Film scratching that TLR camera itch

Milwaukee, WI USA
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I love looking down into a waist-level finder. I love the big format and shallower DOF that is achievable. I love the way they break down the barriers between photographer and street subjects (people are more curious about the old-timey looking camera than fearful that you are taking their picture).

But I'm spoiled by modern camera functions. I'm sure it's heresy.....and please don't hurl rocks and garbage at me. But is there a TLR camera that exists with built-in light metering? I don't want to carry a light meter or learn the Sunny 16 rule. I don't need auto-focus and I don't mind selecting shutter speed or aperture.

Despite the fact that I don't want to learn how to expose "properly", I also don't want a toy camera with a plastic lens. Nothing against them......I kind of like those images too. But what I really want is a TLR camera that I can use in Aperture-Priority mode or Shutter-Priority mode (if one exists).

I just spent a little time researching it, but figured some of you experts could answer this query faster.

p.s...... what I'd really love is a digital one, but not some toy 3MP version....why won;t someone make one?


Old Codgers Group

I think you'll find the answer is no, certainly not in the sense you mean. These things tended to be designed before things got automated. The nearest is perhaps the CdS porrofinder attachment for the Mamiya TLR, but that is only a light meter that replaces the normal finder hood, it's not linked to any controls, and you'd loose the waist level finder facility having to look through an eye level finder.

I've got a nice Mamiya 330f TLR sitting in a cupboard, and saw someone using one last year up on Dartmoor, his grandson was carrying the bulk of his equipment.


Ray Sachs

Not too far from Philly
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you should be able to figure it out...
Here's an idea for an entrepreneur that specializes in VERY small markets! Build an old Rollie looking body that something like an EPL3 or a Nex C3 will fit into. The top sunscreen is just a dummy to better hide the up-tilting screen. Actually a true TLR, with its really vertical orientation might not work for this, but there were those old medium format cameras that you composed from above using the same type of screen, but they were sort of long front to back and about square if you looked at them from the front or back. One of those could be faked pretty well.

But that's all a lot of bother. When I'm looking down into the screen of an EPL3, nobody seems to think that you might be looking at them. So disguise is probably overkill. And when the EM5 shows up with the EP3 touch to shoot feature on that up-tilting screen and a somewhat quieter shutter, you can shoot without having a hand anywhere near the shutter button, which would arouse even less suspicion. Not that I've had any real trouble with people when I'm shooting with a more obvious camera, but that looking down into the frame is just something that tips NOBODY off.



Hall of Famer
Caguas, Puerto Rico
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Some old Rolleis have built in selenium meters. Whether they still work is another story. The more modern 2.8gx and fx have meters as well, but are extremely pricy. The Yashica Mat 124G has a cds meter as well.


Luke ... Luke ... Luke ... what's happening on this forum?

Antonio buys (another) film camera, then Barrie buys a film camera, then I buy a film camera ... now you want to buy a film camera ... what's more, you want a film camera of a type that was invented even before the rangefinders the rest of us are buying ... :eek:

the question now arises ... who's going to be the first to get a wet-plate camera?


Someone who recently saw my pictures recommended that I get a medium format film camera. Perhaps we are circling back around...

Someone on the DPR Ricoh forum proposed that the next GXR body essentially be a TLR with the LCD on top.

I would be interested in a digital TLR.

One thing I'm curious about is why the TLR came to be. At one point did the focusing screen on top thing happen and why?
p.s...... what I'd really love is a digital one, but not some toy 3MP version....why won;t someone make one?

Why not use a NEX? That tilt up LCD makes waist level use possible. There are also things like this that attach to a NEX to make focusing with MF lenses from the waist easier.


Zemun, Serbia

And BTW, maybe you should check out Ricoh Diacord also. It has a good reputation, and might be cheaper.




As a Yashica Mat owner I just wanted to offer my two cents. I love my Mat EM, though the meter is flaky at best so I wind up doing sunny 16 or using a handheld meter (or iPhone). The 124G is a nice camera but the prices have been driven up quite a bit on the 'Bay. When my EM broke I wound up getting a 124G at a camera swap meet for a very good price but wound up selling the 124G to a friend on Flickr and then having Mark Hama fix my Mat EM, mainly because the EM was in such nice shape and the 124G was pretty rough.

A shot from the Mat EM.

Grant Street by Arachide, on Flickr


Roseburg, Oregon
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My first venture into medium format was with a Yashica Mat 124G with a working Cds meter in mint condition for $125. The meter was dead on and I've printed many 11 x 14 images from those negs. One of the dumbest things (among many) I've done is sold that Yashica. I'm sure I'll buy another one in the not too distant future. Just my .02....


The tonal range and textures in pictogramax' "Bloomfield Station", and in the man's shirt in arachide's "Grant Street" are wonderful aren't they? (the latter is off the plane of focus but still manages to be rich and detailed) ... be interesting to see them printed

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