Seagull TLR 4B - So Elegant


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.

written by saviorjosh on 2009-08-26 #gear #chinese #review #seagull #vintage #china #shanghai #tlr #twin-lens-reflex #4b


  1. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    shot no 33 = i love it! it's like fairy tale

  2. mattydk
    mattydk ·

    number 25 is stunning. love the colors and the detail.

  3. adi_totp
    adi_totp ·

    no 26 30 is wooooooooooww.. magical!

  4. xbalboax
    xbalboax ·

    nice gallery i was going to get this camera but i got the lubitel + instead.

  5. disdis
    disdis ·

    2 and 4 stunning, the rest also wonderful.... nice review!

  6. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    any chance i can ask u to buy one for me and id pay u back?hehe

  7. lazara
    lazara ·

    wow, i'm speechless! beautiful, amazing gallery!

  8. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    gorgeous gallery and camera!

  9. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    250 rmb - pu shi hen gui la :) zai Beijing ma? I've got my Mu-Dan MD-1 for 300 rmb (and was quite happy :)))

  10. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    i've always wanted to get this monster... swap with my holga, anyone? =)

  11. breakphreak
    breakphreak ·

    N33 - where is thaaat?

  12. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    Your gallery speaks for itself as to how awesome this camera is. Really great review. I have the 4B-1 and it blows me away every shot. Not sure if that is the same model as here or not though.

  13. cinzinc
    cinzinc ·

    omg shot 29, freakin awesome!

  14. -a-l-b-e-r-t-o-
    -a-l-b-e-r-t-o- ·

    the first two are my favourite, no no the whole gallery is fantastic...

  15. stouf
    stouf ·

    Beautiful camera and insane gallery ! N°29 is my fav' !!!

  16. saviorjosh
    saviorjosh ·

    Thank you all guys for the overwhelming responses! It's been a while since I submitted this review (my first camera review ever). I used to think it would never get published. What a surprise!

    cinzinc: Sorry, I am not living in China for the moment. Plus, it was years ago that I bought this camera, well before the rebirth of Lubitel. Maybe you can try your luck on ebay to see if there is anything interesting there.

    xbalboax: I still want to get my hands on a Lubitel+ even if I have a Seagull already. :) Lubitel+ is much lighter and with the 35mm back it is much more versatile as well.

    breakphreak: yi dian ye bu gui! :) I am in Geneva right now. I always want to find a Great Wall DF in nice condition. No. 33 is Château de Chillon, a castle near the city of Montreux on the Swiss coast of Lake of Geneva.

    panelomo: Haha. I've got 3 Holgas already. :)

    lomosexual_manboy: The 4B-1 is an improved version of the 4B. Mine is black, not the red/gold limited edition illustrated here. But I always want to have this red/gold colour combination which reminds me of the Chinese royal family in history.

    mephisto: Haha. Rob me? No way! But I'd be more than happy to lend it to you for a few rolls. Or I can exchange it for your Lubitel+. :)

    Once again, my thanks go to each and everyone of you for taking the time to comment!!

  17. ethermoon
    ethermoon ·

    yeahhhh! this camera totally rocks! haven't used my Diana+ because of this one! im still yearning to learn with this camera.. i like 24. notice the yellow in the sunflowers. :D

  18. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Wonderful review, gorgeous photos!!

  19. dogma
    dogma ·

    wow brilliant camera and gallery! congratz!

  20. deeseeohecks
    deeseeohecks ·

    perfect review, a little too good I would say as I want to buy one now!

  21. butchcomer
    butchcomer ·

    I should use my Seagull more! I agree, it adds magic to whatever U do!

  22. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    What a beautiful gallery!!! :)))

  23. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    A pleasure for the eyes !

  24. jennson
    jennson ·

    yep... great!!!!!

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