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Little specks inside Rolleiflex 3.5F's taking lens, is it cause for concern?
Old 01-19-2012   #1
Acidic_Lemon
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Little specks inside Rolleiflex 3.5F's taking lens, is it cause for concern?

I sent off my Rolleiflex automat to Mark Hansen and got myself a 2nd rolleiflex, a 3.5F Planar which just arrived today.

The taking lens has some weird little specks which can only be seen if I tilt the lens at a corner or if I look really close up. It's not surface dust. Is this any reason to be worried about? Will this spread? The seller mentioned that the lens are clear and no scratches, haze, separation or fungus. I have yet to load film to test it out. Should I run a test roll into this first or send this back to the seller? I will be uploading pics of the specks in awhile...

Any insight about the little specks would be really great help.

Here are some pics












At some angles, I can't see the specks at all





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Old 01-19-2012   #2
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@ Acidic Lemon - - -

The first of your pics certainly shows a lot of spots !

If you're certain they are on the inside, they can only be dust or deposits of vapourised lubricant, and as such can be removed quite easily by a good repairman. They don't have the appearance of anything nasty, like fungus.

They're unlikely to be a problem photographically - taking lenses can be really battlescarred with deep scratches and still give a perfectly good image - but may cause flare in certain lighting conditions, so using a lenshood is advisable.

If the purchase price was favourable and everything else is OK, you've got a good camera...
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Old 01-19-2012   #3
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I've seen dirt or marks on the rear lens look like spots on the front lens. Check to make sure the rear lens is cleans.

Myself, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
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Old 01-19-2012   #4
Dan Daniel
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Hard to tell form the photos exactly, but if all you have are small specks, dust-like dots, most likely they are simply just that-dust that has found its way between the shutter blades and the back of the front lens group. It is possible to remove the front lens without doing any other disassembling, clean the back of the lens group, and reinstall. But probably not worth it. The chance of it affecting things is minimal.

If the dots have any sort of 'ring' quality to them, then it might be drops of oil condensed or sprayed on the lens over the years from the shutter mechanism. The solution is the same- remove and clean- and the effect is also pretty well the same- most likely no effect. The only issue here is that the coatings could be adversely effected by the oil, but by now there's not much you can do about it one way or another.

Fungus- do a web search for lens fungus to find examples- is a long-term problem, but again its effect on images depends.

And then there is separation- this will show more as a rainbow crescent or other such pattern. This requires re-cementing the lens elements, and yet again, people will use such lenses for years without noticing adverse effects on the actual image, only on resale value. The seller should have mentioned, though.

You're diving into the deep end here on the Rollieflexes, eh?! You'll enjoy comparing the Planar and the Tessar (Xenar?) on the other camera.
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Old 01-19-2012   #5
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I had the same type of spots, there were partials from the inside the camera, dust - that worked their way in between the elements. If there is nothing else wrong with the camera, speeds and transport - I would leave alone. I did eventually send mine to Harry Fleenor, who did an excellent CLA. His service takes time but is excellent. Corrected many things. Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2012   #6
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The images will not suffer - but it's nice to have a lens that good back to perfect
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Old 01-19-2012   #7
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It's either dust or tiny losses in the coating.

The images won't be affected the least so if the shutter is OK at all speeds, leave it as is.

Below is a picture taken with a similar 3.5F with lots of dust specs behind the front element and very visible oily haze in the rear group :



HP5+ in D76 1+3

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Old 01-19-2012   #8
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Thank you all for your comments about the specks.

The purchase price was at seller's price, and the seller did not disclose some other items (chip-off on the tripod adaptor and etc).

I was being really careful this time round and still felt I got burned. I was planning to send this to Mr Fleenor (after the long holidays and after my travelling schedule) if only the lens was as stated condition. I even asked the seller questions before purchasing.

I don't see this type of dust in my older automat's taking lens and hence was concerned. In my grand scheme of things, I went to purchase rolleinars 1,2,3 in Bay II, a soft shutter button, a hood and strap. I just want all of them to come at the same time and then start taking at least the 1st roll. I enjoy the quirkiness of my automat and hence I didn't want to do without a rolleiflex for too long.

I thought since my automat was already so warped/modified and I still enjoy the weird pics it took, I would be on cloud 9 with a pretty-ok planar that perhaps require a CLA.

