Film Friday: Gold-trimmed Seagull TLR

“There are a thousand ways to point a camera, but really only one.”—Ernst Lubitsch

Seagull TLROne of my prized film cameras was a birthday gift from my wife Mary. It’s a gold-trimmed Seagull 4A-107G Limited Collector’s Edition Medium Format TLR. OK, it’s not a Rollei but that didn’t stop Seagull from trying.

According to Wikipedia, Seagull Camera Ltd is located in Shanghai and is the oldest camera maker in China.Their Seagull product line of  includes TLR, SLR, and even folding cameras constructed using basic mechanical designs that require no batteries. Since being founded in 1958, Seagull has produced 21 million cameras . You can read what Shutterbug magazine said about the Seagull 4A 105 And 4A 107 TLR cameras here back in 2002.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Shanghai Camera Company, the manufacturer announced they were producing a special limited edition “gold” version of the Seagull 4A-107 TLR.

All of external metal detailing on that special Seagull was plated in gold and the top cover features an inlaid 18 karat gold commemorative logo. Seagull devoted a special division to the production of this camera and units were assembled to “even higher tolerances than that achieved with a normal  production,” whatever that means. Only 2,500 cameras, which are certificated and supplied in custom boxes, were produced on a worldwide basis.

It’s really a fun camera to use and reminds me of an old Yashica TLR I used to own, than a Rollei with build quality somewhere between the two. And more importantly, it was the only medium format film camera I kept when moving to digital. Barry Staver and I are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s out-of-print with new copies available from Amazon for $19.95 (non-Prime) or used copies for giveaway prices, only $7 as I write this.

Author: Joe Farace

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