[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Re: [Rollei] TLR vs. SLR for candid street shots?

In a message dated 6/20/99 9:27:31 PM, you wrote:

<<> A Rolleiflex TLR is versatile and quiet but limited to one focal
> length.  Would an equivalent MF SLR 'system' camera (Rollei or Hassy)
> not be a better choice for street photography due to the possibility of
> changing focal lengths?  Or is there something intangible about a TLR
> that I have yet to discover if I make the plunge (I am considering the
> Rolleiflex GX vs. the Hasselblad 203FE- very different beasts).  I am
> looking for words of wisdom backed by experience...
> Regards from Toronto,
> Mark>>

My experience dates back to the mid 1950s when I started doing photography 
with a 1937 Rolleiflex Automat borrowed from a family friend (great friend!)  
I liked it all, but street photography is what I did most of.  The Rollei was 
good for that
because the viewfinder was indirect and if you were smooth enough, people 
didn' t realize you were taking their picture.  And it was quiet, another 
plus for the same reason.  

As I got into the art/sport, 35 mm became my main tool because of portability 
and economics, although I always preferred the results with MF and never 
stopped using Rollei or sometimes other TLRs.  Mamiya C33 had interchangeable 
lens capabilities and was therefore more versatile, but IMHO it was really 
too bulky for street photography (altho some photogs used them well for that 

When I acquired a Hasselblad outfit, even tho it was primarily for other 
purposes I tried it out on the street.  I can't work with it.  It is heavy 
(compared to the Rollei), loud and hard to handhold at shutter speeds under 
1/250th sec.  That precludes a lot of my photography executed at 1/60th or 
less.  A shame, really, because the camera is so capable on a tripod or with 
electronic flash.  For me, Hasselblad is for use under conditions more 
controlled than you find on the street.  Overall, Rollei works better under 
those conditions  (I have 2, a 3.5 F and an MX-EVS, and love them both.)

Over the years, however, I must admit I got a higher number of good street 
photographs with 35 mm simply because it was easier to use.  Before 
committing to any MF reflex system, however, you might want to look at some 
of the Fuji or Mamiya RF cameras.  They might offer some of the flexibility 
possible with 35 mm along with a larger neg.  IMHO, Size Matters!

All that said, my bottom line based on experience is that the most important 
aspect of successful street photography is the attitude of the photographer.  
Equipment is almost a minor consideration.  Great street snaps have been 
taken with 4X5 Speed Graphic and all manner of unlikely contraptions.  So 
don't think too much about it.  Get what you like and have fun.