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Rolleiflex 3.5 F
Old 11-20-2018   #1
campy
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Rolleiflex 3.5 F

I probably should wait for my camera to arrive before posting but I am too excited. I am taking a little bit of a gamble buying off of craigslist with just the listing pictures and speaking with the seller to go by. The pictures look like it's close to mint and the seller who is a professional magazine photographer says it was his uncle's who really only used to take pictures and then paint from those pictures. Apparently he is a famous water color artist. I know it sounds like I am being taken to the cleaners but my instincts feel good on this one after speaking with him. Anyway I paid through paypal so I have a little protection. I almost bought a 2.8 D for $625 but from what I read about the 3.5 F I think the extra $200 will be worth it. I had a 2.8C for a short time that I picked up with some other gear. It was in decent cosmetic condition except the hood wasn't original and had lots of paint loss, but boy was it sharp. I ended up selling it but I wish I had kept it
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Old 11-20-2018   #2
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Enjoy it, it's a great camera I have the 3.5F and a 2.8C.
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Old 11-20-2018   #3
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Whether a later model is worth paying more for, objectively, depends on its condition, and if it has features that are important enough to you to be worth paying more for.

I have never used a late model 3.5F with its revised six element Xenotar or Planar lens. So I cannot speak with authority about how much, if any of the hype surrounding the sharpness of these lenses has a basis in fact, however I think it is fair to suggest that to a certain extent, the values of later model Rollei TLRs are driven by collector interest, not necessarily by superior image making abilities. Any Rollei in excellent condition is not going to be the weak link in the image quality chain for most people who use it.

So...
If you prefer to use a 75mm lens instead of an 80mm lens, it's worth paying more for the 3.5F.

If you need to use a built in meter for whatever reason, it's worth the extra, because the 2.8D doesn't have one.

If you want to be able to shoot 220 film, some later models can do this and it may be worth an extra $200 if the example in question has this capability (not all do).

If you must be able to fit a pentaprism then it would be worth paying extra because only because models prior to the E2, the T (and Rolleicord Vb) can easily be equipped with one.

Condition is always the prime consideration when looking for a Rollei. You may well need to get the 3.5F attended to, if it has been lightly used and sitting around for extended periods, because Synchro-Compur shutters do not like being idle for too long. Afterwards you will hopefully have an excellent photographic instrument at your disposal. But it is rarely a good move to buy a certain model Rollei regardless of condition, unless, perhaps, it is truly rare, (Eg prototype or very limited production, etc.) or if it has a provenance that is exceptional (but we are mainly discussing cameras which will, hopefully, be used for making images, right?).

I would have taken the 2.8D, all things being equal. The built in meter of later models is of no importance to me, and personally I've always felt the presence of the meter cells (or even worse, the plastic blanking panels used if a metered model does not have a meter fitted), whilst not offensive to the eye, nevertheless detract a little from the appearance of earlier models that look just a little cleaner and crisper. But it is a very minor point. And I'm not you.

I've got a five element 3.5F Planar here at the moment. It seems to be a real peach so it will be interesting to actually try it out, because I've handled a few of them, but never actually shot a roll through a 3.5F (though I've imaged with a 2.8F in the past). I suppose I might feel differently about the model, when I've used one and looked at the results, but I doubt it, because, ultimately, all the models mentioned above had first rate lenses fitted, and this is what counts the most.
Enjoy your new TLR, and make sure you keep it this time.
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 11-21-2018   #4
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I have a 5-element 3.5F and just got a 2.8F (both planars). The 3.5F is a superb piece, I don't think I am missing anything not having the 6-element version, and based on MTFs the 3.5F version I expect has better bokeh. The 2.8F planar is a little better on specs (MTF-wise) but we'll see how it turns out in practice.

As mentioned, either are great cameras, and the 3.5F is in some ways maybe the best of the Rolleis - lighter and smaller than the 2.8F, just as functional, smaller accessories (bay II vs. III), only half-stop slower lens, better suited to the Mutars (supposedly), etc.