I am an user not a collector but even some of things on this rollei are worrying me. I am awaiting on seller's reply and will update once I get a reply.
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Old 01-19-2012   #9
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Ask seller for some rebate. Did you got this off eBay?
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Old 01-20-2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acidic_Lemon View Post
I don't see this type of dust in my older automat's taking lens and hence was concerned.
The Automat has a Tessar and so there is less glass in front of the shutter, so, less space for dust to get in, and the elements in front of the shutter don't magnify the dust spots size as much as what the Planar does.

3.5F Rolleiflexes are getting hard to get at reasonable prices so think of it twice before you get rid of it, if this one has a working shutter, a parallel standard, a straight back and a working meter.

Having it serviced would be a good idea anyway and the pics tell that it wasn't butchered in the past - I'd guess it was never opened given the look of the leather pieces on the front plate.

And here you have the 5 elements Planar which is said to be the best of all.
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Old 01-20-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highway 61 View Post
The Automat has a Tessar and so there is less glass in front of the shutter, so, less space for dust to get in, and the elements in front of the shutter don't magnify the dust spots size as much as what the Planar does.

3.5F Rolleiflexes are getting hard to get at reasonable prices so think of it twice before you get rid of it, if this one has a working shutter, a parallel standard, a straight back and a working meter.

Having it serviced would be a good idea anyway and the pics tell that it wasn't butchered in the past - I'd guess it was never opened given the look of the leather pieces on the front plate.

And here you have the 5 elements Planar which is said to be the best of all.
I have contacted the seller accordingly. There are dings and dents that are not disclosed by the seller. I got this via eBay at BIN as I wasn't keen to bid auctions (I find it odd to see bidders with less than 0 feedback). I was considering a planar 3.5e in keh cameras website but I still prefer the 3.5F for removable hood. Does any one know where I can find another viewfinder and rear back?

Cheers
Sam
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Old 01-21-2012   #12
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IMO you've done the right thing, because the pix of the lens just don't square with what you were told: "The seller mentioned that the lens are clear and no scratches, haze, separation or fungus." I don't think any reasonable person who saw the pictures could agree that lens is "clear."

If you're satisfied with whatever deal you reach with the seller, I'd suggest having it cleaned, plus a thorough checkup of transport, shutter speeds, focus adjustment – what Fleenor calls an 'overhaul.' But my choice would be to have Krikor do it, because it sounds like you want to start using the camera, & he's so much quicker.

Kirk

PS, I'd get a Maxwell screen with grid at the same time. It would cost you more for shipping when you decide you want one later.

Last edited by thompsonks : 01-21-2012 at 16:46. Reason: PS
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Old 01-21-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thompsonks View Post
IMO you've done the right thing, because the pix of the lens just don't square with what you were told: "The seller mentioned that the lens are clear and no scratches, haze, separation or fungus." I don't think any reasonable person who saw the pictures could agree that lens is "clear."

If you're satisfied with whatever deal you reach with the seller, I'd suggest having it cleaned, plus a thorough checkup of transport, shutter speeds, focus adjustment what Fleenor calls an 'overhaul.' But my choice would be to have Krikor do it, because it sounds like you want to start using the camera, & he's so much quicker.

Kirk

PS, I'd get a Maxwell screen with grid at the same time. It would cost you more for shipping when you decide you want one later.
IF the seller comes back with a satisfactory resolution then I will get the full CLA works and a maxwell screen for this rollei.

One big dent not mentioned was this



I would want the assurance that it will be stable enough to put on tripod. Is there any way of repairing this or I will need to get another rear cover? I am weighing it both ends and seeing if it is worth the hassle.

Is Krikor faster in terms of turnarounds? Does he stock maxwell screens? I have so many plans but I still have to wait for the seller's reply and they don't reply on weekends as they try to take weekends off in order to preserve their marriages (it's stated in the auction).

On a separate note, what do you all do with the original camera cases your rolleis come in? Are there any other alternative cases in the aftermarket?

The original case I got is worn out, dusty and stains (there is a big green stain at the bottom). I had that case put in a ziplock bag and haven't got around thinking what to do with it. Has anyone brought their rollei case to for a "bag spa" refreshment? If the rollei stays, I was thinking of bringing the case to my bag drycleaners and ask them to disinfect, clean, repair etc. Has anyone done that with good results?
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Old 01-22-2012   #14
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If I'm not mistaken, that should actually screw out and be replaceable. As far as I can see it's an adapter for the european standard to the 1/4inch american standard. It'll cost you less than $5 for a new adapter.
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Old 01-22-2012   #15
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For tripod use, try to find the "rolleifix" - it's more than just a quick-release, it takes the strain and helps prevent warping the back.
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Old 01-22-2012   #16
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^^ What Mudman and Peter said.

