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Yashica MAT or Rolleiflex TLR
Old 07-03-2014   #1
Pfreddee
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Yashica MAT or Rolleiflex TLR

I own a Yashica MAT 124G, which I've owned since 1986, when my wife bought it for me. It's been through one CLA and apart from an occasional issue with frame spacing, it has been an excellent camera. I am curious about using a Rolleiflex, and I wonder if the picture quality would be worth laying out cash for one, or would the Yashica continue to serve me as in the past?

What is the opinion of those of you who have used both?

Thanks in advance to those who reply.

With best regards,

Pfeddee(Stephen)
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Old 07-03-2014   #2
ThreeToedSlothLuke
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I have the 124G which I bought new in the early 80s. A Yashica D and a Rolleiflex Automat type 4 (from about 1947/48). The last two were bought used. Of the Yashicas I actually prefer the D. I just find the Yashicor lens suits my style and taste. The Rollei really, really needs a CLA; well, really a overhaul. I'm just not sure to whom I should send it. (My instinct says Harry Fleenor but my bank balance asks if I'm kidding).
That said, the Rollei really produces wonderful photos. I don't think you'd regret buying one, I feel you'd notice the difference in the picture quality and, given that 120 only gives 12 exposures, it's well worth having two of them.

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Old 07-03-2014   #3
f16sunshine
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Hi Stephen

If you choose a Rollieflex with a Xenotar or Planar lens you will see a difference in image quality and character vs the Yashicamat .
These lenses tend to be more uniformly sharp out to the edges. OOF character will be different as well (Busier but less swirly).

If you chose a Rolleiflex with a Tessar or Xenar lens, it's unlikely you would see much difference in image quality or character other than possibly a bit better flare resistance.
Schneider and Zeiss both had better coatings than Yashica provided the Yashinon in the 124G.
As well the Xenar/Tessar will be a 75mm rather than the Yashica 80mm.
I've used them all extensively and really can not say there is much other difference between the Tessar/Xenar/Yashinon (tessar optical scheme).

Build quality is another subject. The rollei Cameras are built to a higher standard than the Yashica.

If you have been satisfied since 1986 my god how lucky! I would just simply stay with the Yashica.

I like the Tessar Image character at times and even though I have owned a Xenar and Tessar lens Rollie in the past, I now use a Yashicamat LM for the tessar and a Rolleiflex 2.8D for the Xenotar (Planar double Gauss or "Planar" optical scheme).
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Old 07-03-2014   #4
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Prices for older cameras fluctuate to a degree, but they are not going to permanently nosedive anytime soon.

If you purchase a camera that does not need costly maintenance, then decide you do not need it, you can sell it for close to what you paid. If you do keep it, then you made a smart purchase.
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Old 07-03-2014   #5
Dan Daniel
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f16sunshine/Andy says it well. The Xenotar or Planar lenses on later Rolleiflexes will have a different look than the Yashinon Tessar-type lens. If you want the look, you'll need to get one of these models (the letter series, C to F). You are looking at maybe $400 and up, with 'up' being the reasonable expectation for a working sample.

The build quality of a Rollei is much better than a Yashica. Pure and simple. Everything is machined better, assembled and adjusted better. It feels more solid in the hand, the focus action is smoother, the shutter action is nicer. I could show you the difference between the Rollei and Yahsica shutter release mechanism and you'd get it right away. The Rollei is 'tuned,' smoother. But it also does exactly what the Yahsica shutter release mechanism does- fire the shutter at a regular moment in the movement of a simple mechanism.

