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Tessalith-4/ any information of this Lens?
Old 02-11-2017   #1
Thomas78
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Tessalith-4/ any information of this Lens?

As my Rolleiflexes are to precious to take them everywhere around, I bought myself a NOS B.I.G. Twin 4. It is a rebranded Seagull TLR for the German market which was sold mostly in the 1990s. The German importer (B. I. G. - Brenner Import- und Großhandelsgesellschaft mbH) claimed that a tighter quality control was applied on the cameras he sold on his name.

As I was unable to find any information to its lens (Tessalith-4 75/3.5) I would like to ask you if you have any information on the lenses used on the Seagull/ BIG Twin TLR cameras.


Here two photos of the camera:

BIG Twin 4_2 by Thomas Harwardt, auf Flickr


BIG Twin 4_1 by Thomas Harwardt, auf Flickr
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Old 02-11-2017   #2
someonenameddavid
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Wow: a grey market camera... I really want a notorious B.I.G. camera

It's a Haiou 31 lens... which doesn't help you any... it's a tessar clone which should give nice results between f 5.6 and f11. It is the more expensive of the two basic Chinese tlrs which were still better than the Lubitel 166. I took one apart and the mechanism is basically bent tin plate like clockwork toys of the 1950s.. so one day it will just fail on you. Film plane flatness is a problem, but if your first test roll is good, then it's a good camera. Use a lens hood.
I also just resurrected my seagull... oh the wind mechanism sounds like an arthritic robot from 1955... the feel of the camera makes me want to use my Rolleicord Vb, but the viewfinder is bright, and I wouldn't c are if I scratched it or lost it.

Last edited by someonenameddavid : 02-11-2017 at 06:36. Reason: added information
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Old 02-11-2017   #3
Thomas78
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Thank you for the information!

So the lens seems to be the strong point of the camera.
From the FSU camera I own (a Moskwa 5 and some 35 mm RF) I was expecting a somewhat crude machining of the parts, but more or less robust mechanics. So I presume the Chinese cameras of this period were not up to the SU building quality?
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Old 02-11-2017   #4
someonenameddavid
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I only have a zorki 4k as an example of fsu cameras, and that was robust, if crude. The lens was stellar though.
I really just use my Rolleicord.
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Old 07-30-2018   #5
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I bought a blue BIG Twin 4 last week. The leatherette seems a little bit shrunk, but the controls feel nice.


An example on Rollei Superpan 200:
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Old 07-30-2018   #6
Steve M.
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Actually, the Chinese cameras were not up to ANY sort of quality control. Besides, saying something isn't up to the quality of an FSU camera is setting the bar pretty darned low.

It's a nice looking camera for sure. I like how it proudly proclaims TWIN-LENS REFLEX in big letters, sparing us the math work of counting the lenses (two). I like pretty things, except with women, where it has usually led me to overlook some, let us say, interesting personality quirks. Sometimes pretty is as pretty does.

Maybe you got a good one? My Seagull TLR self destructed shortly after buying it in the manner of an FSU camera, but the lens was good for sharp photos while it lasted. Not learning from that experience, I then bought a Seagull 203 folder that had an ingenious flap system which let you quickly set it to 6x6 or 6x4.5. Had pretty much the same results from it as the TLR when it's shutter decided not to shut anymore, and it sat on the shelf until I was able to resell it on eBay.
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Old 07-30-2018   #7
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Well, this is my 4th Seagull and all four worked well. Fortunately, when I shoot with it I don´t see the oversized and overshiny letters on the front. Whoever doesn´t takes the camera serious will therefore be relaxed in front of it.
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Old 07-30-2018   #8
mich rassena
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I like the look of that camera. It looks fun. I've wanted a Seagull but I have too many good TLRs to make that jump. Maybe these BIG Twin cameras are cheaper.
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Old 08-06-2018   #9
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My other photos with the Tessalith
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Old 08-07-2018   #10
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I wasn't making fun of the camera, it's actually a nice looking TLR (I'd hate to hurt it's feelings). After seeing mostly Rolleiflex and Rolleicords, it's nice to see something different. If it takes good photos and doesn't fall apart, that's all that matters.

Don't worry, everyone smiles when they see a TLR. I've been out riding on my bike w/ one slung over my shoulder and people have actually called out to me "Great looking camera!". For attracting the better sex, they're as good as a dog or a baby, and a heck of a lot less trouble. Someone should write a book about how much people seem to love TLR's. There's just something about them that strikes a chord with us.
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Old 08-07-2018   #11
petronius
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No problem Steve!
I´m shooting TLRs for 30 years now and Imust live in a part of the world where no one is interested in a TLR (or a Leica III).
Maybe the folk here can really hide their love for sexy gear (except tractors, log splitters or chainsaws!).
Maybe being a six ft. tall, grumpy looking greybeard can´t be compensated by any camera;-)
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Old 08-07-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petronius View Post
Maybe being a six ft. tall, grumpy looking greybeard can´t be compensated by any camera;-)
being a five feet 10 inch, grumpy looking greybeard i make similar experience. guess it's not the size.
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Old 08-12-2018   #13
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Old 08-12-2018   #14
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Old 01-09-2019   #15
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When my dad had a high school photography course he bought some Seagulls for the students to use. He said they took pretty good pictures. He also had Yashicamats and other cameras that people donated. I think this was late 70s early 80s.
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