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I want a Rolleiflex...
Old 04-10-2017   #1
sara
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I want a Rolleiflex...

...but I didn't know there were so many models and I don't know which one to get. 😭

I want to shoot more medium format and want a more portable camera with me. 😶
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Old 04-10-2017   #2
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Budget?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-10-2017   #3
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What is wrong with Yashica Mat 124G or Rolleicord? Serviced Rolleicord was around 200 USD in 2016 and it is was really good for me, IMO .
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Old 04-10-2017   #4
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I actually didn't quite want and need a Rollei and at the end got a Rolleicord.
$140 shipped Rolleicord V and coming from another Photographer so fine and not lazy.

I would base the choice around 4 element Tessar type (Xenar too) or a Planar type lens, and from then on choose.

As Ko says, a cord should be great. The greatest difference is the lack of automat loading and knob wind with separate shutter cocking.

Flexes with Planar or Xenotar are quite a bit more expensive.


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Old 04-10-2017   #5
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As you go up the alphabet they get newer and newer features, look at the D, E
and F models, the F is the latest and modern features like the following
interchangeable viewfinders and screens which is great feature the D and E don't
but are great as well. There are the 2.8 and 3.5 aperture lens the 2.8 go for
a premium the 3.5 a little less, But if you're first starting out try to find a "E"
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Old 04-10-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sara View Post
I want to shoot more medium format and want a more portable camera with me. 😶
Rolleiflex is not very portable, also limit on just one focal length. If you want portable in medium format and one focal length and quality negs, Fujifilm GF670 is the one you want!
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Old 04-10-2017   #7
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You are asking for help in the right place. You can get advice about Rolleis in any number of places on the World Wide Web, but coming from here it is far more likely to actually be right!

It's hard to go wrong, well, badly wrong anyway. I'd suggest avoiding the pre-Automat models, they are not for beginners, otherwise it's a matter of budget and whether you prefer an 80mm or 75mm lens. As a previous reply mentions, the earlier models are better value for money than the F (which seems to be the only Rolleiflex a lot of would-be buyers contemplate, for reasons that don't always make a great deal of sense to me). Do yourself a favour and (if you were inclined to insist on it) dispense with any requirement for a built in light meter. Otherwise you will be divesting yourself of the opportunity to contemplate owning some of the very best models.

As has been stated also there is absolutely nothing wrong with a solid Rolleicord, either, but they are not a Rolleiflex and sometimes the heart pulls as strongly as one's head when deciding what to look for—that's something I am all too familiar with myself.
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Old 04-10-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfilm View Post
Rolleiflex is not very portable, also limit on just one focal length. If you want portable in medium format and one focal length and quality negs, Fujifilm GF670 is the one you want!
I disagree completely with the above.
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Old 04-10-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfilm View Post
Rolleiflex is not very portable, also limit on just one focal length. If you want portable in medium format and one focal length and quality negs, Fujifilm GF670 is the one you want!
The GF670 is hardly smaller than a Rollei... in fact when unfolded it is larger. Arguably the Rollei is more ergonomic too.

As for which Rollei to get, there aren't really any bad ones, although some of the very old ones may not be very practical for actual use. Get the best condition one you can find and afford.
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Old 04-10-2017   #10
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If you are going to go for something off-brand, find a Minolta Autocord. The lens is better than any Yashica, better than the Tessar and Xenars I have used on 'Flex and 'Cords alike.

As for Rolleis in general, buy based on condition/verified working order/service history and less on model. They are like Leicas in that if not used, they seem to suffer more than a similar age Japanese camera and so need service before being put back into use. Beyond that, if you haven't used one before you won't know what is important to you so buy from a source that you can make a return to, or from a reputable store that you can put your hands on. Like said above, it's hard to go too far wrong. The T model and Magic models could be seen as less desirable, same for the older ones but the later Planar equipped models are not too expensive these days although the market seems to be going back up recently.

I have been trimming my TLR collection down to my favorites, a 2.8F is staying as well as a non-metered Autocord and for a couple of usable paperweights, an original model Rolleiflex (614 model) - 620 film and gray Baby - 127 film.
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Old 04-10-2017   #11
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Why is it that when someone says they want a "x" camera, there are always people that tell them they actually want something else? Do they go up to people at restaurants and tell them not to order the filet mignon but get the hamburger instead? Also beef but cheaper?

Sara wants a Rolleiflex. Not a Fuji/Yashica etc. How is that so hard to understand?