The question is if this is important to you or not. Because when the day is done, both the Rollei and Yashica are light-tight boxes with comparable focus and film wind systems that let the lenses do what they need to do. Pretty simple all in all. The Yashica is a very capable and very good quality camera that delivers.
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Old 07-03-2014   #6
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Here's a guy who does (IMHO) really good work with a 124G.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
and here's my work with both MX Automat and 3.5F Rolleiflex.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/srca_h...7622095666194/
I think you're fine where you are, unless you're willing to move up to a 2.8F, E, or D. Keep shooting and enjoy!
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Old 07-03-2014   #7
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I agree with f16sunshine above, mainly it has to do with which lens you have on the Rolleiflex. I have used Flex and Cord and Mat 124G, and of all three 124Gs I tried, none have clean optics. All of them have tiny scratches all over the elements surfaces, ones people like to describe as cleaning marks. This brings all sorts of problem, mainly flare and low contrast. Since you own the Yashica since new, chances are the optics are in good shape. So first I think Rolleis have better built lenses. Next is the design of the lens itself, I think Planar 3.5 Rolleis are really gorgeous.

In case somebody forgot how they look like, allow me to post:



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Old 07-03-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vics View Post
Here's a guy who does (IMHO) really good work with a 124G.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
and here's my work with both MX Automat and 3.5F Rolleiflex.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/srca_h...7622095666194/
I think you're fine where you are, unless you're willing to move up to a 2.8F, E, or D. Keep shooting and enjoy!
Vics

Man that is a great hook up! József has a really fantastic set of images.
Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 07-03-2014   #9
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One consideration in moving up to a Rolleiflex is the accessories. If you get an older model with the f3.5 Tessar or Xenar lens, then your Yashica Bay 1 accessories will fit. If you get a Planar or Xenotar, then you are looking at needing to get size Bay 2, 3, or 4 accessories.

With some Rollei TLRs, you can convert them to 16 or 24 exposure.

The Rolleikin allows the use of 35mm film on certain models.

There is a rangefinder attachment that may come in handy at times.

The Rolleifix serves two purposes. One is as a quick release mount from a tripod. The other is to relieve the strain on the film door from mounting the camera on a tripod.

Some Rollei TLRs can use the prism finder.

Just some things to think about when considering buying a Rolleiflex/cord.

PF

ps: I used to own a Yashica 124G back in 1972. Didn't use it very much because I was too busy with the Navy trying to turn me into a Torpedoman. But after having it for a few months, one of my other shipmates saw me shooting it, and offered to buy it off me, so I sold it to him. Didn't miss it a bit. It took good photos and all, but I just didn't feel like it was all that great. Other medium format cameras I used later confirmed that feeling (Mamiya C330F, and Rapid 200). The Rolleiflex K4A I have now also keeps me from wanting another 124G. That said, I have no problems with equating a Yashica 635 (of which I own one), or D with the feel of using the Rollei. Especially if you can get one with Yashinon lenses, instead of Yashicor.
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Old 07-03-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
f16sunshine/Andy says it well. The Xenotar or Planar lenses on later Rolleiflexes will have a different look than the Yashinon Tessar-type lens. If you want the look, you'll need to get one of these models (the letter series, C to F). You are looking at maybe $400 and up, with 'up' being the reasonable expectation for a working sample.

The build quality of a Rollei is much better than a Yashica. Pure and simple. Everything is machined better, assembled and adjusted better. It feels more solid in the hand, the focus action is smoother, the shutter action is nicer. I could show you the difference between the Rollei and Yahsica shutter release mechanism and you'd get it right away. The Rollei is 'tuned,' smoother. But it also does exactly what the Yahsica shutter release mechanism does- fire the shutter at a regular moment in the movement of a simple mechanism.

The question is if this is important to you or not. Because when the day is done, both the Rollei and Yashica are light-tight boxes with comparable focus and film wind systems that let the lenses do what they need to do. Pretty simple all in all. The Yashica is a very capable and very good quality camera that delivers.
Exactly. A good Rollei is a joy to work on. I've only fixed one Yashica but it was a pain in the arse. I have no plans to service another one.
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Old 07-03-2014   #11
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Having worked on the internals of a Yashica, I wouldn't buy one unless it looked nearly unused. I've seen a bunch of Yashicas with advancing issues. At least in the one I checked out, it was because a part had ground down from use over time. It seemed almost inevitable based on the way the a wind and shutter cocking worked. Similar issues with the Ricohflex 225 I checked out (highly disappointing as it seemed like a great camera otherwise).

