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Rolleicord V
Old 05-18-2013   #1
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Rolleicord V

I've been looking for a Rollei V with Xenar for some time now and finally located one for a reasonable amount. Everything is nice and clean and lens and shutter are clean and free of oil. I'll load some B&W later today and go out and see what I can find to shoot. I'm really thrilled at how light and easy to focus it is compared to my 3.5F Rolleiflex which has left hand focus. I like the right hand focus much more.
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Old 05-18-2013   #2
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Tony, I'm glad you've found a clean 'Cord V. It's a great but sometimes a bit undervalued camera. The right hand focus is really important to me as well. I sold my 3.5F Planar because I couldn't get used to left hand focusing. The Xenar is a beautiful lens and not too far away from Planar. Actually, I prefer Xenar/Tessar to Planar because I like it when the lens has some character wide open.
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Old 05-18-2013   #3
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I have the Rolleicord lll, great camera, love to use it and very happy with the photos it produces.

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Old 05-18-2013   #4
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It's a lovely model, and perhaps the best value of all Rollei TLRs. I sometimes wonder why I parted with my immaculate V a few years ago. I have a couple of others on hand waiting to be sorted but the first one was almost perfect out of the box. God knows that doesn't happen very often ex-ebay any more. Hang onto yours!
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Old 05-18-2013   #5
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Those Xenar lenses are very nice. A couple of the nicest lenses I've had on Rolleis were Xenars- on a 1949 Automat 'Flex and an early Va 'Cord. Tessars just seemed always fine, but the Xenars had an extra edge. Enjoy!
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Old 05-18-2013   #6
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Thanks to all for responding. I had read about a year ago about how good the Xenars are and had decided on the Rollei V. Finally caught a good one and can hardly wait to try it. BTW, I love the right hand focusing. The 3.5 Flex is great but the left hand focus is awkward for me.
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Old 05-18-2013   #7
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After trying a few Rolleicords, I still prefer shutter button on a Rolleiflex instead of a side swipe shutter release. Otherwise they are really lightweight and has very good lenses with character, such as Tessar/Xenar and Triotar.
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Old 05-18-2013   #8
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Congrats, Tony, and please post photos! I love my Rolleicord III. That xenar lens is capable of so much.
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Old 05-18-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z.bruce.li View Post
After trying a few Rolleicords, I still prefer shutter button on a Rolleiflex instead of a side swipe shutter release. Otherwise they are really lightweight and has very good lenses with character, such as Tessar/Xenar and Triotar.
Rolleicord V does have a proper shutter button. Unfortunately it's removable which means a lot of shutter buttons have been lost.

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Old 05-19-2013   #10
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Mablo- the lever right next to the viewing lens on the left side of the 'Cord- I know is for double exposures. During regular shooting sessions is the red spot supposed to be visible or not? TIA.
BTW, that's an impressive array of Rolleocords you have there!
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Old 05-19-2013   #11
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Excuse me for jumping in, but- when the red button is visible, double exposures are possible. When it is not visible, double exposures are not possible- the camera must be wound on to the next frame in order to cock the shutter.

Note that having the red dot visible does NOT mean that you MUST do a double exposure!
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Old 05-20-2013   #12
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I bought a Rolleicord V myself a couple days ago. My fist TLR, or medium format camera of any kind--I've been shooting Leicas for years.

While using it the first time this weekend, I had the film advance jam on me a couple of times. I wouldn't be able to turn the knob and advance to the next frame. But I was able to cock and release the shutter. I eventually realized that it happens if I don't move the shutter release tab all the way to the left. I was handholding slow exposures and in my attempt to keep the camera as still a possible, I wasn't pushing the tab far enough over. But when I do, no problems--I am able to advance the film. Is this normal? I got the camera from KEH. It's very nice, and all shutter speeds sound accurate, so I presume this was a user error on my part. But I want to make sure since I am new to TLR cameras.

