Are TLRs a good way to discover medium-format photography?

I guess another way to pose the question would be “are TLRs still relevant”?

Film photography appears to be holding its own in this digital world but have twin-lens reflex cameras lost their appeal? Obviously, not all vintage and classic camera sales go to just collectors – many of these 40 and 50-year-old cameras are being purchased and used by today’s crop of film photographers looking for a way to explore medium-format images without breaking the bank.

dscf3787

Typical twin-lens reflex (TLR) film camera.

I decided to take a snapshot of just completed sales of cameras that were listed as “TLR – Film Cameras – Sold” on eBay.

tlr sold list

The top six are –

  • Mamiya
  • Yashica
  • Rolleiflex
  • Lubitel
  • Rollei
  • Konica Minolta

This list goes back to the last few days of January 2019 and does include some accessories (lenses, lens caps, cases) that are not cameras. So the total numbers will be a bit skewed.

Here’s the list searching for “TLR Camera – Film Cameras – Sold” on eBay which removed accessories like lenses, cases and other minor parts.

tlr list

The top six are –

  • Yashica
  • Mamiya
  • Rolleiflex
  • Rollei
  • Konica Minolta
  • Minolta

This represents an unscientific look at the popularity of TLRs as a viable tool for enjoying medium-format (6×6 cm) photography. 120 roll film is still widely available and it’s easy to find online companies that develop the film.

53580006

6×6 cm image taken with my Yashica-Mat EM TLR. Learning to compose and shoot this square format takes a bit of practice but the quality of the finished picture is worth it.

dscf3060

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

My camera shop is always open and it can be found at http://www.ccstudio2380.com – I’ve got a big sale in progress with some super savings… check it out!

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Are TLRs a good way to discover medium-format photography?

  1. I’ve got one of those and it is a good way to start. The camera itself was fairly cheap and once you get used to the dark (but quite large) focus screen being the wrong way around and account for parallax, you can get some good results out of it. I find it needs a lot of light to make a good image though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed on all counts. With an f3.5 80mm viewing lens it does require a fair amount of light to see the image clearly on the focusing screen. I tend to shoot mainly in bright light with mine and love using Neopan 100 for the fine grain, excellent grays and blacks, and wide exposure latitude.

      Like

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