Granted, I haven't been inside many other TLRs but I'm willing to bet the Autocord was built better internally. Find one in great condition with a broken advance lever (they go cheap). Send it to Karl Bryan to have the focus lever replaced by a robust one he makes. His prices are great and it addresses the main weak point of the camera.
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Old 07-04-2014   #12
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It really doesn't matter all that much..both cams are very capable shooters..
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Old 07-04-2014   #13
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Yashica has a better focusing screen. Also, in contrast to what has been said above, the Copal shutter of the yashica is a lot more durable and reliable compared to Compur of the rolleiflex.
(always speaking of cameras of the same price range).
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Old 07-04-2014   #14
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Ok I will wade into this one also. to be truthful I cannot tell the difference between any of the Tessar type glass in any of my TLR collection ,they are all good shooters with some having a different look to others perhaps it is the film type or lens coatings used but they have all had probelms and I purchased them expecting this as most of them are as old as their owner and he is no longer in totally mint condition. Anyway a run down of the issuses I have had with my ever growing family of Tlr cameras
The Rollei's , A Flex Automate MS EVS , Cord IV, Cord Vb, all had fogged glass, stuck timers, slow speeds out of wack and dirty mirrors.
The Yashica-mats , EM, 66, 124G . Dirty mirrors, stuck or sticky shutters , fogged lenses. 124g lightmeter.
Topcon Primoflex Automate-L film advance and indexing issuses.
Minolta Autocord ,very first version . almost a cot case with stuck shutter and timer, mirror box and veiwing screen probelms and film advance and indexing probelms plus the usual broken focus lever and half seized focus helicoil.
Mamiya C220 and C33 . film advance and indexing isssuses and speeds on the Sekor 80 2.8 lens.
And having got them all into good working and looking units which one do i like the best, well I love using them all ,the Tessar type lenes all take great photos when I use them correctly. Quite frankly I just cannot tell one from the other
Build quality No1 by far is the Topcon Primoflex , No2 Rolleiflex Automate and Minolta Autocord, No3 the Yashica-mat EM and 66. No4 the Mamiya C33 and 220. No5 the 124G that feels a bit plasticy but is a joy to use with its working light meter.
Some are more user friendly than others and some are heavy lumps but I love using them all.
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Old 07-08-2014   #15
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TLR's are very strange cameras because you seem to have gotten what you paid for when they were new. The quality pretty closely matched the price In the late-50's ~ early-60's.

The "holy trinity" of the professional photographer were the Speed Graphic or Linhof Super Technica, the Rolleiflex 2.8, and the Leica M3. By the mid-60's it was the Hasselblad and the Nikon that were the badge of a pro photographer. In those days, while there were entirely adequate competitors to those brands they were considered "also rans" By most.

The Rollei, Linhof, and Leica of that period may have been some of the best made cameras ever. Certainly, in my opinion, workmanship, if not materials, were better than on later cameras.
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Old 07-08-2014   #16
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Although far from being an expert I can toss in my 2 cents.

I own Ikoflexes, Rolleiflexes and a Yashicamat. None of them have ever broke unless they were bought that way. They all reward me with terrific photographs.

In use I prefer the Ikoflex IIa since the focus screen is very, very good. It weighs 40 ounces (1134 grams) with film and strap so it is in the ballpark with the rest. Ergonomically it is not quite as nice as the Rolleiflex 3.5b but it is not bad. It does have the EV system so that can be a little bit of a pain but I have gotten used to it. This is my walk around TLR.