Any other tips/suggestions?
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Old 05-20-2013   #13
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Andy, sorry about the mishap. The camera is pretty robust so no worries about messing it up. Wish I could help but this is my 4th day with this camera. So far- so good.
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Old 05-20-2013   #14
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The red dot shouldn't actually be visible when shooting normally but it's not a big deal unless you have a habit of taking unwanted double exposures ;-) The M-X-V lever on the right side is for flash sync and should always be set on X (M is for bulbs). The V is for self timer and can be activated when the shutter is cocked. Anyway, I recommend not to use the self timer unless your shutter is freshly CLA'd.

I use my 'Cord a lot with a shortish release cable so that I can trigger the shutter with the thumb of my left hand which is holding the camera.

I don't want to buy a stash of expensive Bay-1 filters and Rollei hood. I found a Chinese Bay-1-to-52mm adapter on the *Bay and use my existing stash of 52mm filters and a normal 50mm lens hood instead.

Rolleicord's original focusing screen is quite dim on the corners but it's easy to focus in good light. If you'd like to have something little brighter the Rick Oleson screen is a good and inexpensive alternative, see: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-175.html
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Old 05-20-2013   #15
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I just went out and shot a roll--no problems. I guess I just wasnt fully releasing the shutter before.

I don't mind the brightness of the focusing screen a bit. I find it very useable. Then again, I like shooting Barnacks, so maybe I'm used to torturing myself!

I have to say, this camera is so much fun to shoot. I am a slow/deliberate shooter even with my M bodies, so I don't find the 'cord is slowing me down at all. It's such a well-made camera to work with. I can now see why so many rave about them. I presume it's only a matter of time before I get myself a Rolleiflex. But for now, I am happy to shoot my Rolleicord.
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Old 05-20-2013   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjoca76 View Post
I bought a Rolleicord V myself a couple days ago. My fist TLR, or medium format camera of any kind--I've been shooting Leicas for years.

While using it the first time this weekend, I had the film advance jam on me a couple of times. I wouldn't be able to turn the knob and advance to the next frame. But I was able to cock and release the shutter. I eventually realized that it happens if I don't move the shutter release tab all the way to the left. I was handholding slow exposures and in my attempt to keep the camera as still a possible, I wasn't pushing the tab far enough over. But when I do, no problems--I am able to advance the film. Is this normal? I got the camera from KEH. It's very nice, and all shutter speeds sound accurate, so I presume this was a user error on my part. But I want to make sure since I am new to TLR cameras.

Any other tips/suggestions?
Andy, there are two separate mechanisms at work. There is the tripping of the shutter release, and the tripping of the double-exposure prevention mechanism. I am not familiar with the specific mechanisms in the Rolliecord, but they each have their own adjustment on other cameras.

If the two mechanisms get out of sync, aren't perfectly adjusted, it becomes possible to have things work as you say. I've had Yashica-Mats where it works as oyu say- shutter fires but film won't wind. And the other way, where it is possible to activate the wind mechanism without tripping the shutter.

It's your call if you want KEH to work on it. It will be possible to get the two better aligned. Then again, if all you need to do is push the shutter release all the way when the wind mechanism won't work, maybe see what else is going on for a while?

Anyway, it is adjustable.
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Old 05-20-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
Andy, there are two separate mechanisms at work. There is the tripping of the shutter release, and the tripping of the double-exposure prevention mechanism. I am not familiar with the specific mechanisms in the Rolliecord, but they each have their own adjustment on other cameras.

If the two mechanisms get out of sync, aren't perfectly adjusted, it becomes possible to have things work as you say. I've had Yashica-Mats where it works as oyu say- shutter fires but film won't wind. And the other way, where it is possible to activate the wind mechanism without tripping the shutter.

It's your call if you want KEH to work on it. It will be possible to get the two better aligned. Then again, if all you need to do is push the shutter release all the way when the wind mechanism won't work, maybe see what else is going on for a while?

