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Buying a Blackbird Fly TLR | Toy Cameras for Casual Snapshot Photography

Updated on April 6, 2013

The Blackbird Fly (BBF) is a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera that is used to take candid photographs. The design is based on a classic and distinctive camera body design with two lenses that stretches back to the 1920s. (Compare this with the SLRs - Single lens reflex).

As the name suggests, there are two lenses of the same focal length - one is used to expose the film (the lens takes the picture) while the other is used as a waist level viewfinder. The two lenses are connected, so that the focus shown on the focusing screen will be exactly the same as on the film.

The main advantage of such a design is that the viewfinder is never blacked-out during activation of the shutter, so the photographer sees the subject during the exposure. The away-from-the-eye way in which it is operated also allow subjects to be more at ease around the camera

The Blackbird fly is instantly recognizable with the classic body combined with the bright colors and unique way of taking a shot. There is no better way to take casual and candid snapshots with the BBF!

Taking the shot

There are two way to take a photo with the BBF. The usual method is to hold the camera at waist level and look down. The shot is viewed through the viewfinder lens and allows you to slowly compose and frame the photograph. The second and faster way of taking a photo is to use the sportsfinder. This functions like a viewfinder through a notch at the top of the BBF.

Standard 35mm film (24x36) is used for the Blackbird fly, although using a mask (provided with the camera) allows you to capture square format photos (24x24). The mask can be removed to get a larger 36x36 format shot that uses the entire width of the 35mm film. Produce 3 different type of photos with one camera!

As an owner of the Blackbird Fly, you will...

  • Become the owner of a trendy & fun camera
  • Become the focus of attention with the distinctive and attractive design of the BBF
  • Get a 33mm wide angle lens to capture more of what you see.
  • Selectable framing formats for 3 different type of photos
  • Perfect for experimental imagery
  • Do multiple exposures to create unique composites! Let your creativity run wild.
  • Take candid camera shots where an eye-level camera would be conspicuous. Have fun!
  • 35mm film and photo development is common and widely available


Camera Specifications

Lens: f7 33mm photo lens
Shutter speed : 1/125
Aperture: f7 (cloudy), f11 (fine weather)
Focal Length: 0.8, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 10, infinity
Weight: Body / 210g case 130g
Film Type: 35mm Standard film

Summary and Overview

In summary, the blackbird fly is an excellent choice for a gift or to reward yourself. The build quality is excellent compared to the other cameras like the Holga on the market. The default case which the blackbird fly is housed in is an art of work in itself. The plastic body feels sturdy and the parts are all well aligned. The paintwork on the body of the camera is also well done and does not have the careless finish of the Holga.

Overall, the camera justifies it's high price tag. Given that twin lens reflex cameras are uncommon, it adds to the novelty factor. The blackbird fly is the preferred choice over the other offerings on the market now.

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