June 4, 2010 at 1:48 am #1854
Let us see what we found in our pocketses…er, on Ebay for our birthday
Ah, a Rolleiflex Automat RF111A! Seriously found an amazing deal on this beautiful camera! And yes, I am here to make any and all jealous! Seriously, the camera looks like it’s seven years old instead of over seventy!
Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.
Even if I did have to buy it for myself! 😀June 4, 2010 at 2:38 am #29211nobigdealParticipant
Sweet!!!! Congrats and happy birthday!June 4, 2010 at 2:39 am #29212linguineParticipant
Cool present and happy birthday.June 4, 2010 at 3:21 am #29213lokisbongParticipant
Very cool present and a damn fine description of said camera. Happy birthday Indeed!June 4, 2010 at 3:27 am #29214LeicaLensParticipant
(Where’s the “green” with envy emoticon when you need it?).
I am looking to buy an MF camera, maybe a Rolleiflex, but I think my budget will only stretch to the poor man’s version: a Yashica.
And Happy Birthday!June 4, 2010 at 6:05 am #29215
Congrads on your find! Now please tell me more about your precious so I can understand and envy appropriately. There were a couple old cameras in my family that were lost in a fire 5 or so years ago, one had the dual lens thing like this one.June 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm #29216
Now please tell me more about your precious so I can understand and envy appropriately.
A Twin Lens Reflex or TLR uses two separate lens to photograph the subject. The viewing lens on top is for composition and focus while the shooting lens contains the shutter mechanism and handles the physical exposure. The mirror in a TLR is between the two lens and displays the images on a ground glass view screen in the top of the camera, to shoot one looks down onto the image, compose, focus and shoot. Rather than 35mm film, the camera uses 120 or 220 film, which has a 6 cm by 6cm negative allowing far larger prints than the much smaller 35mm format, this is called medium format film. (There is also large format film which is just that,larger. Elsinore has a monster large format TLR which is simply awesome!) Medium format is the choice for print photography because of the flexibility of size without loss of detail. There are several SLR MF cameras, the cost is quite prohibitive.
Why am all a twitter over a 70 years old Rolleiflex in particular. Two reasons, first is they are just cool. They are well engineered, beautifully crafted and, in my opinion, an elegant camera for a more civilized age! 🙂 Second, the lens in the cameras are par excellence, their clarity, color and construction are simply better than anything short of the finest luxury glass made today. The Rollei company simply made the best cameras for professionals bar none.
Oh, and LeicaLens, I bought this one for a Yashica price. It was my plan to buy a Yashica Mat 124 but I found this one buried in an Ebay auction with very few bidders. (It was a risky buy, it could’ve been a real junker, couldn’t tell from the pics.) I’ve always been lucky on my Ebay buys and this was definitely luck.June 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm #29217orionidParticipant
Score!June 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm #29218ElsinoreKeymaster
As to the TLR’s, there is a similar subset of cameras that are sometimes referred to as “pseudo-TLR’s” or “bubble glass” TLR’s. These had two lenses like ennuipoet‘s new Rollei, however, they were more like the 1950’s equivalent of today’s point and shoot cameras. Instead of a decent quality viewing lens and ground glass viewfinder, they used bubble glass (so named for the fact that it had a curved surface), which made for a bright viewfinder, albeit somewhat distorted at the edges due to the curvature. This didn’t really matter, though, since the photo was taken with the bottom lens (unless you do Through the Viewfinder Photography when you actually want to capture that exact view, of course 😉 ) The pseudo-TLR’s–cameras like the Kodak Duaflex, Brownie Reflex Synchro, Anscoflex, etc–were fixed focus and fixed exposure. Their taking lenses were usually plastic, and the apertures were small for maximum depth of field. These cameras are very commonly found in flea markets and on ebay, and they’re typically very cheap ($20 or less).
