Have you ever seen a TLR camera? I just picked one up.
I've always been intrigued by these machines. TLR stands for "Twin Lens Reflex." Unlike most cameras that you lift to your head to focus and shoot, TLR cameras are held at your waist; you look down into their top where the image appears facing upward. They get their name from having two lenses, one which shows you the image and a second lens beneath the first which records the picture. The two-lens design distinguishes this camera from "Single Lens Reflex" (SLR) cameras which is what most people are familiar with. Also, unlike 35mm SLRs, TLR usually use different-sized film. My new TLR uses 120-roll film like my cheap Holga.
I've been on the look-out for a TLR for some time. The problem was cost. The most famous TLRs were made in Germany by Rolleiflex (1929-2015). Like Rolex watches, Rolleiflex cameras are vastly over-priced; I see them advertised for $10,000. That's more than I want to pay for a seventy-year-old used camera.
Last week I came across a Yashica 12 on Craigslist. Made in Japan, Yashica is known as "the poor man's Rolleiflex." Because it lacks the prestige of the German camera, it sells for much less but many photographers report it works just as well due to fine design and high-quality lenses. One says "the results from the two cameras are almost impossible to tell apart. Both have Tessar-formula lenses and both produce very sharp images." For this new camera I negotiated the price down to $100 which seems reasonable.
You'll see what it can do in my hands soon!