$300 and the medium format "itch"

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Wolfeye, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Thinking about getting back into MF photography, so I've been looking around for a good buy on eBay. I've owned a Yashicamat 124G and consider that model pretty safe (assuming no Yashikor lens) but I'm also interested in a Rollei or Rolleiflex camera.

    If you had $300 and NO MORE what Rollei would you be looking for? Looking for a recommendation here, as i know little about these cameras but their high reputation.

    Would I be better off trying to find a Mamiya or Bronica 645 with 80mm lens and a film back?
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Surf over to KEH. Less then $200 will get you a Bronica ETRS with 120 back and 75mm. I'd rather a newer ETRSI but they don't have any in bargain grade. Prices seem to be climbing a little higher to me. Also some stuff seems to be in less supply then before.
     
  3. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    I have a Rolleicord IV with a schneider Xenar lens that's very sharp stopped down (nice 16x20's) and has beautiful bokeh for protraits wide open.

    Very light, very simple, very little to go wrong. For 300 you could get a good one, a Rolleinar (see Sanders McNew's excellent work in the gallery), a #12 yellow filter and a bay 1 hood.

    On the other hand $300 gets you alot of mamiya TLR these days and theyre great but HEAVY but neither this nor the Rollei TLR are SLR's. Being you've used a TLR and I'll assume 35mm SLRs you know the different reasons for using one over the other but I love people's reaction or lack there of to my R'Cord .
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I'd agree with the Rolleicord suggestion. Only other thing to consider is the potential desire for a prism finder. If so, look for a Rolleicord Vb.
     
  5. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    Although my primary MF camera is over your $300 limit (Hassy), I recently picked up a 6x6 Iskra folding camera which is giving me great B&W images in a very nicely compact size. I paid about $100 for the camera.
     
  6. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Wasn't someone talking about Mark Hama CLA'd Yashica TLRs on eBay for $200? I would say go there, Mark does fantastic work and this way you'll have a camera ready to go!
     
  7. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    I have a Rolleiflex MX-EVS available for $200 plus shipping if you're interested.

    -Will
     
  8. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    Great camera and Will is a stand up guy that really knows his stuff.


     
  9. micek

    micek Member

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    What Jersey Vic said: a Rolleicord V is light and sturdy and the Xenar is a sweet lens. The only thing is to make sure the screen is not too dim.
     
  10. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Last year I bought 2 Rolleiflexes, a MX and a MX EVS, off Ebay for $150 each. The MX was cherry. So, there are bargains out there, just be patient and don't get into a bidding frenzy. The MX EVS offered above is a great price considering it's from a forum member you can trust.
     
  11. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    If you had $300 and NO MORE what Rollei would you be looking for? Looking for a recommendation here, as i know little about these cameras but their high reputation.

    *******
    I agree with those who said that the biggest bang for the buck is a Rolleicord with a Xenar lens.

    Also, as stated before, if Will sezs that 'Flex for 2 bills is good, be assured it is good. What they said about Will is true: and he makes beeuuutiful cherry lensboards, too!

    Anscojohn, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  13. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Sounds like a good deal

    Could you tell me more? What sort of cosmetic, mechanical condition is it in? Photos from/of it? Note, I'm replying in the forum and hope you'll reply here too, so that others may consider it too. Just let me have first dibs. :smile:
     
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  15. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    The MF gear I've looked at on ebay seems to sell for more than it's worth. From what I've seen, KEH has better prices, and you don't have to bid, and don't have to wait for the auction to end, AND KEH has a good return/refund policy.

    Do you check Craig's list regularly? You might get lucky and find someone unloading MF gear really cheap. About a year ago, I found a Pentax 6x7 outfit on CL with 2 lenses, a prism finder, and a Pentax digital spot meter for $275. On ebay, I would have had to spend nearly that much (if not more) just for the digital spot meter.
     
  16. sjperry

    sjperry Member

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    Others may disagree, but I think for the $300 range you can't really beat a Rolleiflex, for two main reasons: 1) good reliable strictly mechanical design, and 2) they are collectible and hence their prices seem to hold up much better than most used camera gear. You might even be able to sell at a profit. That said, what model? For $300 you can probably get a very nice user 2.8D. The MX-EVS is a fine choice too. Especially when the seller is known and trusted.The 2.8E has a built in selenium meter - hence still no batteries required. They usually sell for more though. Hand held meters are quite inexpensive, running in the $10-20 range or less, unless you want a Gossen. If you shop ebay, make them check the shutter speeds for function at 1 sec. After years of storage, the shutter oil tends to dry out, requiring CLA (though I have sometimes gotten them to limber up just by functioning the shutter a bunch of times). Sellers on ebay often don't have a clue as to even how to fire the shutter. You might have to walk them through it.

    Steve Perry
     
  17. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    It is possible to find a C, D, or E series Rolleiflex for $300 -- uncommon, but possible. With a $300 budget, I'd be looking for an MX-EVS. The MX-EVS is a fullblooded Rolleiflex, with a Tessar or Xenar taking lens. A Rolleicord, on the other hand, has the same lens, but it lacks the Rolleiflex's mechanical refinements.

