Often abbreviated TLR.

A kind of camera construction that has two seperate lens built into the body, usually one right above the other.

The bottom lens is almost always of superior quality and is used to expose the film. The top lens sends light to a mirror which is reflected to a viewfinder above. Typically someone using a TLR looks straight down into the camera from above, which is why the name waist level camera or waist level viewing is sometimes applied.

Because the light from the lens is reflected through a mirror, the image is halfway corrected. While a lens normally "sees" the world upside down and backwards, you'll simply see it backwards. Think this is frightening? Well, it's not really... you'd be surprised how quickly you get used to.

That is, of course, if you're not taking pictures of anything moving all that quickly. In that case, even after using a TLR for years you tend to pan the camera the wrong way sometimes - it makes you feel silly.

But I'll wager no one will notice. Besides the fact that they're whisper quiet, incredibly reliable and super cheap, the best part about using a TLR is no one notices them ever. Wanna photograph people while walking down the street, in the subway, on a plane, etc, etc up close and personal without them looking at the camera? Get a TLR. It's uncanny how often people ignore them because you're not holding it up to your eye. We associate cameras with vision and vision with your face. Cut out the latter part of the equation and you get completely ignored. Plus they look as much like an alarm clock from the 60s as they do a camera.

Baffo's warning isn't so much of a warning as honest to god truth - you should be ashamed of that itty bitty baby negative. And you don't need to load up some Velvia to see the truth of that - a black and white contact sheet of the worst film with the sloppiest development on the most ghetto paper will tell you that. And you can get excellent used Hasselblad systems for much cheaper than five grand. Gimme a /msg - i'm very happy to support your new medium format/large format addiction. I'll even give you your first roll for free - that's the kinda pusher I am.