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Choosing a medium format film camera

When you write 120G I assume you mean the Mat 124G since I can't find a reference for a 120G. I have both the 124G and the Rolleiflex T and like them both. I can't really see any difference in photo quality between them. My 124G has a light meter that works, my T doesn't have one(although it was available with). The 124G's light meter requires a battery(1.4v) to operate; my T doesn't use a battery. The T's viewfinder is brighter, the 124G's somewhat dimmer; since you intend street photography which is typically fairly close range that might not matter. When it comes to CLA's for the Yashica, Bob Sara and Mark Hamas are top technicians;, as are International Camera Technicians(ICT). For the Rolleiflex T you run into problems. What few technicians there are here in the U.S. that work on Rollei's are reluctant to work on the T due to parts availability. Others charge super expensive rates. I just had a Rolleiflex 2.8F repaired and CLA'd by ICT and they did a super job, but it required more than a CLA(there was impact damage, broken and bent springs etc). My T has never been CLA'd, it just keeps chugging along. I actually prefer using the T more than the 124G, but that's where personal preference comes along. From the viewpoint of available repair resources then the 124G is a better option.
Oops! Thanks, yes, it's a 124G. Sounds like the Yashika is the more practical way to go. Cheaper, easier to service, good pictures.

So thanks! Now all I have to do it bite the bullet and pull the trigger. (What happens when you pull the trigger while you're biting the bullet, anyhow?)
 
Oops! Thanks, yes, it's a 124G. Sounds like the Yashika is the more practical way to go. Cheaper, easier to service, good pictures.

So thanks! Now all I have to do it bite the bullet and pull the trigger. (What happens when you pull the trigger while you're biting the bullet, anyhow?)

Before you do, look up Bob Sara, CLA Studio, Orlando, FL. His fully restored models, including new leatherette covers, is probably less than you'll spend on an unknown used one with CLA service, parts and covers. Plus you'll be shooting instead of waiting, because the guys still doing service don't get in a hurry. 3-6 months lead time isn't unheard of.

Trust me after spending all the time DIY on mine, if I'd seen them first, I'd be shooting, already.
 
There's no doubting the enjoyment and quality of a TLR or most other medium format cameras for that matter, but to capture any spontaneous street scene photos your gonna need to have your reaction and camera handling technique pretty well polished.
I seldom do street scenes and my 635 and especially myRB67 wouldn't be what I'd call spontaneous. But with a bit of practice I think the Pentax 645 could be. Of course not if compared to a 35mm of DSLR. Sometimes I kick myself in the head for giving it to my nephew but the up side is he's made good use of it.
 
I seldom do street scenes and my 635 and especially myRB67 wouldn't be what I'd call spontaneous. But with a bit of practice I think the Pentax 645 could be. Of course not if compared to a 35mm of DSLR. Sometimes I kick myself in the head for giving it to my nephew but the up side is he's made good use of it.
Yes, these cameras deserve to be used, I had a 645 some years ago, I found it a bit front heavy, but deeply regret getting rid of it, they all take great photos, and photographers like Vivien Maier put her TLR,s to very good use.
 
Yes, these cameras deserve to be used, I had a 645 some years ago, I found it a bit front heavy, but deeply regret getting rid of it, they all take great photos, and photographers like Vivien Maier put her TLR,s to very good use.

Different times, different technology. Maier shot primarily for her own satisfaction and despite her prolific shooting, died destitute and undiscovered until after her death in 2009. In her case as in Ansel Adam's, the equipment wasn't the reason for their legacy, it was "what they captured". I have to believe that all these old photographers we revere today would have welcomed the abilities of today's technology, because as artists the legacy is in the end work created, not the route chosen to get there.
 
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Different times, different technology. Maier shot primarily for her own satisfaction and despite her prolific shooting, died destitute and undiscovered until after her death in 2009. In her case as in Ansel Adam's, the equipment wasn't the reason for their legacy, it was "what they captured". I have to believe that all these old photographers we revere today would have welcomed the abilities of today's technology, because as a artists the legacy is in the end work created, not the route chosen to get there.
Amen. Too many friends get snared in the cult of old cameras' alleged ability to bestow a super power on whoever trips the shutter to produce exceptional images. Were that it was true...
 
Slightly off topic but true story that has happened more times than you think.......

Customer buys a camera made in late 1970's and a fresh roll of color print film.
Customer has film developed and scanned sent via Dropbox.
Customer calls to complain to the lab that the images look "new" and not like old photos he has seen on Pinterest. Like why does my photos look new, I shot them with an old camera.........!
Lab tech rolls eyes.
 
Amen. Too many friends get snared in the cult of old cameras' alleged ability to bestow a super power on whoever trips the shutter to produce exceptional images. Were that it was true...