Rolleifix is far more stable than simply hooking up to the tripod bush. It could warp the bottom (and rear!) of the camera, so that perfect focus is out the window.

The Rolleifix is a part of the Rolleigrip, you can hack it out of a grip to get one. Often that's cheaper than buying a rolleifix readily.
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Old 01-22-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acidic_Lemon View Post
On a separate note, what do you all do with the original camera cases your rolleis come in? Are there any other alternative cases in the aftermarket?
I don't use the case at all.

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Old 01-22-2012   #18
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Do this: put the camera on a flat surface, feet down. Now rock it back and forth. There should be none or minimal motion. Any rocking indicates that the feet are not in the same plane, pointing to a hit on the back and bottom.

Next, put a steel ruler or other straight edge on the tripod mounting area. If the bushing at the center is raised a bit, use only the surround. Now rotate the straight edge to check if diagonally opposite feet are at in the same plane. The edge should touch each foot, and at about the same level.

These aren't tests for rejecting cameras. There will be slight rocking very often. And that doesn't indicate a drop or a major alignment issue. I've seen backs where it looks as if one foot took a hit while the rest of the base and back was fine. But if there is a misalignment here, time to look at the back harder.

Check for how the back sits against the body edge. Should be consistent, and the same on both sides. Run your finger and sight down the outer edges of the back checking for crimps or bends. A bit of rocking, consistent edge joint, no bends, I'd consider the back to be in good shape.

As to the tripod adapter bushing itself, I wouldn't consider it a problem per se. BUT: it's a $3 or less part. If I was selling a Rolleiflex in excellent condition, and I did this all the time, I would have swapped out that part for a clean one. Something a bit hack about sending out a fancy camera with a brassed and bent accessory. Not a deal killer, but a small warning flag.

Look at the seller's feedback, scour the listing for negatives, and see what issues have come up in the past. Everybody will eventually get a negative on Ebay, but what it is for, and how the seller responds is what really counts. You might also learn what to expect in response when he does actually reply.

I never use the case. Get a padded camera bag that will hold the camera and such. When shooting, I have a bare camera. I use an Op/tech strap with buckles. Often I will remove the padded neck strap area and attach the two short pieces and use that as a safety wrist strap only, carrying the camera in one hand most of the time.

On old leather cases like on the Rolleis, a big problem is the leather strap drying and rotting. I lost a Rolleicord to that strap snapping one day, sending the camera to the sidewalk. Last time I ever used a case like that.
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Old 01-22-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
Do this: put the camera on a flat surface, feet down. Now rock it back and forth. There should be none or minimal motion. Any rocking indicates that the feet are not in the same plane, pointing to a hit on the back and bottom.

Next, put a steel ruler or other straight edge on the tripod mounting area. If the bushing at the center is raised a bit, use only the surround. Now rotate the straight edge to check if diagonally opposite feet are at in the same plane. The edge should touch each foot, and at about the same level.

These aren't tests for rejecting cameras. There will be slight rocking very often. And that doesn't indicate a drop or a major alignment issue. I've seen backs where it looks as if one foot took a hit while the rest of the base and back was fine. But if there is a misalignment here, time to look at the back harder.

Check for how the back sits against the body edge. Should be consistent, and the same on both sides. Run your finger and sight down the outer edges of the back checking for crimps or bends. A bit of rocking, consistent edge joint, no bends, I'd consider the back to be in good shape.

As to the tripod adapter bushing itself, I wouldn't consider it a problem per se. BUT: it's a $3 or less part. If I was selling a Rolleiflex in excellent condition, and I did this all the time, I would have swapped out that part for a clean one. Something a bit hack about sending out a fancy camera with a brassed and bent accessory. Not a deal killer, but a small warning flag.

Look at the seller's feedback, scour the listing for negatives, and see what issues have come up in the past. Everybody will eventually get a negative on Ebay, but what it is for, and how the seller responds is what really counts. You might also learn what to expect in response when he does actually reply.