Interesting info re: MTF, etc:

https://translate.google.com/transla...tm&prev=search

Also, $825 for a really cherry condition 3.5F is a good price. I have seen really nice ones (planars) go for well over $1k, somtimes as high as $1400+. There's enough sold ones on Ebay to get a good idea of pricing trends (view sold auctions).
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Old 11-21-2018   #5
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I have a late planar 3.5F. I love everything about it but the focal length. I wish it had a 60mm lens. It's been sitting on my shelf collecting dust while the Hasselblad (with a 60/3.5) gets all the use.

Anyone else wish a "wider" angle Rolleiflex were more affordable?
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Old 11-21-2018   #6
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I've never owned an F series Rollei, but I still have a 3.5 E and a 2.8 D. I prefer the 3.5 version for hand held work because the 2.8 feels front heavy in my hands and I need a higher shutter speed to really hold it steady. Since it is only about 2/3 of a stop slower and I rarely use a Rollei at full aperture the 3.5 has gotten a lot more use. The meter at this point isn't working, but I used these mostly in a studio with flash, so that isn't much of a loss. Good luck with your 3.5F--it is a marvelous camera.
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Old 11-22-2018   #7
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Talking

The availability of 220 film is questionable.
I have a few rolls out of date!
Use of Pentaprism is also questionable!
The lateral reverse aids in composing and makes a great method!
The 5mm difference in focal length is silly..
Planars are sharper than Tessars, but Penn, Avedon used the 75..
side point! Avedon in Paris later years, shot 35 mm on a Nikon.
It was for magazine "Egoiste"..
I'm sure influenced by JH Lartigue!
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Old 11-22-2018   #8
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I have a 3.5F Xenotar sitting idle here. I have shot a few jobs w/ it but now i am all 35mm and digital. It´s not a pristine camera for collectors but a full functional Rollei. I even swapped the old dark fresnel for a maxwell. I looked at the lens and didn´t see any fungus but the camera could use a CLA.
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Old 11-22-2018   #9
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Reading to many on the shelf, you guy's got to use those Rollei!
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Old 11-22-2018   #10
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Can anyone recommend a strap and hood? Are the aftermarket straps reliable enough?
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Old 11-22-2018   #11
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Quote:
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Can anyone recommend a strap and hood? Are the aftermarket straps reliable enough?
You need the scissors on the strap....
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Old 11-22-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campy View Post
Can anyone recommend a strap and hood? Are the aftermarket straps reliable enough?
Most original leather straps are quite brittle now and might break but there are good after market straps with the alligator clips available. Or you buy the original strap and have the leather replaced by someone who works with leather.

The hood you need is a Bay II. I'm sure you can find aftermarket ones but the original works well and isn't awfully expensive.

A good way to avoid having to clean the lenses and potentially getting cleaning marks is to get a couple of UV-Filter too. Don't rush to buy the accessories but wait patiently for good deals.



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Old 11-22-2018   #13
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I use my Rolleiflex T all the time. Honestly, having used the 2.8F i like the Tessar character in black & white. I'd also like to stumble on a Rolleiwide, but even so, I love the small size/portability. My favourite Canadian strap maker Harry Benz will make you any lovely strap you want if you can find an old one and salvage the scissors. It's also possible to thread an 0 ring through the connector on the camera and use any old strap. https://www.harrybenz.com/shop/the-b...eiflex-edition
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Old 11-22-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
The availability of 220 film is questionable.
I have a few rolls out of date!
Use of Pentaprism is also questionable!
The lateral reverse aids in composing and makes a great method!
The 5mm difference in focal length is silly..
Planars are sharper than Tessars, but Penn, Avedon used the 75..
side point! Avedon in Paris later years, shot 35 mm on a Nikon.
It was for magazine "Egoiste"..
I'm sure influenced by JH Lartigue!
Finally got a 12/24 3.5F and there's no 220 to be had!
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Old 11-24-2018   #15
leicapixie
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Enjoy the camera and it's optics.
It's a hard learning experience..
Rollei and othe Medium format cameras sail past 35mm in Quality.
I shoot so slowly with mine, Automat with Tessar.
Amazingly my keeper rate is thru the roof