Anyway, it is adjustable.
Thanks, Dan. I appreciate your input. I'm going to keep an eye on it, but will keep shooting for now. I'm going to develop my first roll tonight, which should let me see if there are any other problems, particularly shutter speeds. I don't expect any issues, but you never know. One of nice things about buying through KEH is they have a good warranty and return policy, should something turn up.
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Old 05-20-2013   #18
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M2 Fan - looking forward to seeing your images. I Have a Xenar-lensed Vb in my arsenal, they truly are a fine camera - I'm sure you will love the results.
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Old 05-20-2013   #19
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Yes, as usual Dan nailed it.

I will mention that, the other thing that can happen, is that it can be possible to advance the film before the shutter has been tripped. Ie the reverse effect, if I understand you, of what you experienced.

You can assess the relationship between the two parts of the mechanism by cocking the shutter with the double exposure "off" (red dot covered), and then gently actuating the shutter with a *little* tension on the wind knob. If the film advance knob begins to rotate before the shutter trips, it is a little out of adjustment.

I have to stress that in practical use it is not much of an issue, if the user is aware of it, because if the frame spacing is good and shutter speeds OK the camera will function fine. If all you need to do is be aware that the lever has to be gently but firmly moved all the way over, personally I'd probably not worry any further.

What can be more of an issue is if the shutter release is slightly bent and excessive pressure is needed to make the shutter trip. This can make it a little harder to get really sharp shots because, when all is well, believe me, you can fire off a Cord really smoothly, with just the lever. I had the release button with a couple of mine but rarely used it. As a tripod user it was too much of a hassle having to unscrew it to insert a cable release (and in fact I lost one of them at one point because of this). But I never had any issues using the lever, in practice.

A friend has what may be the most immaculate Rolleicord V I've ever seen; it is lovely. Having said that, there is a higher than usual amount of presssure needed to get the lever to release the shutter, definitely atypical, having handled quite a few Cords now. That needs to be sorted for her, as it affects the user experience and also at slower shutter speeds could affect sharpness for hand held images.

If you are able to fire the shutter with gentle fingertip pressure, I'd say you have little to worry about. It is one of those things that you might get adjusted if the camera required a service, however if it was mine, I would not rate it significant enough to attend to by itself, if it did not affect my ability to gently fire the shutter.

On the general topic of technique for maximum quality: a Rollei TLR is capable of stunning image quality. There are many things that contribute to this, from the calibre of the lenses, build quality and accuracy of assembly etc. One thing that doesn't hurt at all is the Compur lens shutters, which are just so smooth. It's possible to use a relatively lightweight tripod with excellent results, as virtually nothing in the way of vibration has to be absorbed by it. The self timer can be a key ingredient of this, by enabling the photographer to trip the shutter without causing camera movement, and if you prefer to have a release button installed in the cable socket, it enables you to dispense with a cable release much of the time.

FYI, the timer can also be used to good effect for sharpness when the camera is hand held. By setting the timer, one can concentrate on breathing, keeping the shutter stabilised on its strap against one's chest, etc. You will need to test for yourself with your unloaded camera however you should find that if the shutter is working to spec, you can arm the timer lever only three or four clicks on its ratchet, to give you a couple of seconds delay, rather than the normal ten seconds that applies if the timer lever is fully depressed. This is surprisingly useful out on the street, where a ten second delay inevitable sees someone walking into your shot and so on. On the other hand, using the two second delay permits you to hold the Cord perfectly still during exposures under 1/125 and the slower your speed the more this can help, and is short enough to usually permit you to get your shot..
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Old 05-21-2013   #20
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Brett, thanks so much for your post. Very helpful. I will keep an eye out for the potential problems you've mentioned. Before I was just barely moving the shutter release tab over to the left in an attempt to keep the camera as steady as possible, and I think that was the issue. So far no more problems. I haven't found myself having to use any extra force to release it.