The important question as Roger mentioned is what is the budget?
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Old 04-10-2017   #12
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Some of us read not only the thread title, but what is written in the message:
Quote:
I want to shoot more medium format and want a more portable camera with me.
I make steak on BBQ because it is cheaper and better and I order burger in restaurant, because I can't cook burger as good as they do.
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Old 04-10-2017   #13
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i still use my father's Rolleiflex, it's about 60 years old, not sure which model is, it's very basic but very nice to use it. I'm just back from a road trip during which I shot 10 rolls with it.
I find it not heavy and very portable. And the square format sometimes is ...just relaxing!
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Old 04-10-2017   #14
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Brett's advice is quite spot on and also touches the issue of flex being flex. I think I'll be quite happy with the cord as I can forego the crank wind and automat loading. A planar would be nice, but the Xenar might be quite fine!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Why is it that when someone says they want a "x" camera, there are always people that tell them they actually want something else? Do they go up to people at restaurants and tell them not to order the filet mignon but get the hamburger instead? Also beef but cheaper?

Sara wants a Rolleiflex. Not a Fuji/Yashica etc. How is that so hard to understand?

The important question as Roger mentioned is what is the budget?
In part disagree, it's good to put good options on the menu as well. The Fuji is another different matter but the Minolta Autocord is an interesting option. If we discuss TLR's which basically are similar. Rather than filet mignon, hamburger and beef; It should be seeing as debating on US, Argentina or New Zealand beef the steak is made of.

Again, The Fuji GF/Bessa III is a RF and very different shooting experience. Looking forward to my Rolleicord to arrive home and see the difference.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sara View Post
I want to shoot more medium format and want a more portable camera with me. ��
As Roger asked, budget is a very important variable and defines heavily the choice. Have lots of $? Perhaps a 2.8GX/FX or F is nice to get the modern flagship. On a budget, an Automat. Around 500 could get a good Planar/Xenotar 3.5.
Edit: As a note, while reading old threads about Rolleis, the Automats were quite cheaper a few years ago. The Minolta Autocords have appreciated as well. Other models may be all over the place.
If lightweight is a priority, it might lean towards the 3.5's. The 2.8's are reported to be heavier.
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Old 04-10-2017   #15
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Personally, from the cameras I've used, the 3.5 Planar on an F gives the most "magical" image quality. But this is only limited experience and I'm not a great fan of TLRs anyway.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-10-2017   #16
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Rolleiflexs are like Leicas, each one is great in its own right. Differences may not be as easily discernible to other cameras, but I doubt there is a BAD one.

If you are buying used listen to every shutter speed. Fire off about 10 shots with each, listen for the duration and sound. If there are differences on the speeds it's an indication your new best friend needs a CLA (Clean, Lube, Adjustment). Again, listen to the duration in groups of three, one faster, the one you want, and a slower one. If they sound off (e.g. twice as fast, twice as long), it's an indication it needs something.

Portability is like which lens is best, different folks will be looking for different things. Sharpness, rendering, somethings can be measured, others are feeling (opinion based). Portability brings in aspects like weight that can be measured, but also things like style, that can't. A nice leather case on a Rolleiflex with a matching leather strap may fit you style MUCH better than a newer Fuji with a nylon strap.

Fine one that's been treated with respect and learn its strengths, how it renders, make some great shots and share them with us.

Newer models have less steps and will allow for faster handling than many older ones.

B2 (;->
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Old 04-10-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sara View Post
...but I didn't know there were so many models and I don't know which one to get. 😭

I want to shoot more medium format and want a more portable camera with me. 😶
I have a 3.5F and a 2.8F (both with Planar lens, both late serials, both now fitted with Mamiya RB67 "A" focusing screens which I custom cut - easy). They're gems with working and accurate lightmeters. But now they've become very expensive, and those models are relatively heavy.

At some point I used to own a meterless 3.5 MX-EVS Type II with a Tessar, and sold it to a friend. I now regret it. This is a fabulous Rolleiflex. It's more compact and more light than the "F" models. And from f/5.6 onwards the lens was quite on par with the Planar of my "F" cameras :



Once fitted with a better focusing screen (the original mineral glass screen is plenty useless because it's very dim) the 3.5 MX-EVS Type II might be the perfect Rolleiflex for a budget.

Go for a meterless model - most of the built-in Rolleiflex lightmeters of the 1950s era are dead now.

You can get one for under $500. Get a beautiful one which hasn't been abused.

http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Rol...-(Type-2).html
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Old 04-10-2017   #18
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Hi Sara

The most important factor with these now 50+ year old cameras is condition.
All the lenses in the most common models are good and give good results.
Some lenses have developed seperation or have heavy coating loss.