I never use the case. Get a padded camera bag that will hold the camera and such. When shooting, I have a bare camera. I use an Op/tech strap with buckles. Often I will remove the padded neck strap area and attach the two short pieces and use that as a safety wrist strap only, carrying the camera in one hand most of the time.

On old leather cases like on the Rolleis, a big problem is the leather strap drying and rotting. I lost a Rolleicord to that strap snapping one day, sending the camera to the sidewalk. Last time I ever used a case like that.
Further to Dan's comments about the backs.
These cameras are built to last a lifetime but they require careful handling. The backs are aluminium, and are easily dented. Those four little feet create a real pressure point, so it's really important, if the camera is out of its case, to put them down carefully onto any solid surface. Simply placing one on a table a little carelessly could cause it to rock on its feet. This won't necessarily cause any other problems but it will make the Rollei wobble, and it is surprising how many examples suffer from this. It's always nice when one turns up with perfectly level feet. Assuming, of course, that it has its original back, it's another little clue that the camera either has not had much use, or has been used with care and it is always what you want, but is not always what you get...
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Old 01-23-2012   #20
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Just a quick update, seller and I came to a resolution and I am keeping this rollei. Now to wait for the public holidays to be over and I will be sending this over for a complete CLA.

I removed the additional metal oval plate from the camera to check, it doesn't wobble and I am hoping to get a change in the tripod adaptor when it's sent over for CLA. The internal specks will be determined when it is sent over as well.

I guess with auctions, nothing beats seeing the camera in hand.
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Old 01-29-2012   #21
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I sent the 3.5F off to Harry Fleenor (the full works & maxwell screen) and the automat (with Xenar lens) to Mark Hansen. These 2 will be my primary users when they come back. I am especially fond of my automat as I had ran 2 rolls through the automat and like the results. Didn't have time to use the 1st roll on the 3.5F with my travelling schedule, hope it will wow me when it comes back from Harry Fleenor.

I found a really cheap rolleiflex automat with tessar (less than usd100 inclusive of shipping- Model K4) to meddle around with. The seller said it is functioning at all shutter speeds and focusing correctly BUT exterior is really bad and leatherette is peeling all over the place (ugly, beyond ugly condition and simply no heart break). I might check and see if it is worth doing a CLA AFTER my 2 other rolleis come back to me. No way I am doing without a rolleiflex for that long.

Has anyone got a really bad condition rolleiflex to just "dissect"? I thought of doing that with the tessar as it is already in a bad exterior condition and keep or spare parts for my Xenar automat.
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Old 01-30-2012   #22
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New leather is easy. If the mechanics are fine, just recover and go on your way.

The problem with collecting beater Rolleis is that the design was changing every other week in the '50s, or so it seems. At least the exterior design. Mechanics seems more constant, changing slower. but sure, collect away! I always assume that the first time I go into a camera model that I am doing an autopsy or dissection, not a repair job anyway. Be ready with an old shoe box and small jars or film canisters to collect the parts. And watch for little springs- more than you might think, and they have a mind of their own at times.
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Old 01-31-2012   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
New leather is easy. If the mechanics are fine, just recover and go on your way.

The problem with collecting beater Rolleis is that the design was changing every other week in the '50s, or so it seems. At least the exterior design. Mechanics seems more constant, changing slower. but sure, collect away! I always assume that the first time I go into a camera model that I am doing an autopsy or dissection, not a repair job anyway. Be ready with an old shoe box and small jars or film canisters to collect the parts. And watch for little springs- more than you might think, and they have a mind of their own at times.

I downloaded the rolleiflex repair manual to have an idea of how many springs and parts I am going to be expecting inside the beater tessar. It's pretty mind boggling.

Mr Fleenor has received my 3.5F and quoted me for the full CLA and installation of maxwell screen. I have given him the green light to proceed.
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Old 01-31-2012   #24
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Harry Fleenor did a nice job on my 3.5F, and I put a Maxwell screen in. What a huge difference! Very bright and much easier to focus.
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Old 01-31-2012   #25
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Quote:
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Harry Fleenor did a nice job on my 3.5F, and I put a Maxwell screen in. What a huge difference! Very bright and much easier to focus.
That's good to know and I am getting the Maxwell plain Hi-Lux screen with a grid installed in the 3.5F. I am certain that Mr Fleenor will do wonders for my 3.5F and I have to be patient.

Kept reminding myself that it's only going to be 10 weeks wait and soon, the rollei will back, ready to be loaded with film.
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