Pity about 220 film but for me 12 is long enough..
I have hood, y-g filter and close-up lens (Proxar) and 35mm adapter.
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Old 11-25-2018   #16
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Received the camera yesterday and it looks great but there is a problem with the shutter and winding mechanism. The slow speed blades were not closing and the film advance didn't always cock the shutter. Another problem I noticed was when you crank it and reverse it doesn't always stop in reverse but the shutter will fire. The seller agreed to take it back.
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Old 11-28-2018   #17
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Had a similar problem with the one I bought off of OfferUp. Also turned out after taking it in that the inner portion of the taking lens had been stored with junk on it never wiped off and it had ruined the coating on the glass. I had just looked over the front of the lenses in haste. Anyways, turned out to be a Rollei-priced paperweight in the end with the optics ruined. Seller disappeared. Was kind of mad when my local camera mechanic suggested I re-sell it to get my money back -- no way I'm doing that to another person so just ate the loss. Pretty sad about it still.

I'd suggest switching over to buying on KEH. Their BGN-rated items will be what craigslist and eBay sellers mark as Excellent or Near Mint plus their 14-day no questions asked makes a huge difference. I'm saving now to get an actual worthwhile 3.5F off of there for ~750 or so. Don't know why I ever decided to use eBay/craigslist/OfferUp again. Always convince myself I'm going to get some great deal and it never works out (except for with the amazing enlarger I scored on there).
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Old 11-30-2018   #18
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I took another chance on a sight unseen 2.8E for cheap money. The taking lens has quite a bit of cleaning marks, the shutter dial stiff and the film winder is gummed up. What appears to be happening when you crank it clockwise for the film advance the lever doesn't always stop in the same place and will actually move a little when you take your hand off it. I have seen similar things like this in copiers and it's usually just gummed up and a little electronic cleaner frees it up. I may try to do a not to invasive cleaning and oiling.
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Old 11-30-2018   #19
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Rolleiflex 3.5F Planar
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Old 11-30-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campy View Post
I took another chance on a sight unseen 2.8E for cheap money. The taking lens has quite a bit of cleaning marks, the shutter dial stiff and the film winder is gummed up. What appears to be happening when you crank it clockwise for the film advance the lever doesn't always stop in the same place and will actually move a little when you take your hand off it. I have seen similar things like this in copiers and it's usually just gummed up and a little electronic cleaner frees it up. I may try to do a not to invasive cleaning and oiling.

IME it´s hard to find a perfect Rollei unless you spend 2k. At 2k they are pristine.

At 1k you get great users w/ clean lenses and good mechanics.

Less than that and it´s a gamble but i never saw a perfect Rollei being sold for 500 bucks.
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Old 11-30-2018   #21
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I bought my 3.5F for $350. It arrived to me broken (from ebay). Eddy Smolov got it repaired for about $200 or less.
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Old 11-30-2018   #22
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I got my K4A model for cheap off ebay, fungus filled lenses and all, got it cleaned and serviced, its still a clunker and the frame counter doesnt reset without pushing the lever with your finger butttttt......
000301380011 by Drew Dulin, on Flickr
000301390008 by Drew Dulin, on Flickr
It still provides images I enjoy
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Old 11-30-2018   #23
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I bought my 3.5F for $350. It arrived to me broken (from ebay). Eddy Smolov got it repaired for about $200 or less.
I got mine w/ perfect mechanics and a clean lens w/ no marks at $900. I bought to use it on a job so it had to be damm good from the start.
Cosmetically it´s far from perfection but i like a good patina.
I bought it six yrs ago. Still have the camera safe and sound so i call it a good price.