I loaded up my first roll this morning--which was actually far easier than 35mm; no canister to pry open, and the strip of film is much shorter--and will develop it tonight. I am excited.

These cameras are addicting to use!
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Old 05-21-2013   #21
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I agree! Got back my roll and everything is good, the spacing is right on, sharpness from the Xenar is excellent. I'm really excited about the 'Cord! Cocking the shutter and releasing it are so simple and I do love the right hand focus! I also like the lens so much, in B&W it is wonderful.
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Old 05-21-2013   #22
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Quote:
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Before I was just barely moving the shutter release tab over to the left in an attempt to keep the camera as steady as possible, and I think that was the issue. So far no more problems. I haven't found myself having to use any extra force to release it.

These cameras are addicting to use!
If you do find that you can't wind on, just give the shutter button a push again. There's a good chance that this will activate the mechanism. So- do your gentle shutter release as works best for you, then come back to release the double exposure mechanism if needed.

They are not addictive, by the way. I can quit any time!
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Old 05-21-2013   #23
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Have a Cord V. Love everything about it but hate the shutter release lever, and very much wish I had the OE supplied shutter release button. *sigh*
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Old 05-21-2013   #24
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I've been following this thread with interest as the TLR's are works of mechanical art to me.
Could one of you gents post a picture of your camera, please?
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Old 05-21-2013   #25
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AOA: here goes. ROLLEICORD V.

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Old 05-21-2013   #26
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Originally Posted by anjoca76 View Post
Brett, thanks so much for your post. Very helpful. I will keep an eye out for the potential problems you've mentioned. Before I was just barely moving the shutter release tab over to the left in an attempt to keep the camera as steady as possible, and I think that was the issue. So far no more problems. I haven't found myself having to use any extra force to release it.

I loaded up my first roll this morning--which was actually far easier than 35mm; no canister to pry open, and the strip of film is much shorter--and will develop it tonight. I am excited.

These cameras are addicting to use!
You're always welcome. They are addictive alright. The combination of image quality and their inherent beauty as an example of neo-Art Deco design make them a delight. You may well find that one is not enough, or even develop a lust for a Flex. That's quite a normal occurrence as one enters the tertiary stage of the disease. Just hang on to your Cord, when you do, they're closer to a Flex in many ways that matter than some might think, not least quality of images.

Incidentally, I was asked to give a 30 minute talk to one of the local camera clubs last week about my film workflow and using film etc. I took along a number of my cameras, including some tasty items like my Hasselblad, a bunch of different Contaflex models with all the lenses & film magazines etc., various early Prakticas with Zeiss prisms and CZJ Biotars and so on. Of course, the cameras that attracted more attention and interest, than all the other ones put together, were the two Rolleiflexes sitting on the display table. That says a lot, I reckon.
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Old 05-21-2013   #27
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AOA: here goes. ROLLEICORD V.

That is a really lovely example, and exactly what you want to find (if you're lucky enough to). They will often still need the shutter cleaned when found in this condition, but its clearly been cherished, and carefully used. You're much less likely to find the common problems of wonky focus and worn cam followers etc. with one in this sort of condition. Believe me, they seem to be getting harder and harder to acquire in this kind of nick than they used to a few years ago.
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Old 05-21-2013   #28
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Beautiful V. Just as how I would like it if I still collected Rolleis.
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Old 05-21-2013   #29
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That camera is a thing of beauty, Tony. Congratulations!
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Old 05-21-2013   #30
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Thank you Tony.
That is a really nice looking camera.
I was looking at the 'Show off your..." thread and couldn't tell which one yours was like since not all the pictures are labeled as per model etc.
That's gotta feel good in your hands I bet. Congrats on finding it.
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Old 05-21-2013   #31
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It feels really good in your hands. The film advance is such a short throw and is very precise and positive as is the large focus knob. It's definitely a keeper.
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Old 05-22-2013   #32
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I developed and scanned my first roll from my V. I wish I had more exciting images to share, but I was only walking around the block to shoot a roll and test the camera in harsh light. Boring images aside, I'm happy with the results, insofar as the performance of the camera. It works well and I am really looking forward to shooting more interesting subjects later this week and over the weekend. Thanks to all for your help and suggestions.


