The rise and fall of the TLR: why the twin-lens reflex camera is a real classic

Twin lens reflex cameras
(Image credit: Future)

For quite a while – essentially from the 1920s to the 1950s – the twin lens reflex camera ruled supreme in the rollfilm camera world, but then along came the SLR and it quickly fell out of favor. Yet the TLR configuration was popular for a lot of very good reasons. The inevitable demise of the DSLR as the mirrorless configuration becomes dominant in interchangeable lens cameras can be rightly considered yet another big change in the history of photography. 

While it’s unlikely anything will ever match the cataclysmic transition from film to digital, there have been plenty of shifts in the market that are just as dramatic as the switch from DSLR to mirrorless. 

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Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.