The Rolleiflex 3.5b is my least favorite since I absolutely cannot see it snap into focus without using the magnifier. If I have to keep holding my TLR up to my eyes every time I want to focus I may as well use a SLR. It has the Maxwell screen with the little round split image prism in the center which everyone seems to love. But with my eyes it is basically useless. It is a bright screen but focus snap doesn't happen, and I just cannot tell what that tiny little split prism is doing when I hold the camera normally. I hold onto it because I keep telling myself I'll send it to Harry Fleenor to replace the screen with the original, but it hasn't happened so far. If doing that resolves the focus issue I would probably start using it in preference to the Ikoflex because it is a bit lighter.

I use the Yashicamat 124G as well and it works just fine. Focusing isn't as easy as it is with the Ikoflex so it is not the first one I grab for. I have a close up lens set for it and that is the biggest reason I have kept it.
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Old 07-08-2014   #17
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Yashica 24.
Same lens as 124 G.
Less than half the money?

Just about to develop my first TLR film with above Camera.
Fingers crossed...........
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Old 07-08-2014   #18
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I think Andy has it about right in his post above. I've owned and used both Yashica's and Rollei's (lately my only medium format camera is a Yashica-Mat LM). The difference between the F3.5 taking lens Yashica and Rollei models is not that great, with the Rollei's having an edge in build quality and performance. The Yashica's, all models, even the early three element taking lens models, are nevertheless excellent cameras and now significantly less expensive than Rolleiflex as the latter has become such a hot collectible. My camera tech has often told me of how much he enjoys working on Rollei's due to their high build quality, confirming anecdotal observations often made (at least to me). I don't hear this said from him about too many other camera models he works on!

The Rolleiflex 2.8 (C, D, E, F, and later) Planar and Xenotar models are in their own class of quality and performance, but of course one pays dearly for this. I'd certainly trade in or sell a Yashica model as part payment for one of these if the condition merited it.
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Old 07-08-2014   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
Yashica has a better focusing screen. Also, in contrast to what has been said above, the Copal shutter of the yashica is a lot more durable and reliable compared to Compur of the rolleiflex.
(always speaking of cameras of the same price range).
When was the Copal shutter as fitted to the Yashica first made? Considering Rolleis have been fitted with Compur shutters since the late 1920s and that many survivors are still working, I think that perhaps you'd better come back in another 20 or 30 years (or whenever), and make that claim when the Copals are 85 years old. I don't want to be unnecessarily blunt, but I find your comment hard to take seriously.
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Old 07-08-2014   #20
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Well, many survivors are still working, but how accurately is another issue. Also, at the price range of a mint Yashica, not many Rolleis can be found in perfect working order.
Copal is technically superior to Compur. They are far more reliable. Even if it was possible to get two of the same year make, Copal would last a lot longer. Have in mind that Copal shutters are more accurate than Compur. The only downside of the Copal shutter compared to Compur would be the vibration when shooting. It is not as smooth operating it as Compur.
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Old 07-09-2014   #21
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I have a Compur from 1916 that works great. Compurs are fine shutters, but they may need a CLA every 25 years, or 10 years if they are used professionally.
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Old 07-09-2014   #22
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My TLR image quality ratings:

1. Rolleiflex
2. Mamiya C-series (C330, etc.)
3. Ricohmatic 225 (or Diacord)




4. Yashica MAT

The photos from the Yashica is not bad, nor is the lens unsharp, but they are "flat" to my eyes. I'd even take a triplet Ricohflex over a Yashica MAT.
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Old 07-09-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
My TLR image quality ratings:

1. Rolleiflex
2. Mamiya C-series (C330, etc.)
3. Ricohmatic 225 (or Diacord)




4. Yashica MAT

The photos from the Yashica is not bad, nor is the lens unsharp, but they are "flat" to my eyes. I'd even take a triplet Ricohflex over a Yashica MAT.
That is a very interesting observation Shadowfox. Between the Tessar in the Rollei 3.5b, the Tessar in my Ikoflex IIa, and the Yashinon in my Yashica Mat, I struggle to see any difference at all in the prints or negatives. I guess it just shows that a sample of one really isn't a sample at all. The Yashinon in your Yashica Mat must be a poor copy and mine must be a good one.
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Old 07-09-2014   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfox View Post
My TLR image quality ratings:

