Medium Format (TLR)

Shot with Yashica Mat 124G on Kodak T-Max 400

TLR camera stands for Twin Lens Reflex camera. These are the bricks with two lenses, both the same focal range, where one is used for focusing thru the viewfinder system, and another one for actually taking photos.

Shot with Yashica Mat 124G on Kodak T-Max 400

The viewfinder, in addition to the lens, has a mirror at 45-degree, a matte screen and a pop-up hood or prism finder. The lenses are interconnected, and if the camera is calibrated, the focus on the screen is the exact one as on the film.

Shot with Yashica Mat 124G on Kodak T-MAX 400

I love to use these cameras, and as of now, I have two working ones and one that I use for display, because the mirror is broken. The two working ones are Yashica Mat 124 and Yashica Mat 124G, the latter has fully working light metering system. The one on display is a Soviet-era Lubitel 166U, with pretty soft lens, but very light and really small for a medium format camera.

Shot with Yashica Mat 124G on Kodak Portra 800, image on the right was pushed to ISO 3200

here’s a slight inconvenience in getting used to these, since the image is flipped horizontally (like seeing everything in a mirror), and when you turn the camera to your right, the image goes left, and vice versa. Which can make you miss some shots, especially if you are about to do street shooting.

Shot with Yashica Mat 124G on Kodak Portra 800, two top images were pushed to ISO 3200

But ones you get used to it, the TLRs are fun cameras, capable of very quick composing and focusing, and producing candid photos. As you can see below, even the plasticy Lubitel with its soft lens took very nice photos.

Shot with Lubitel 166U