Blackbird, Fly: A Slightly Weird TLR Camera
By James Grahame
Don't let the awkward name scare you off. The Blackbird, Fly is a rather nifty little plastic Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) from Japan.
A TLR has two objective lenses. One captures the photo, while the other projects almost the same image onto a matte focusing screen surrounded by a hood on top of the camera. If you don't wish to hold the camera self-consciously at waist height, you can also use the gunsight-like finder on top to line up your shot.
Unlike most TLRs which require hard to find medium-format film, the Blackbird, Fly uses standard 35mm rolls. There are three image masks which let you choose between standard 35mm (24 x 36mm), square (24 x24mm) and large format (36 x 36mm, extending past the sprocket holes) frames.
As you might expect, the controls are basic. There are only two aperture settings - f/7 (cloud) and f/11 (sun) and the shutter is fixed at 1/125 second. There's also a B-mode which lets you lock the shutter open to capture experimental images at night. The 33mm wide angle lens adjusts between 0.8 m and infinity.
There. I never have to type that gormless name ever again.