Yup, goes the other way also, those that think if they have the latest, greatest model, they'll produce better images.
 
Slightly off topic but true story that has happened more times than you think.......

Customer buys a camera made in late 1970's and a fresh roll of color print film.
Customer has film developed and scanned sent via Dropbox.
Customer calls to complain to the lab that the images look "new" and not like old photos he has seen on Pinterest. Like why does my photos look new, I shot them with an old camera.........!
Lab tech rolls eyes.
Wish I was closer just to buy you a sympathetic beer for that one! Guess it's an occupational hazard.
 
Yes, these cameras deserve to be used, I had a 645 some years ago, I found it a bit front heavy, but deeply regret getting rid of it, they all take great photos, and photographers like Vivien Maier put her TLR,s to very good use.
I been thinking and I think the people that excelled with the older cameras, twin lens ect, were people that would have excelled with what ever camera they had. They knew how view a photo and how to put it in the camera and how to expose the frame.
 
Both the cameras you've listed are very good, but neither cameras have interchangeable lenses, if this is something you might need, there's a few out there that you can do so, Mamiya made a few, I used a C330 s for a lot of my work for magazine work
Did you ever try the C330 for anything even vaguely similar to street grabs ? If so, how did that work out ?
 
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If one is considering Street shooting with vintage gear (of ANY format size) then first deploy your current modern gear for the task but using the vintage camera procedure. If you cant master the procedure while using your familiar gear then its hopeless to attempt it with vintage gear.

Here are the basics of vintage Street work. Try it with your current gear and practice until you succeed. With digital gear practice at ISO 1250, jpeg only, and monochrome. You need a manual focusing scale, preferably on an adapted old MF lens ($50). Heres the How-To:

• Film and soup that provide 4-digit ASA speed.
• Have no concern about grain.
• Reliance on deep DoF and prefocusing, or estimated focus by the focusing scale.
• Prefocus accurately on a target at similar distance to your intended subject.
• Expect to crop, for both leveling and "reach".
• Learn to shoot without using the viewfinder.
• Raise camera to eye level for no more than a very brief moment and then quickly lower it. You are aiming, NOT composing. You composed before raising the camera.

Attached typical examples are with both digital and film gear. Note reliance on deep DoF and on high-ish shutter speeds. These are all grab shots. All strangers to me, and Im not hired to document any events (IOW no priveleged access or permission).
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Did you ever try the C330 for anything even vaguely similar to street grabs ? If so, how did that work out ?
No, street photography has never been my thing, but I can't see why it couldn't be used for it, majority of the time the camera was fitted onto a tripod, but from time to time I did use it with just just the strap around my neck.
 
Hello, TPF!
I'd like to get a medium-format 6x6 film camera for black-and-white street photography. I've found a couple of used cameras online from reputable dealers: a Yashika 120G for $300 and a Rollei Rolleiflex 3.5 T for $550. They both seem promising, but I know nothing about medium-format cameras.
I have a little bit of darkroom experience — not enough to really know what I'm doing, but enough to know what I'm getting into. As a hobbyist on a budget, the one I get should be a keeper, not something to upgrade from later. What matter are sturdiness and image quality.
Thoughts? Advice? Thanks!

Hello, TPF!
I'd like to get a medium-format 6x6 film camera for black-and-white street photography. I've found a couple of used cameras online from reputable dealers: a Yashika 120G for $300 and a Rollei Rolleiflex 3.5 T for $550. They both seem promising, but I know nothing about medium-format cameras.
I have a little bit of darkroom experience — not enough to really know what I'm doing, but enough to know what I'm getting into. As a hobbyist on a budget, the one I get should be a keeper, not something to upgrade from later. What matter are sturdiness and image quality.
Thoughts? Advice? Thanks!
In my experience, and that of several users I've known, the mechanical quality of Rolleiflex and Yashica TLR's leaves much to be desired. Far more practical would be any one of the Mamiya TLR's - they all have a proven track record for durability, and they offer lens interchangeability to boot. And the image quality is nothing to sneeze at. My Rolleiflex has the 75 f/3.5 Zeiss Planar lens, probably the best of all the options, but it's useless since the focus gear is off the rail, and the shutter speed/aperture mechanism appears to be stripped. And it's been babied, same as all my gear.
Though I prefer 6 x 7 or 6 x 9 format, when it's too crowded to set up my big cameras on a tripod I use a 6 x 6 Super Fujica-6 folding rangefinder with a 7.5cm f/3.5 Fujinar, bought new in Tokyo about 1966 and still in near-perfect condition.
When you have made your choice, be sure to let us know how you're getting on with it.
 

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