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Rolleiflex 3.5F - shutter dial resistance
Old 08-26-2019   #1
ediz7531
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Rolleiflex 3.5F - shutter dial resistance

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the world of rolleiflexes. I recently acquired a 3.5F, type 3. The camera is superbly made! The camera was cla'd a couple of years ago by Harry Fleenor and is in fine operating condition. There is, potentially, something which I find odd. How much resistance is normal in the shutter speed dial? I can easily turn the aperture dial with my left thumb, as it's super smooth. Now, the shutter dial clicks into stops of course, so it's not buttery smooth as the aperture wheel. Certainly I can move it with just my right thumb, but I have to apply some pressure on the wheel. While I'm not sure I'd label it as "stiff", I feel it offers more resistance than a typical shutter dial. In particular, I find that it's harder to go from higher to lower speeds, than from lower to higher speeds. Is this normal behavior?

Many thanks in advance,

Ed
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Old 08-26-2019   #2
CharlesDAMorgan
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My 3.5F and 2.8F both require some pressure to move both ways. As to direction my 3.5F does require a marginal increase in force to go to lower from higher, the 2.8F shows no perceptible difference.

I'd suggest on any hand-built instrument of this age that things will be different between cameras, but I'd take the view that if something requires force it not working properly, but some resistance is to be expected to stop the dials moving accidently.

So don't worry. And welcome! I love my Rolleiflexes to bits.
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Apart from that have a Rolleiflex 3.5F, the odd Minolta XD7, Hasselblad 500cm, a Topcon Super D and an Intrepid 5x4 large format (not the half of it but I am clearing them out, honest).

I do all my own black and white developing at home.
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Old 08-26-2019   #3
v0sh
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At my 3.5 all speeds, except for 1/500s, can be set easily and the wheel is smooth. The 1/500s has to be set before coking the shutter / advancing the film.
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Old 08-26-2019   #4
ediz7531
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Thanks so much for your responses.
@v0sh, I realize that there is some subjectivity in what easily may mean here, but please entertain the following questions

Are you able to move the wheel with just one finger without problems? In mine, it doesn't really offer any trouble when using two fingers, but using just my index finger, for example, is difficult.
Btw, is yours a 3.5F as well?

Last edited by ediz7531 : 08-26-2019 at 14:04. Reason: elaborated on response.
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Old 08-26-2019   #5
v0sh
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I got a K4A and the wheels turn smoothly, even when using a single finger. It's just the 1/500 that has to be set before advancing/cocking.
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Old 08-26-2019   #6
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v0sh View Post
I got a K4A and the wheels turn smoothly, even when using a single finger. It's just the 1/500 that has to be set before advancing/cocking.
The booster spring shutter was not used in the F series though. Hence there should be little difference selecting 1/500 compared to any other speed and it does not matter whether the shutter is cocked, or not.
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Old 08-26-2019   #7
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ediz7531 View Post
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the world of rolleiflexes. I recently acquired a 3.5F, type 3. The camera is superbly made! The camera was cla'd a couple of years ago by Harry Fleenor and is in fine operating condition. There is, potentially, something which I find odd. How much resistance is normal in the shutter speed dial? I can easily turn the aperture dial with my left thumb, as it's super smooth. Now, the shutter dial clicks into stops of course, so it's not buttery smooth as the aperture wheel. Certainly I can move it with just my right thumb, but I have to apply some pressure on the wheel. While I'm not sure I'd label it as "stiff", I feel it offers more resistance than a typical shutter dial. In particular, I find that it's harder to go from higher to lower speeds, than from lower to higher speeds. Is this normal behavior?

Many thanks in advance,

Ed
Harry is the best there is as far as Rollei service is concerned. If the camera was serviced a couple of years ago it should be fine. Unfortunately, this is a query that's intrinsically hard to assess over the web. It's a matter of degree. Whilst there are detents for each speed they're gentle. The wheel should not snap into place at each time setting but should slide gently to the correct time. If you are worried the shutter wheel is actually stiffer than it should be, get a trustworthy person to assess it.

As you rotate the shutter wheel it is rotating a circular disc on top of the shutter mechanism. The disc has several precisely cut slots within it and these bear on control pins for the various speed settings available. As you select longer times the escapement pallet must be engaged—this is not needed above 1/8. It's normal for the amount of resistance to vary slightly across the speed range—particularly if the shutter is cocked—it's a mechanical shutter, and this reflects what is happening within the housing.

I'd take it for granted Harry perfectly fastened the cover plate for the shutter. But it's interesting to note that when the setting dial, cam disc and cover are fastened in place with the central retaining ring, it is quite easy to get the tension wrong if one is inexperienced. Too loose and there's a real chance one of the control pins may slide out of its slot, and under the cam disc which will cause erratic operation and an unusual feel at the actuating wheel. Too tight, and the shutter speeds will be harder and stiffer to adjust, and the parts will wear prematurely. It has to be just right.

I'm not suggesting for a moment this is an issue with your 3.5F, Harry can do these things in his sleep. Simply mentioning it for the benefit of those who might be tempted to delve into their own shutter, because it's one of those things that is not mentioned in the manual, but is still quite important.