1. Rolleiflex
2. Mamiya C-series (C330, etc.)
3. Ricohmatic 225 (or Diacord)




4. Yashica MAT

The photos from the Yashica is not bad, nor is the lens unsharp, but they are "flat" to my eyes. I'd even take a triplet Ricohflex over a Yashica MAT.
Hi Will
The Yashinon is not a Xenotar... I'll give you that.
It does have a very calm look that is perfect for Portraits. I like it for when I like it

I missed focus a touch here but you get the feel of the Yashinon "Tessar". 124G 80mm Yashinon


This is the Xenotar on a 2.8D. It has a serious bit more *POP* to it as compared to the Yashinon. Rollieflex 2.8D 80mm Xenotar
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Old 07-09-2014   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
Although far from being an expert I can toss in my 2 cents. I own Ikoflexes, Rolleiflexes and a Yashicamat. None of them have ever broke unless they were bought that way. They all reward me with terrific photographs. In use I prefer the Ikoflex IIa since the focus screen is very, very good. It weighs 40 ounces (1134 grams) with film and strap so it is in the ballpark with the rest. Ergonomically it is not quite as nice as the Rolleiflex 3.5b but it is not bad. It does have the EV system so that can be a little bit of a pain but I have gotten used to it. This is my walk around TLR. The Rolleiflex 3.5b is my least favorite since I absolutely cannot see it snap into focus without using the magnifier. If I have to keep holding my TLR up to my eyes every time I want to focus I may as well use a SLR. It has the Maxwell screen with the little round split image prism in the center which everyone seems to love. But with my eyes it is basically useless. It is a bright screen but focus snap doesn't happen, and I just cannot tell what that tiny little split prism is doing when I hold the camera normally. I hold onto it because I keep telling myself I'll send it to Harry Fleenor to replace the screen with the original, but it hasn't happened so far. If doing that resolves the focus issue I would probably start using it in preference to the Ikoflex because it is a bit lighter. I use the Yashicamat 124G as well and it works just fine. Focusing isn't as easy as it is with the Ikoflex so it is not the first one I grab for. I have a close up lens set for it and that is the biggest reason I have kept it.
Pioneer,
I have a Rolleiflex 3,5F with a maxwell screen with microprism and split image surrounded by fresnel lens. The corners aren't so bright as center and focusing requires using the optical aids (micropribsm and/or split image. Do you have the same screen? I'm surprised when you say that Ikoflex screen is brighter and easier to focus than maxwell. I watched time ago an Ikoflex screen and it was very very dim. may be the item wasn't in good condition or was another model than IIa. the last thing I wanted to say is that the rollei prism/maxwell screen combination is amazing (apart the distortion the brightness and sharpness is excellent).
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Old 07-10-2014   #26
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i think it has more to do with "character", than sharpness and resolution etc. And here i'm with the Rollei. The german lenses just have "something" to them. Can't explain it, but i like it
And they are build like a tank, german tank ;p
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Old 07-10-2014   #27
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When I want the signature of a Planar lens I use my Hassey 500c/m otherwise I use my Yashicamat LM. Personally I don't have a slot for a Rollie even if they were well priced (which they are not at the moment).
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Old 07-10-2014   #28
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Quote:
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Pioneer,
I have a Rolleiflex 3,5F with a maxwell screen with microprism and split image surrounded by fresnel lens. The corners aren't so bright as center and focusing requires using the optical aids (micropribsm and/or split image. Do you have the same screen? I'm surprised when you say that Ikoflex screen is brighter and easier to focus than maxwell. I watched time ago an Ikoflex screen and it was very very dim. may be the item wasn't in good condition or was another model than IIa. the last thing I wanted to say is that the rollei prism/maxwell screen combination is amazing (apart the distortion the brightness and sharpness is excellent).
I am not sure that brightness always equates to easy focusing. Bright screens work great for autofocus cameras, not so much with manual focus ones.

