Years ago you could buy chinese brand cameras in Europe. A couple of factories manufactured cameras inspired by succesful western brands. One of these brands was Rollei, which had Rolleiflex cameras for the professional and the Rolleicord for the amateur with a budget. These were so called twin eye reflex cameras, with a lens for the actual camera and a separate lens for the photographer to look through. Years ago my father gave me his Rolleicord, a model 5 from 1957. It is my favorite camera. Film still beats digital in dynamic range, especially slide film gives beatifull deep colours. Better than reality i think. The twin lens configuration also makes it a great camera for taking portraits. Since you keep the camera below face level it doesn't come between you and the person in front of the lens.
So i love my Rollei. But since it was my father's camera i do not dare to take it on holiday. It might get stolen, it might fall and break, all kinds of horrible things might happen to my Rollei. So i wanted a travel twin lens camera for a while. One i can throw into a backpack and take around China. When we were in 成都 we visited a village called 安仁. The sight to see was the mansion of an early 20th century druglord. He was local landowner, and had made a fortune in the opium trade. To educate the masses about the terrible injustices of that age Mao's red guards left the place standing. These days the visitors get sentimental rather than indignant though.
In the village next to the mansion we saw this mural of a chinese twin lens camera. A five goats camera, never heard of it. We had a guide for the day. Adn when he heard i loved this type of camera he offered to take us to an antique market in 成都 because the sold these cameras there.
So off went to the market. The market turned out to be filled with stamps, porcelain and lots of Mao memorabilia. Tourist stuff one would think, though in China the tourists are chinese. There were also a number of stalls with twin lens cameras. Unfortunately they were either broken or way, way overpriced.
After the 5th stall with broken cameras i had pretty much given up hope. We made a quick tour of the art galery upstairs. The art galery had another Mao-themed shop. In the shop there was this single twin reflex camera, a 海鸥. It was in perfect working order and looked nice. It wasn't cheap, but the price wasn't ridiculous either. So wee agreed to a price and i had my very own 海鸥. This camera will be going places in China!Geotag (location) for: