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General photography questions and answers: Discuss TLR Has anyone had any experience....Roy Hargreaves, a retired photographer from Blackpool/Preston, Lancashire, came to the photographic society that I am a new member of, ...
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Old 16-05-2007, 10:31   #1 (permalink)
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TLR Has anyone had any experience.

Roy Hargreaves, a retired photographer from Blackpool/Preston, Lancashire, came to the photographic society that I am a new member of, and he gave a presentation/talk, on his life as a pro. With him he brought some amazing 20"x20" prints he had taken. They were amazing images, some of which had won Fuji Awards. These prints were taken with a Rollei TLR, and I was so impressed that I was thinking of trying to obtain a Rollei or similar for portraits, but before rushing out and being hasty I thought I would seek advice from my more knowledgeable brothers/sisters on pixalo.

Do any of you guys use tlr or have you had any experience using medium format and what advice if any would you give to somebody wanting to explore that aspect of photography.
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Old 16-05-2007, 10:45   #2 (permalink)
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Re: TLR Has anyone had any experience.

I have no experience of that camera, but I can tell you that medium format photography equipment has long been the choice for fashion and commercial (advertising) photographers, simply because the sheer size of the negative allows for a greater amount of detail to be captured and therefore reproduced in print.

In very real terms there is no difference between shooting portraiture with any kind of camera; lighting of your subject and overall composition are more important than the equipment used. Only the absolute image detail will be different.

So, in closing - worry less about your equipment and get some insights from Roy about subject matter, composition and lighting... these are far more critical aspects to good portraiture than the camera and lens you are using.

[Edit] Sidenote: it is commonly accepted by many photographers that a digital capture in the 10 ~ 12MP range is as good as most medium format film scans in terms of picture quality - especially 16bpp images that have carefully been converted from RAW files. I personally have printed tack-sharp 20x30" prints from my D2X.
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Old 16-05-2007, 11:03   #3 (permalink)
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Re: TLR Has anyone had any experience.

When you talk about TLR's, most people think of Rollieflex, quite rightly considered the ultimate TLR. However, as always there are good alternatives.

I've got a late Rolliecord 5b, circa 1959. You don't get the fast f2.8 lenses that the rollieflex had, but they do provide everything you would need in all other respects.

If you can source one, I think it was Yashica that did a fairly respectable TLR at a very affordable price, but my memory will not give me the model.

There were also some Russian TLR's made, and I may well have my Son's one in the loft somewhere, again, I can't even remember the maker.

One thing to bear in mind is that the leaf shutters used in all of these cameras, especially if they are not used much can become sticky. Dirt and or corrosion can affect the leaves ability to slide over each other smoothly, and the return springs can become streched or break.

Gray's of Westminster, now a Nikon dealer used to be a Rollie specialist so could give advice on what to look for, and maybe the other types.

I've also got a Bronica. These modular cameras are much more versatile inasmuch as you can change film backs, so you can shoot colour print, black & white transparencies or even polaroid in any order and without having to complete using the film. You can also change lenses, focussing screens and viewfinders, but even now, the costs are high. Check out the price of used Bronica lenses to see. Mamiya are also a modular MF camera, and not so long ago the current Nikon/Canon revalry was Bronica/Mamiya.

Pentax used to do a 6x6 camera that looked exactly like a modern SLR because it was just a big SLR. These cameras were highly rated due to their simplicity and riggedness, plus you could changes the lenses - but not the film.

This has turned into a bit of a saga - hope it helps.
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Old 16-05-2007, 12:09   #4 (permalink)
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Re: TLR Has anyone had any experience.

I have owned a couple of Rolleicords a Rolleiflex and a Yashicamat 124G.
If I were to recommend one it would be the Yashica as the 124G has a built in SPD light sensor which saves the hassle of carrying around a light meter or trusting to the sunny sixteen rule.
I also felt the Yashica lens gave better contrast than Rollei.
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Old 16-05-2007, 12:15   #5 (permalink)
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Re: TLR Has anyone had any experience.

In addition to my opening gambit I can say the Hasselblad V system cameras are a joy to use and can be had at reasonable prices.
I am thinking of buying a chrome one just as a piece of "Objet Dart'".
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Old 16-05-2007, 15:46   #6 (permalink)
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Re: TLR Has anyone had any experience.

Thanks Vikingphotography, Dabhand16 and Soupdragon. Interesting thoughts but I am still unsure, I suppose I should carry on with my digi 35ml and try and improve and learn first. I just got a bit of an impulse to check TLR out when I saw the prints. If the Yashicamat 124g is the way for me to go as the light meter is built in and affordable, but I think I will hold my horses for the time being.

Thanks all who replied.
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