I recently bought a "new" camera. A Mamiya C220 twin-lens reflex, or TLR. It shoots medium format film, 6x6cm (2 1/4"x 2 1/4") square images. I've been looking to get a TLR for some time now, and after much research, finally decided to get the Mamiya.
The C220 was manufactured between 1968-1982. One of the reasons I chose this camera was that the Mamiya cameras were the only TLRs with interchangeable lenses. The one I got came with 3 lenses: 55mm (wide angle), 80mm (standard), and a 135mm (portrait). There were other lenses manufactured for this camera, including a 65mm, 105mm, 185mm, and a huge 250mm lens.
Twin Lens Cameras, are just that. A camera with two lenses. When composing your shot, you are looking at the viewfinder, which is showing you the image through the top lens of the camera. The bottom lens is the one that takes the picture, and the shutter is built into it.
These cameras are set up to take either 120 or 220 medium format film. 120 film comes with a paper backing on a spool and contains 12 shots per roll. 220 film also comes on a spool, but has no paper backing and contains 24 shots. 120 is more common and there are more film brands and options available than with 220. The advantage of medium format film is the higher resolution compared to 35mm film. The images contain much more detail, and are more crisp and clear.
Having shot several rolls of film with this camera in the past month, I have to say, it's been a challenge but a lot of fun. Framing the shot is very different than using an SLR, and that's been one of the hardest things to get used to when shooting. Instead of holding the camera to your eye, one must hold the camera at waist-level and look through the glass atop the camera (see above image).
Using this camera has been a blast, and it has gotten me back into shooting film. I've even started developing my own B&W film at home again, but that's a subject for a future post.