I've owned several models over the years.
My favorite model is the f2.8D with the Xenotar lens.
The Xenotars seem to have a harder coating and are more resistant to separation (never have seen one with this issue).
The D is a robust and simple build with no meter.
The finder hood is screwed on which I prefer over those models where it can be removed easily.

I've also had a wonderful experience with The Rolleiflex T with a late Zeiss 75mm f3.5 Tessar.
The Tessar was surprisingly Modern in its rendering with great contrast and sharpness.
The T is a great little camera. Lighter weight than a 2.8 model.

Again, condition is most important. None of these are terribly expensive to anyone who is used to Leica costs.
For example: a 2.8D will be $500-$1000 after overhaul/cla. A T will be $200-$500.
One with a resent overhaul may be worth the nearly double price.

This link helps you identify the different models and their production years from the Serial number:

http://www.rolleiclub.com/cameras/tl..._numbers.shtml

Best!!
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Old 04-10-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert blu View Post
i still use my father's Rolleiflex, it's about 60 years old, not sure which model is, it's very basic but very nice to use it. I'm just back from a road trip during which I shot 10 rolls with it.
I find it not heavy and very portable. And the square format sometimes is ...just relaxing!
robert
Hi Robert,
How about I bring with me a Rolleiflex (2.8D) and leave behind the SWC? The 2.8D was made in 1955, which is an awesome year for "great products"! It happens to be the year in which I was born
It has no meter and no removable prism. I does have a great lens, and it works like a charm.
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Old 04-10-2017   #20
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I have both a flex and a cord. I think the flex is a T, and the cord is a V. I don't use either much today, but when I did use them, the cord got more use. Not exactly sure why. I think both have 3.5 tessars. Both have sluggish shutters now. Anyway, the advice to consider a Rolleicord is very solid advice.

Now, I know there was banter about not suggesting other brands, but I thought it worthwhile if someone has never shot with a TLR before, perhaps getting another very capable non-Rollei model and trying out the "TLR lifestyle" without the major investment. Having said that, it should be obvious I also have some Yashica and Minolta TLRs. Funny thing is the Rolleicord was my gateway. Got it for a steal back when I had no idea what I was buying.... All of them [nearly] give me a satisfactory MF experience.

To me, portable MF = Mamiya 6 or 7. I think Sara may have a Hasselblad currently, the Rollei's aren't much more portable, but definitely a different experience. No?
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Old 04-10-2017   #21
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Rfaspen, yes I do have a Hasselblad ��

Holy crap guys, okay let me take a few moments to read everything. Haha!

I think when I meant portable, just something easier to put in a girly bag rather than a Hasselblad. My boss has a Rolleiflex and just glanced at it briefly but it was definitely more compact.

My tutor suggested I get a Mamiya C330 (when I was still at uni but I saw the size of it and thought 'nope').
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Old 04-10-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
If you are going to go for something off-brand, find a Minolta Autocord. The lens is better than any Yashica, better than the Tessar and Xenars I have used on 'Flex and 'Cords alike.

As for Rolleis in general, buy based on condition/verified working order/service history and less on model. They are like Leicas in that if not used, they seem to suffer more than a similar age Japanese camera and so need service before being put back into use. Beyond that, if you haven't used one before you won't know what is important to you so buy from a source that you can make a return to, or from a reputable store that you can put your hands on. Like said above, it's hard to go too far wrong. The T model and Magic models could be seen as less desirable, same for the older ones but the later Planar equipped models are not too expensive these days although the market seems to be going back up recently.

I have been trimming my TLR collection down to my favorites, a 2.8F is staying as well as a non-metered Autocord and for a couple of usable paperweights, an original model Rolleiflex (614 model) - 620 film and gray Baby - 127 film.
Your best choice is a Rolleiflex or later model Rolleicord. These are the quality cameras. Avoid the Rolleiflex with the f2.8 Tessar lens, it was a mistake on Rollei's part.

I suggest you avoid the Autocord. The (pot metal) focus lever is weak and prone to break off in use. The Yashicas were discount store cameras and made to sell for a relatively low price.
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Old 04-10-2017   #23
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Twin lens is much more handhold-able compared to a Hassy.
Much more. 1/15- 1/8sec with a bit of bracing oneself is doable.
You'll love it.
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Old 04-10-2017   #24
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The Rolleicord V is a nice and inexpensive way to see how you like the TLR experience. I've used Rolleicord Vs and the Rolleiflex F 2.8, and also the Minolta Autocord. The Rollieflex' is much heavier than the Rolleicords, but image IQ is great with all of these cameras.
If you want a light, inexpensive, option to try, go with a Rolleicord V or the Minolta Autocord. The Autocord is my favorite of the light weights and I find it the easiest to use. I'm selling a Rolleicord V now, as I have two of these.
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Old 04-10-2017   #25
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The only medium format camera more portable than a Rolleiflex/Rolleicord is a folder. The Xenar lens is a capable lens, but the Xenotar and Planar is sharper with more contrast. Unless you plan to shoot at 2.8 a lot, save some $ and get a 3.5 model. I have a Maxwell screen and it is a huge upgrade over the stock screen.
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Old 04-10-2017   #26
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@ sara. for sure the Rolleiflex is light and easy to bring in a bag, I usually bring it in a small Hadley together with other stuff ...



