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    My (beloved!) Argoflex E cost me about $35 on ebay. It needed a little work to make the shutter function again, but it works great now. In fact, I think I'm going to start using it again. I really do like the thing.

    Also, Seagull makes TLRs, so they can be purchased new. They start at $140 on B&H. I've never used one, but I plan to add one to my collection in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. TLRs are just too much fun!

    Another thread on respooling: http://thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55749
     

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