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Old 05-28-2013   #33
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Well, despite having made it through one roll of film without problems, I've lost two rolls since to the camera's malfunctioning film advance transport. It won't consistently work. So it's going back to KEH for a refund. I asked for a repair, but they said they wouldn't be able to fix it.

This is the fourth camera I've purchased from them over the years. Three of the four have been defective in some way--or at least not in the way described. Which is unfortunate because they are otherwise great to deal with. Their customer service is awesome, and I've gotten lenses and small accessories that have been very good. But not much luck with cameras.

So the search continues for a working Rolleicord, preferably another V...
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Old 05-28-2013   #34
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Quote:
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Well, despite having made it through one roll of film without problems, I've lost two rolls since to the camera's malfunctioning film advance transport. It won't consistently work. So it's going back to KEH for a refund. I asked for a repair, but they said they wouldn't be able to fix it.

This is the fourth camera I've purchased from them over the years. Three of the four have been defective in some way--or at least not in the way described. Which is unfortunate because they are otherwise great to deal with. Their customer service is awesome, and I've gotten lenses and small accessories that have been very good. But not much luck with cameras.

So the search continues for a working Rolleicord, preferably another V...
If you're otherwise happy with the camera, you should give serious thought
to keeping it and sending it out for a cleaning. Film transport issues in a
Rolleicord should in most cases be solved by a simple CLA. These cameras
are all getting quite old, and it's good practice to send a new purchase out
for cleaning. FWIW, I recommend Paul Ebel in WI, [email protected].

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Old 05-28-2013   #35
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Quote:
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If you're otherwise happy with the camera, you should give serious thought
to keeping it and sending it out for a cleaning. Film transport issues in a
Rolleicord should in most cases be solved by a simple CLA. These cameras
are all getting quite old, and it's good practice to send a new purchase out
for cleaning. FWIW, I recommend Paul Ebel in WI, [email protected].

Sanders
Thanks for the tip. I emailed him. I do otherwise like the camera. But I also don't want to wind up having to invest several hundreds more in a camera that I bought in supposedly "working" condition.
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Old 05-28-2013   #36
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Andy,
I think Sanders is on the money. And a Rolleicord V is a lot easier to work on than a Flex. It's a cinch to get to the components of the film advance mechanism. Shouldn't be an expensive fix from an ethical repairer. Five or ten minutes work and they should be looking at the mechanism. Cleaning and/or adjustment are the likely fix.

It looks like a beautiful example. Personally I would stick with it. Yes, you may be down another $100 (maybe less) but, you'll have a gorgeous example that will run for years. Send it back and try for another one, and who knows what you'll end up with. I can't handle this one to do the usual checks for you, but it looks pristine. If the focus is smooth and even, and the lenses clean, it's worth fixing. Sometimes you're better off with the devil you know.
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Old 05-28-2013   #37
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Thanks guys. I am considering going the CLA route. It does seem like wisest choice in the long run.
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Old 05-28-2013   #38
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I agree with the previous posts that all of these old cameras will need something cleaned or adjusted after all these years of sitting idle, the chances of finding an excellent user after 60 years is almost nil .
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Old 05-28-2013   #39
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Paul Ebel said to return it--if the film transport is bad, it's a major repair and he said he probably can't fix it anyway due to lack of parts. Oh well. There are plenty of others out there.
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Old 05-28-2013   #40
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Cords weather well are simple in their mechanism and are one of the easier cameras to repair. Any camera repair shop [ old school ] would find this a breeze I am sure. In my experienc wth my Rolliecord and othe TLRs the mechanism will be sticky rather than worn out. If the outsides look good you can bet the inside will be just the same.
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