My Ikoflex IIa is nice, though probably not quite as bright as my Maxwell screen in my 3.5b, but when it pops into focus it is obvious, no guessing is required. I can clearly see it when the camera is hanging on its strap. Admittedly the screen in this particular Ikoflex is in very nice shape. I have another that is not quite as nice, but still better than the Maxwell.

The Maxwell is easier to see indoors where I do normally use the magnifier on the Ikoflex. That may be one reason some people like them. If you shoot studio a lot, and use a magnifier for critical focus anyway, the bright screen probably makes composition easier.

Also, my Rollei 3.5e2 is much easier to focus than the older Rollei, but it still has the original focus screen which includes a fresnel. I am not sure that the Rollei 3.5b has a fresnel underneath the ground glass. In my conversation with Harry Fleenor he indicates that it does not.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #29
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Quote:
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i think it has more to do with "character", than sharpness and resolution etc. And here i'm with the Rollei. The german lenses just have "something" to them. Can't explain it, but i like it
And they are build like a tank, german tank ;p
I agree with this for the most part, but ....I would add that some non- German lenses have character as well. Try British Microcord or Japanese tlrs with Nikkor or Zuiko lenses on them, Konica made some goodtlrs too.. You will see what I am talking about. Also Rolleiflex , while well built and has high quality materials is way over-engineered. Which makes much harder to work on. So, it really comes down to personal preference and luck. I have used Rolleiflex, Voigtlander, Yashica, Ricoh, Minolta, Aires, Microcord and a couple of others and still candles decide which I like better. That's why I have way too many of them, lol.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #30
oftheherd
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I am surprised that I seem to have missed this thread before. I don't have either any more. The Yashica 124 MAT G I loved was stolen and I was going to replace it with a Mamiya C330 but got an opportunity to purchase a Mamiya Super Press 23 and went for it. No regrets. Later I had a chance to get a Rolleiflex. Nice camera, but as I have stated before, I just couldn't bond with it like I did with the Yashica. I gave it to someone who still enjoys using it.

I suspect whatever the OP ended up with, he is happy. TLRs have their own character in use, and when you find one you like, happiness should follow
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #31
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The easy way to resolve all this is to sidestep the whole debate and buy a Minolta Autocord!

It's better designed than the Rolleiflex (no unavoidable film kink, no two-handed juggling act to focus and advance), equally well built although not as nicely finished, and much more practical for picture-taking as long as no ham-fisted previous owner has snapped off the focusing lever... all for little or no more money than a Yashica.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #32
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Like Pioneer, I struggle to see the difference between my Rolleiflex T Tessar f/3.5 and my Diacord G f/3.5. The big thing for me is the viewing lens. I'm always happier to see a brighter image on my Rolleiflex with a larger viewing lens and with a brighter screen from Rick Oleson. In other words, I get sharper pictures when I can focus better.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #33
Ko.Fe.
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Old thread, but common question.
I had Mat 124G three times (because it was cheap to buy as is and fix, sell for more ) and some first Yashca. Lenses were sharp and contrasty, but it was it. Maybe not even character, but they are missing something.
Switched to Rolleicords and it was it . Again, can't describe it as character, but Yashicas were not even close for the pleasure to look at scan, print.
Mind you, I'm kind of picky person, I has Color Skopar 35 2.5 three times and switched to Summarit-M 35 2.5. Same experience, no comparison.
But I'm talking strictly about BW, dr prints. Colors were fine. If anyone is C-41 and bring it to the lab, then 124G Mat is fine. It just not the Flex and Cord by how it feels and made .
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #34
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Agreed on the Rolleicord Kostya, that lens is a cracker. Light, small and easy to pocket, well built and cheap. A pro friend sold his 3.5f and prefers the 'cord hands down. Sold mine and not sure I should have.

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