@Raid: good idea if you bring the Rollei lighter than your SWC. Of course very different camera...you brought the SWC last time you came maybe a good idea to try something different this time...

robert
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Old 04-10-2017   #27
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I've also had a wonderful experience with The Rolleiflex T with a late Zeiss 75mm f3.5 Tessar.
The tessar was surprisingly Modern in it's rendering with great contrast and sharpness.
The T is a great little camera. Lighter weight than a 2.8 model.
I would not go for a Rolleiflex T now in 2017.

The plastic bands which drives the f-stop and speeds indicators under the viewing window will break sooner or later. Once they're broken you're left with a camera which still works but on which you can't know what speed and what aperture you've chosen.

The Tessar of the T is the same lens as the Tessar of the 3.5 MX-EVS Type II. It's said to be a different lens on some Internet pages but this never was proved. There aren't many different ways to build a 4-elements Tessar 75mm f/3.5 with coated Zeiss glass previously melted by the Schott factory.
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Old 04-10-2017   #28
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Well, I guess I was wrong about my lenses. Xenotar on the flex (Model E 3.5), Xenar on the cord (Model Va). I definitely have Tessars on some of my cameras, just don't remember which ones.

The Yashica's are not as nice as the Rollei's, no argument there. But I thought they performed nicely. My Rolleicord went all over with me for a while, and no issues ever. Its just getting gummy in the shutter from age and low usage. The focussing screen has always been my main complaint.

The C330 is a beast. I was never attracted to that one.

And at least I didn't recommend some of the other models I saw in the closet: The Anscoflex, Arogflex, Kodak Duoflex, Tower (Towerflex?), Lubitel, or the .... (I have a lot of cameras). All marvels of plastic and mass production. Especially the American-made stuff.

Sara, you once told me you have a Hasselblad. I am not a psychic mind-reader. Some days I wish I was though.
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Old 04-10-2017   #29
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Ok I think a 3.5 one is sufficient within my budget.

Rfaspen, yes, I think I did! It was the first medium format camera I used (or more of, had to use at uni).
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Old 04-10-2017   #30
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If your budget is $350US and up look for a Rolleiflex. If it is $100-150 look for a Rolleicord. The 'cords are small and light and very well made.
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Old 04-10-2017   #31
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If your budget is limited..Rolliecord lV or V..magic cam at F5.6 on down..and lightweight..
If you shoot wide open a lot and want better screen...the 3.5F is nice...but more weight..
A Yashica w/Yashinon is no slouch either..
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Old 04-10-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert blu View Post
@ sara. for sure the Rolleiflex is light and easy to bring in a bag, I usually bring it in a small Hadley together with other stuff ...



@Raid: good idea if you bring the Rollei lighter than your SWC. Of course very different camera...you brought the SWC last time you came maybe a good idea to try something different this time...

robert
I actually may do this, Robert. Just like what you have shown in your camera bag, I will have the M9, the E-PL1, and the Rolleiflex.

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Old 04-10-2017   #33
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Personally, from the cameras I've used, the 3.5 Planar on an F gives the most "magical" image quality. But this is only limited experience and I'm not a great fan of TLRs anyway.

Cheers,

R.
Hi Roger,
I have such a model, and I like using it. I also like the 2.8D Planar and the Tele Rolleiflex with its 135mm Sonnar.
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Old 04-10-2017   #34
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I vote for the Rolleiflex T if you can find one in hood working condition. It has I think the most versatility while using Bay I accessories, which are significantly cheaper than others. The 16 frame mask is useful and easy to install and remove, it can take a rolleikin for using 35mm film and the normal viewer is replaceable with a prism viewer. The rolleicord vb has similar versatility but I have never used one.

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Old 04-10-2017   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sara View Post
Rfaspen, yes I do have a Hasselblad ��

Holy crap guys, okay let me take a few moments to read everything. Haha!

I think when I meant portable, just something easier to put in a girly bag rather than a Hasselblad. My boss has a Rolleiflex and just glanced at it briefly but it was definitely more compact.

