The Toys-R-Us version of the classy hipster Rolleiflex cameras you see around. As much as I want to be cool with the authentic TLR, I simply can’t afford it ($300+ on Ebay?!) So instead, I snatched this one up from my trip to Taiwan, which I still need to update you guys on. And to reflect how cheap I can possibly be, I didn’t even get the authentic toy TLR, the Gakkenflex. I got its Chinese replica – the Recesky, aka Fakkenflex. With about the same feature as the Gakkenflex, but half the price. Chyeah.
p.s. There’s an even more expensive toy TLR – Blackbird Fly. Cost about $90+ with way better aesthetics, specs, and built.
It’s appealing and cheap, but does it worth the time? Here’s the DIY process, the pictures it can produce, and my 2 cents on this TLR:
A quick spec sheet:
Twin Lens Reflex cameras got its “TLR” from having two lenses with the same focal length – with one serving as viewfinder and another as photo taking lens. I grab the rest of the info from Lofico.
– Aperture: f/11
– Shutter speed: 1 / 125 second
– Multiple Exposures
– Focus adjustment range: 50cm to infinity
– Takes 35mm film
– Tripod mount
Mustard yellow looks pretty good.
But this happened to my surprise. My clumsy ass didn’t double check the color when I purchased the camera. The whole time I thought it was matte black until the unbox. Luckily, it was a pleasant surprise.
All the parts were nicely divided into bags. The screws came in 2 different kinds, all with specific purposes, so try not to loose em’, it’d be a pain to pause the build because you had to replace some screws from home depot (I’m not even sure if they supply those.)
Using the standard 0# screw driver for all the screws.
Encounter issue #1: the flat headed screw that’s meant for the rewind nob does NOT fit. Not sure if this was a mistake from the manufacturing plant in China for this particular model or the screw just had too much to eat while on its way to the retail stores. So I chose to use one of the other screws the package supply to hold the nob in place.
..little that I know it lead to another issue later in the post..
The insides of the TLR. This was the most complicated section for the construction. You’d play with springs and adjust the plastic parts a few times to get it snuggly fit into their different dedicated placements. Once this part’s done, you can almost finish the rest of the camera blindfolded.
Shutter at work.
with 1/125 second shutter speed, it took me 6 tries to catch that in motion. I feel pretty good about this photo.
A small piece of mirror came with the camera serving as the reflector for the viewfinder.
BAM. Time to capture moments with this guy. Btw, his name’s Tamago.
It’s quite a refreshing way (well, in an old school sense) to view the screen from the top. To my surprise, the display is exceptionally clear. +1 point.
She’s working hard and I’m, obviously, hardly working.
With good lighting, it almost made the analog viewfinder like a digital one.
It’s the same film I used for my Canonet.
Ready to go!
and just right before I’m about to take some photos, I realized issue #2: Due to the improper screw that I used for the nob, it’s too loose to hold the film in place. It spinned back when I try to advance the film after an exposure.
..but the problem was quickly solved. Like MacGyver, I saved the day with a few rubber bands.
Then, there’s issue #3: Guessing because it’s a brand new camera, the coated front panel making it a bit difficult to spin the focus ring. It does get looser after forcing it to spin for a few times.
Now the most important part:
I do like the vignetting.
My hands were too shaky for the camera. Even at 1/125 sec, I still couldn’t capture any stead shots. Michelle, however, was great at it.
Focus was a tad bit difficult, too. Due to the small and low visibility for the viewfinder, it was hard to see what exactly was focused.
So was it worth it? Sure. For $10, it was a good experience to play with cameras outside of traditional rangefinders and dSLRs. The image quality wasn’t bad, either. Though, I wouldn’t take this guy out too often due to its laborious work require for a shot, it’s definitely an entertaining device to pass around when you have friends over. Would it still be worth it if its $25? Let’s just say I’d rather save that money and hunt for a used SLR/rangefinder from a thriftstore.