I have a 3.5F here myself. Out of interest I've had a look at it and compared it to my 2.8D, which uses the same basic shutter configuration. I expected the D to be a clear winner as far as ease of adjustment was concerned. Why? With the EV coupling disengaged (another story for another day) the wheel only has to actuate the speed cam. When you rotate the wheel on an F series you're also altering the spring-loaded meter coupling levers. To Rollei's credit, despite the extra parts that have to be moved by the wheel, the F still felt pretty good. But I also have no idea when the D shutter was last looked at, it's always run well over the many years I've owned it. Maybe it's not a fair contest?
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Old 08-26-2019   #8
Gregm61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
The booster spring shutter was not used in the F series though. Hence there should be little difference selecting 1/500 compared to any other speed and it does not matter whether the shutter is cocked, or not.
Cheers
Brett
Correct, it's not even necessary to first set 1/500 as early as the MX-EVS Type 2 model Rollei Automat prior to cocking the shutter, and certainly none of the F series.

The earlier Synchro-Compur shutters still required it but not the later and you can date it approximately from various camera models of the period. One other model I am familiar with, Kodak IIA Retina folders require the setting of the 1/500 shutter speed prior to cocking the shutter, but none of the later "c" (large or small) models does. I would guess the changeover happen sometime around the 1953-54 period.
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Old 08-26-2019   #9
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Yes, the earlier Synchro-Compur worked like the Compur Rapid in its speed selection. So setting 1/500 when cocked is not recommended. Between 1/250 and 1/20 or 1/25 (and 1/10 to 1s) the cam has no detents and partial speeds may be set. In the early 1950s Deckel were in the process of transitioning to the new mechanism and in various sizes. Eg very early Zeiss Contaflexes had the older design—yes, a reflex version of it was briefly made—but by early to mid-1954 this had been replaced by the later type, so your suggested transition period is about right. In the Rollei line up the 2.8 A, B & C used the earlier—the D being the first 2.8 to feature the new shutter (with love-it or hate-it EV coupling, initially). 2.8 and 3.5E, Teles and Wides also being equipped with the latest type. Not sure about the Automats but as you say from the MXV/2, fair enough.
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Old 08-26-2019   #10
ediz7531
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Harry is the best there is as far as Rollei service is concerned. If the camera was serviced a couple of years ago it should be fine. Unfortunately, this is a query that's intrinsically hard to assess over the web. It's a matter of degree. Whilst there are detents for each speed they're gentle. The wheel should not snap into place at each time setting but should slide gently to the correct time. If you are worried the shutter wheel is actually stiffer than it should be, get a trustworthy person to assess it.

As you rotate the shutter wheel it is rotating a circular disc on top of the shutter mechanism. The disc has several precisely cut slots within it and these bear on control pins for the various speed settings available. As you select longer times the escapement pallet must be engaged—this is not needed above 1/8. It's normal for the amount of resistance to vary slightly across the speed range—particularly if the shutter is cocked—it's a mechanical shutter, and this reflects what is happening within the housing.

I'd take it for granted Harry perfectly fastened the cover plate for the shutter. But it's interesting to note that when the setting dial, cam disc and cover are fastened in place with the central retaining ring, it is quite easy to get the tension wrong if one is inexperienced. Too loose and there's a real chance one of the control pins may slide out of its slot, and under the cam disc which will cause erratic operation and an unusual feel at the actuating wheel. Too tight, and the shutter speeds will be harder and stiffer to adjust, and the parts will wear prematurely. It has to be just right.

I'm not suggesting for a moment this is an issue with your 3.5F, Harry can do these things in his sleep. Simply mentioning it for the benefit of those who might be tempted to delve into their own shutter, because it's one of those things that is not mentioned in the manual, but is still quite important.

I have a 3.5F here myself. Out of interest I've had a look at it and compared it to my 2.8D, which uses the same basic shutter configuration. I expected the D to be a clear winner as far as ease of adjustment was concerned. Why? With the EV coupling disengaged (another story for another day) the wheel only has to actuate the speed cam. When you rotate the wheel on an F series you're also altering the spring-loaded meter coupling levers. To Rollei's credit, despite the extra parts that have to be moved by the wheel, the F still felt pretty good. But I also have no idea when the D shutter was last looked at, it's always run well over the many years I've owned it. Maybe it's not a fair contest?
Cheers
Brett

Thank you so much for your exposition. One thing I forgot to mention is that this is a meterless 3.5F. I'm not sure if your last paragraph changes at all in that case.

Indeed, this is very subjective. I'm still within a return window for the camera, however, so if I have to budget for a "fix" on this issue, I thought I'd try to ascertain, as objectively as possible, if it's indeed an issue. It's certainly the stiffest dial of any 35mm or medium format camera I own, maybe followed closely by my Pentax MX - except the latter is not a beautiful metal wheel which digs into one's finger as it rotates
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Old 08-26-2019   #11
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ediz7531 View Post
Thank you so much for your exposition. One thing I forgot to mention is that this is a meterless 3.5F. I'm not sure if your last paragraph changes at all in that case.

Indeed, this is very subjective. I'm still within a return window for the camera, however, so if I have to budget for a "fix" on this issue, I thought I'd try to ascertain, as objectively as possible, if it's indeed an issue. It's certainly the stiffest dial of any 35mm or medium format camera I own, maybe followed closely by my Pentax MX - except the latter is not a beautiful metal wheel which digs into one's finger as it rotates
That possibility did cross my mind. F series were available new with or without meters. A kit consisting of a matched meter cell and meter galvanometer unit were available for owners of un-metered F series (possibly some E, too, I can't recall at this moment). Owners could self install these and convert their Rollei into a metered type. Hence as I understand it even though the meter unit and cell are not fitted to your particular example, the coupling system from shutter and aperture drive, enabling one to be installed, ought to still be present.
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Brett
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