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Photography Question 
Michelle J. Adamick

Twin Lens Reflex Cameras

Can someone explain to me what exactly a twin lens reflex camera is and what it does? Thank you!

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12/28/2004 12:22:10 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  A twin lens reflex has two lenses on the front of the camera. The lower one sits in front of the diaphragm and when the shutter is released allows light [the subject's image] to pass to the film.

The second is used to view the subject. Light [the image] is directed to a prism that direct the image to the view finder, which sits on top of the camera body. The subject is "reversed" in theat left appears as right, and vice versa. All focusing controls are tied to the view finder/top lens.

Note there will be a little difference between the viewed subject and that recorded on the film. That's because of the slightly offset lens axes of the two lenses.

Historically, Rollei was the leading manufacturer of twin lens reflex cameras. The Rollieflex models are probably still available as used cameras and remain popular. There are at least two manufacturers [the Russian Seagull, being one] that have been well reviewed. Check one of the major photo magazines for prices. pop Photo may have a review of the Seagull in its archives.

Hope this helps. Happy New year.


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12/28/2004 5:14:36 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Rollei still makes a TLR but it isn't cheap. One advantage of a TLR is flash sync at all speads. Another advantage of the Rollei TLR is the Rollei lens. TLRs have no mirror so the shutter is as quiet as a mouse urinating on cotton. Also, there is no camera shake from a flapping mirror. BTW, the Seagull is Chinese and getting a good one is a sometimes thing. Getting a good Rollei is a given. I would love to have another one.

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12/28/2004 6:49:05 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Mamiya and Yashica TLRs are available used only, but are generally of better build and optical quality than the Seagull.

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12/28/2004 8:54:13 AM

Michelle J. Adamick   Thank you very much for all of your replies. I'm not sure I'm ready to buy one yet though, they are very expensive for my student budget! I think also I'd love to buy a medium format camera first. (Already have a Canon EOS).

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12/28/2004 11:44:47 AM

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