I am a Medium Format guy who can’t afford a Hasselblad or a Rolleiflex, so I have several working TLRs which I use regularly. My favorites are a Yashica LM, similar to the Mat124, and a Ricoh Diacord. I also have two Argus TLRs and a Ciro-Flex F. The Argus cameras and Ciroflex are American made and considered second rate. So how bad, or good are they, really? None have light meters or double exposure prevention and all use the “ruby window” for frame counting.
Medium Format TLR
Late last year I was confined to my apartment for a week and that opened an opportunity for me to write about a 6 x 6 format camera that I have been meaning to buy for years. That medium format camera is the redoubtable Mamiya C330f Twin Lens Reflex. I own two Rolleiflex TLRs, a 3.5 E and T with a prism finder; I should be happy with these two MF TLRs. But I was intrigued by the possibility of added versatility that the Mamiya could bring to the table, so I pulled the trigger on one being auctioned on eBay. The seller stated that he was not sure if the camera was working or not, and that he did not know much about it to say that it worked. But the kicker was the “Buy it now” price: $25 plus shipping.
When I first bought and tried a Rolleiflex I fell in love with TLRs. They are by no means perfect, but very quirky and eye-catching. I love that. Yes I am that kind of person. I could say that I also love the way the cameras operate and how they involve me more in the process and all these things. But that’s not an excuse for buying another one. I own a perfectly good Rolleiflex 2,8 F, overhauled and in great working condition. This is arguably one of the finest TLRs out there. So if it was about the photography, there would hardly be a reason to get more TLRs.
I shot a roll with a twin-lens reflex camera (TLR) for the first time this month. But long before I used a TLR in real life, I loved the idea of it – so much so that I thought the reality was almost bound to disappoint. What camera could possibly live up to such high expectations. Enter: the Minolta Autocord.