A TLR camera is an artwork all in itself. When I shoot with my beloved Seagull TLR 4B, it is a unique camera. When I don’t use it, it rests on my shelf as a unique decoration.
Seagull TLR cameras are made in Shanghai, China from the late 1950s to this day. Today, Seagull is one of the only two TLR brands that are still in active production, the other being Rolleiflex. Cheaper than its siblings, 4B is considered a basic and entry-level model for average consumers in the Seagull TLR line of production.
Traditional photographers may think 4B has got poorer optical quality and fewer features than other Seagull TLR models, such as the latest 4A 109. But hey, we are lomographers! When everybody else is trying to get rid of the “swirly bokeh” which 4B is famous for, I find I am crazily in love with it!
Using TLR camera gives you a totally different experience from a toy camera or a rangefinder. You set the aperture and shutter speed, look down in the viewfinder, moves to the left or right, compose the image, get it focused, cock and press the shutter… and voila! “Don’t think, Just shoot” rule does not apply here. The whole process takes a lot of time, patience and techniques. However, when you see the prints or scans, you will know that all your efforts are rewarded.
I got my brand-new dead-stock 4B from a friend of mine for only 250 yuan (around 35$). I did not know much about the correlation of aperture and shutter speed back then since this was my very first fully manual camera. I just followed the sunny-16 rule and my intuition when taking pictures. The camera has never failed to amaze me whether with slide, negative or b&w film! Take a look at the gallery and see for yourself.