My tutor suggested I get a Mamiya C330 (when I was still at uni but I saw the size of it and thought 'nope').
It is more compact, vastly quieter, and despite the fact that the whole thing seems a kludge, much more elegant in operation. I mean think about what happens when you take a picture with a Hasselblad -- dark slide out if it isn't already, shutter closes, mirror up, auxilliary shutter up, shutter opens, shutter closes. Then you have to wind it to close the aux shutter & bring down the mirror. Little things but they make medium format seems such a bother. The Rollei is a one camera around your neck, a few rolls of film in your pocket and go out shooting kind of a camera.

As for your question -- the advice you've gotten from those who took seriously the fact that you want a Rolleiflex is good. Think more about condition and lens condition especially than any particular model. I have a 2.8c, love it still and for nearly twenty years it was the only camera I ever used or wanted.
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Old 04-10-2017   #36
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With regard to the previously mentioned Yaschica Mat 124G, age has a deleterious effect on the winding mechanism of these cameras. They can be fixed but not easily and not permanently. That said, the Yashinon lenses are excellent.

Ok, to the Rolleiflex...
A few years ago I owned a 3.5E Planar and i had it for about a year. Loved that camera but came on a period where I was out of work and i had to sell it. Totally should have kept it. It was just about perfect and I'd love to use another one but I have enough 120 cameras now (two Mamiya 6 bodies) so I just have to deal with using the fantastic gear I own.

Keep a few hundred in your budget to get a CLA on the camera. Mine had low shutter speeds and a dirty finder so I sent it to Krikor Marelian and he made it brand new in just a couple days. It was one of the best tools I've ever owned and I was foolish to sell it.

Get one with any of the lenses, though the Planars are absolutely top shelf, get it serviced, use it, love it and don't sell it.





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Old 04-10-2017   #37
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Great advice given. I'm actually surprised to see that much activity! You hit a few timezones well

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Originally Posted by raid View Post
I actually may do this, Robert. Just like what you have shown in your camera bag, I will have the M9, the E-PL1, and the Rolleiflex.

Raid
Sizeable storage for the film too? I have the idea of going on a long trip and bring MF but cull 35mm because it would be all over the place format wise. I have a Fuji 6x9 which is portable, convenient for the format but not compact. Sorry for OT.

On the NYC thread there was some Rolleiflex talk (which pushed my GAS) and there was some advice against the 2.8C for some repair difficulties.

I'd love a 2.8 planar or Xenotar! Perhaps in a mid term future I'll jump for a Planar or Xenotar Flex.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jamin-b View Post
I vote for the Rolleiflex T if you can find one in hood working condition. It has I think the most versatility while using Bay I accessories, which are significantly cheaper than others. The 16 frame mask is useful and easy to install and remove, it can take a rolleikin for using 35mm film and the normal viewer is replaceable with a prism viewer. The rolleicord vb has similar versatility but I have never used one.

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I almost snatched up a Vb with the 16exp kit (no 12 counter though), and it would have been an interesting 645 camera! (Actually 55x40). 187 ending bid. Sniped and lost by 1, but didn't want to spend over 200.

As of the T, the disadvantage is that the price has risen quite a bit due to Vivan Mayer's popularity and reportedly not as strongly built as Automats or even 'Cords. Vb can often go expensive because of "last model" reputation, though you can find good prices such as the auction I did.
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Old 04-10-2017   #38
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get an automat, preferably an mx-evs. i never liked the push levers on the rolleicords for adjusting exposure.
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Old 04-10-2017   #39
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My Rolleiflex Automat MX EVS has a really sharp Tessar lens, and cost much less than the models with Planar (let alone Sonnar) lenses.

I also concur with the advice to consider a late model Rolleicord, like the Rolleicord Va or Vb (I have one of the latter). It's slightly more compact and lighter than the 'flex, and the Xenar lens is comparable to the Tessar. It will also cost less than a 'flex, but I don't think you give up a lot in image quality, IMO.
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Old 04-10-2017   #40
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Become a member of the Rolleiflex User Group on Facebook, it's also for those that want to buy a Rolleiflex but need some information. And occasionally there are pretty nice cameras for sale too.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/346766212036744/



EDIT: If it's the medium format look you are after, the Tessar will serve you very well already. The Xenars and Xenotars are a bit soft bit very nice rendering. The Planar is very sharp and has the name of being the best, expect to pay extra.

If it's the image quality you're after: consider an Ikoflex. They have Tessar lenses (or Novar-Anastigmat, same thing for the British and US market) too and cost considerably less than the Rolleiflex. Plus, some models have nice Art Deco like design


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