My first TLR was also my first medium
format camera: a fairly beat-up Mamiya
C33 with an 80mm lens that I got for $100.
I thought that was a pretty good deal, but
after I developed and printed some neg's
from it, I thought it was the bargain of a
lifetime. I had some trouble loading the 120
film onto the developing reel, so the neg's
had some of those crescent-moon-shaped
marks on them from the film getting
crimped, but the detail and tonal range
amazed me. One thing I didn't like about
that camera was that it didn't seem suitable
for handholding, and I suppose the fact that
I usually used it on a tripod partially
accounted for the great detail I always found
in the images from it.
The C33 is no longer with me, having developed a
succession of problems that forced me to put it out
to pasture, but it did last long enough to come with
me on my first trip to Japan and it still seems like the
bargain of a lifetime.
After the demise of my C33 I was without a twin
lens reflex for a long time. I all but forgot the special
pleasure of looking down into the groundglass and
finding balance within that quiet, possibility-filled
square frame. Acquiring a Yashica 124G about a
year ago brought it all back to me and immediately
rekindled my appreciation of the TLR; so much so
that I soon thereafter bought a Rolleiflex 2.8E.
These two TLRs are both well suited to handheld
shooting and give great results in 'walking around'
photography. They are quite a bit larger than most
of my folding MF cameras, but there's something
about looking down onto that focusing screen, not
having to bring the camera up to your face, that
makes the TLR a lot 'easier' to use in many
situations. I love the antiquated beasts.
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