Main -> Photography -> Classic Cameras -> Twin Lens Reflex [sitemap]

Created 13 August 2000 ... Updated 25 September 2005

Twin Lens Reflex
Yashica D In the 1950s the Twin Lens Reflex, or also called Rolleiflex type, camera got very popular. One of the main advantages is that these cameras are light weight, mechanically comparatively simple and there is no mirror black-out like in SLR cameras. The drawbacks however are that only very few designs allow for lens changes. Rollei overcame this issue by building versions with different fixed lenses, but of course you then had to buy three complete cameras to use different focal lengths. The most successful solution came from Mamiya who built cameras with exchangeable lenses, the C2 and C3 series.

Yashica TLR

The Yashica D TLR camera became my primairy medium format camera. It's just awesome to look at the large negatives and to get so much detail out of them. Unfortunately there is currently no nice landscape negative film on the market. Plenty of portrait films with low contrast but the only nice negative film I have found thusfar is Fuji Reala, which, except for sunny skies, is actually very good, but a little more choice would be nice. When you have tried negative film, try positive film to get an other new "awe"-moment. Fuji Velvia, a slide film with super saturated colours, in 6x6 in the light box is awesome to look at. First I was going to use it for fall foliage but it was too late for that so I took it to the mountain during spring and it's great. Never try it on people pictures though or they might suffer from severe sunburn, at least on the slideds. Have seen some amazing pictures from winter scenery in the Netherlands which were taken on Velvia stock, of course now that I'm located in Austria...

The thing I like about this camera is the general way it operates. It's much nicer to be able to view a large picture (actually the very size of the negative) in the viewfinder. You thought you liked the display on your digicam, wait till you've seen this 6x6 viewfinder. Of course the left-right-swap with these, TLR, cameras takes a little getting used to but I've used it without any problems for some hikes and a wedding, with great results.

Winding needs to be done carefully though, it might be only my camera but I noticed that when your too rough winding on to the next frame, the counter might be slightly off, resulting in overlapping frames. Well, you'll still end up with nice 6 x 4.5 negs in landscape format.... :o)

Welta Reflekta

One of the many Rollei copies was the Welta Reflekta series TLRs. Nothing special but they did the job and mostly still do, even though time seems to have had more influence on these cameras as on other brands.

camera The cameras
links Yashica A TLR
links Yashica D TLR
links Welta Reflekta II

links Download
Download some documentation related to Twin Lens Reflex cameras.

Yashica TLR Guide
Focal Press
First Edition, January 1964
English, PDF [1.3 MB]

links TLR web links
links Ross Alford
links Classic TLR cameras on this site and a primer on how to make 3D (red-green) pictures.


links Robert Monaghan's Yashica TLR guide
links All there is to know about all Yashica TLRs ever produced.

links Peter Williams' Yashica TLR FAQ
links Short information about the various Yashica TLR models.

links Alfred Klomp
links a Yashica 635 review

links Photo.Net
links Shooting Nature with the Yashica

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2005