As for large format TLR’s, believe it or not, there’s been a 5×7 and 8×10 size TLR manufactured…they would make my 4×5 TLR look teeny, and that thing weighs 12.5 pounds as it is! 😆June 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm #29219
Well, now I’m impressed! Thanks for the info. It’s ironic, too. Today I went to an estate sale; actually looking for an old camera. I found a Kodak Brownie, in it’s original box, with instructions, flash, everything, for $15. When I looked through the manual I saw it had no focus or any adjustments; it read it was good for 5ft to infinity, took exposures on 2.5″x2.5″ film, for prints 3.5×3.5 inch, etc. Though the manual didn’t say, it looked very 1950ish by the illustrations, etc. I didn’t buy it. I figured I’d come here and ask first. Hope I didn’t miss out on a deal; but from Els’s post, I gather not.
I did get some neat things, though. The best find was a 1801 bible, complete with someone’s family history to 1755. And an end table for my recliner. And two solid-wood chests (they look like a kid’s project in woodworking from long ago; treasure-chest style solid doweled construction, but none-to-fancy). And a semi-vintage 1960’s large jewelry box that will nicely hold all my telescopic lenses, filters, etc.. All for $43 bucks. If the Brownie is worth it, please let me know; it’s a huge estate sale in a little house that was crammed wall to wall and floor to roof with boxes (I love hoarders; you never know what you’ll find!!), new stuff tomorrow morning at 7am, I’ll stop by tomorrow and see if it (or anything else) is there and maybe grab it.June 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm #29220sleepingParticipant
15$ doesn’t seem totally unreasonable, but it’s not really a bargain either (you could probably get one for less on ebay) unless it happens to be some rare/collectible model. There are tons (probably literally) of those old cameras out there, and unless the optics are fogged up or have fungus in them, they tend to work fine because there’s not much to go wrong with them. It’s basically just a light tight box with a simple lens and spring shutter, as well as the sprockets for the film rolls….
The thing to look for past the basic condition if you want one to shoot cheaply and easily is one that takes 120 film instead of 620 or any of the other oddball sizes out there. That tends to mean European not American makers and particularly not a kodak (620 was their format).
The results will be closer to a Holga than a Hasselblad for anything like that, although you won’t probably get the light leaks or extreme vignetting.June 5, 2010 at 3:14 am #29221orionidParticipant
And you can stuff 35mm film in them for gits and shiggles!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionid/sets/72157622909049658/June 5, 2010 at 6:01 am #29222
The instructions indicated 2.5×2.5 inch negatives, 12 to a roll. I have no idea how that translates to 120 or whatnot. Seems that that size negative would blow up pretty nicely, though. Apparently this lady was such a hoarder that they are doing the estate sale in parts, and more stuff will be out tomorrow, so I’ll go back. If the camera is there, I’ll take a closer look. Or maybe there will be another that looks more promising. Thanks for you’re help! (And nice pics, orionid–that’s pretty cool!)June 5, 2010 at 11:34 am #29223
I may be turning into a hoarder! 😀 I buy old cameras not just to use, but to collect. I’ve a Polaroid Land 80 Highlander that is in mint condition, the film for it hasn’t be produced in the mid 70’s. Aside from the aesthetics, there is something almost magical in holding something in your hands that someone used to capture moments of their lives with. I think about the things a camera must have seen, and in a way connect with them. The older the camera, the more I day dream about it.
I’m strange, I admit, but it appeals to the poet in me.June 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm #29224ElsinoreKeymaster
ravnostic: Are you sure they didn’t say 2.25×2.25? That’s medium format 120/220/620. The film size is all the same, but 620 had a slightly different sized spool (and was proprietary to Kodak as sleeping mentioned). 120 and 620 have 12 frames to a roll while 220 has 24 frames. Btw, 120 can be respooled onto 620 reels so you can actually still shoot with those cameras. Alternatively, you can file down 120 spools to fit in 620 cameras if you’re feeling adventuresome enough to either respool or file down. B&H also sells already respooled 620, but of course it’s more expensive that way. So yeah, if you have a choice, stick with a non-Kodak that takes 120 😉
ennuipoet: You’re speaking my language. As I sit here with my 23 or 25 some-odd cameras…
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