I just spent 180 dollars to fix my Leica and it needs another 200 to make it perfect. It´s so easy to spend 500 dollars fixing those old cameras.
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Old 11-30-2018   #24
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d.dulin View Post
I got my K4A model for cheap off ebay, fungus filled lenses and all, got it cleaned and serviced, its still a clunker and the frame counter doesnt reset without pushing the lever with your finger
If you have an eye for it, inspect the back closely. It's possible the mechanism is sticking, but this problem is sometimes due to a deformed back not fully depressing the lever.
Cheers,
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Old 12-19-2018   #25
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There's something about a Rollei 3.5F that for me... just "clicked". The right camera at the right time. I'd been through a lot of cameras and it somehow stopped all of that. The results were "ooooh aaaaah". Both Color AND B&W. They were reliable. And it keeps things simple. Simplicity forced me to actually do the "one camera, one lens, one film and one developer thing" and it made it fun. It's a great machine, a real tool, and the biggest surprise to me is that it's also a conversation starter. Rollei shooters - current and "alumni" (now mostly shooting digital - will come up out of the woodwork to tell you about their love for the camera. Never seen anything like it. But if it didn't actually produce great results... it wouldn't generate this warmth.

Enjoy!!!
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Old 12-19-2018   #26
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I have a late planar 3.5F. I love everything about it but the focal length. I wish it had a 60mm lens. It's been sitting on my shelf collecting dust while the Hasselblad (with a 60/3.5) gets all the use.

Anyone else wish a "wider" angle Rolleiflex were more affordable?
The Mutar wide angle is much more affordable than the Rolleiflex Wide and is said to be optimised for the 3.5 Planar and Xenotar. As a bonus you still have a 75mm for those times it suits. From what I've seen online the Mutar is very sharp and also well corrected.
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Old 12-19-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
The Mutar wide angle is much more affordable than the Rolleiflex Wide and is said to be optimised for the 3.5 Planar and Xenotar. As a bonus you still have a 75mm for those times it suits. From what I've seen online the Mutar is very sharp and also well corrected.
Cheers
Brett
I am on the lookout for an affordable 0.7 Mutar. These seem to be rather rare now.
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Old 12-20-2018   #28
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I have both Mutars, (Bay II). Not sure if I want to sell one or both yet but if I do I will let you know. They are a unique and interesting solution, no doubt.
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Old 12-20-2018   #29
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Please let me know if you are going to sell both. I am looking for it too. Thank you.
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Old 12-20-2018   #30
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I have to say that the F3.5 five element lens is amazing. I have what once cost $30,000 worth of superb Hasselblad equipment, started with the 500 CM forty years ago. I constantly have issues remembering which camera took the negative. My Superb SWC/M negatives are quite frankly no better alongside the Rolleiflex images.
Now I only do black and white with it, the Hasselblad backs allow me to alternate between fast and slow different mediums, the Rollei only thinks in BW. Beautiful images are produced by this wonderful camera and a spot meter.......
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Old 12-20-2018   #31
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My 3,5 F has the six element Planar, and the difference from the five element is that the fourth element is split in two to become an achromat with flat cemented surfaces. It's supposed to make the sharpness more even at full opening, and it was also cheaper to manufacture (the grinding and polishing of the flat surfaces instead of spherical). At 5,6 and smaller the five and six element lenses should perform the same.
I don't use the camera that much at full opening, but when I have it's mostly been portrait types of photos, and then the corners have the unfocused background anyway, and the subject is of course a little softer compared to if I had used a smaller aperture.


The Rolleiflex 3,5 F is an excellent camera. In recent years I have used it mostly for colour, and used a pre-war 3,5 Automat with Tessar for black and white. The early Automat is a good bit lighter to carry than the 3,5 F.
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Old 12-20-2018   #32
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Quote:
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I constantly have issues remembering which camera took the negative.

The Hasselblad negatives should have two notches on the left side of the negative, and the Rolleiflex negatives usually have tooth marks from the counter roller.
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Old 12-20-2018   #33
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I too struggle to tell the results from my Hasselblad Planar from the Rolleiflex 3.5F. It is a beautiful camera which I use regularly when I don't need interchangeable lenses. I'll quite happily use it for street or general use. The absence of the mirror I estimate gives me an additional stop of shutter speed, and that liberates me from needing a tripod sometimes. A shot of St Mary the Virgin Adderbury handheld at 1/30th. A link below to the hi-res image.



https://cdam07.prodibi.com/a/94mj5576q7q5kk
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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 12-28-2018   #34
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One from Rolleiflex 3.5F and the other Hasselblad SWC/M Identical quality.
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Old 12-28-2018   #35
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Two from recent vacation.
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