    -- Loading the Rolleicord requires a bit more attention.
    -- The Rolleicord advances film by a knob, not the winder arm which is much faster.
    -- The Rolleicord's shutter is not automatically cocked when advancing film. It must be manually recocked each time.

    These are small but significant differences. A Rolleiflex works more quickly and smoothly than a Rolleicord. Both cameras share the same body and the same level of workmanship. But the Rolleiflex is a more pleasant camera to use, and an MX-EVS can be had for about the same price as a Rolleicord these days.

    Sanders
     
  18. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    I guess that largely depends on your specific wants/needs. What type of shooting are you going to be doing with it? Do you think you would ever want to do any macro shots? Personally, with the prices of MF SLR equipment as low as they are, I don't understand why people are spending that kind of money on TLR's.

    A few advantages of SLR:

    Large number of lenses available, fast easy lens changing, over all higher quality lenses (IMO, base on my experience).

    The ability to use macro tubes.

    The ability to easily change film types mid roll (for MF cameras with removable backs).

    Advantages specific to 645:

    Smaller and lighter.

    16 frames/roll instead of 12.
     
  19. JCT

    JCT Member

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    Another vote for the MX-EVS, when I went to the local Rollei "specialist" he immediately suggested one as a great way to get into TLRs. I ended up spending a bit more for a 3.5E-3 Planar, but I wished I had picked up the MX-EVS for my daughter.

    They are a *joy* to use -- be sure to get a shade, though.

    JT
     
  20. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    How about folding cameras, like the Ikontas?
     
  21. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    Very recently I got myslef a Rolleiflex 3.5T (Xenar lens). It is a pure joy to use. I payed for mine 200 euro (in Germany) and the camera is not only in perfect techncal order but also looks beautifully. Up to now, my own experience is way too limited (1 developed Velvia), but people say that Xenar gets the edges sharp only after stopping dow to f/11 or so. So maybe if you plan to shoot wide open it may make sense to consider C, D, or E model with Planar/Xenotar lens. I found out I do tend to shoot at about f/5.6 so I will have to see wheter I will like the results or not. What I do like is the single lever for shutter-aperture setting. Not everybody likes this feature.

    I was considering Yashica 124 (G) too, but nice ones are selling around 150 euro here what I found too much.

    But let me add - if you manage to get a clean copy of Minolta Autocord (especially with the Citizen shutter - have a look HERE) go for it. I wanted to get one, but the Rolleiflex crossed my way and I could not say NO. You should be able to get a very nice one within your price limit.

    Good luck and enjoy whatever you get.
     
  22. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    These are just not in the same league optically as the Rolleiflex. Fun to use, compact, but no Rolleiflex. The TLR was the professional medium format tool of its day.
     
  23. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    Not in the same league optically? IMO, a folding camera with a good quality lens mounted on it would optically outperform any TLR. One nice thing about view cameras is the huge availability of lenses that can be mounted on them. As far as convenience and ease of use, folders are definitely not in the same league as TLR's (or SLR's).

    Were TLR's around before Hasselblad SLR's (or any other MF SLR's)? I was always under the impression that TLR's were just a more affordable alternative to MF SLR's (I had a TLR before I could afford a MF SLR). I can't imagine TLR being the professional medium format tool of its day if Hassies were in existence at the time (or any MF SLR).
     
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    TLRs in 120 predate SLRs in 120. However remember that Graflex made SLR in the 1920's(?) and 1930's which was a sheet film camera [I do not remember whether or not it could take roll film, 120 in particular, at that time or did the roll film adapters come later?].

    Steve
     
  25. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    1. There is no way a MF folder is going to come anywhere close to the optics of a Rolleiflex, not even the Super Ikontas. Most focus with a moving front cell. All suffer from imprecise alignment of lens and film plane, an unavoidable consequence of the folding design. Folders are nice -- I have a couple -- but they are way out of a Rolleiflex's league for optical precision.

    If, by "folder," you mean a view camera, then you are on firmer ground. But my Rolleiflex negatives seem to hold their own against my 4x5 negatives when enlarged to the same sizes. The differences at 4x5 are not so great. Rolleiflexes are superbly-tuned machines.

    2. Rolleiflexes predated the Hasselblads. But it would no doubt have come as a great surprise to Richard Avedon and Irving Penn and Imogen Cunningham and Margaret Bourke-White and Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis and Robert Capa and Diane Arbus and dozens of other great photographers of the past century to learn that their Rolleiflexes were budget cameras, inferior to Hasselblads and other MF SLRs. Believe it or not, some of us actually do find the Rolleiflex an elegant and effective alternative to clunky cumbersome beasts like the Hasselblads.

    Sheesh, where do people come up with these ideas?

    Sanders
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
  26. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    Oh OK, I didn't realize that TLR's predated hasselblads.

    Yes, I meant a view camera. The MF 'folder' that I had in the early 80's was a view camera, and with a good quality lens on it, I don't believe that it would be optically inferior to a Rollei. On that I will just agree to disagree.

    Really? What lens do you have on your 4x5? My 4x5 negs blow away any MF camera that I've ever used when enlarged to a fairly large size (like 20x24).

    Hasselblads are clunky and cumbersome?

    Rolleiflex images hold their own against 4x5?

    [​IMG]

    Sheesh, where do people come up with these ideas?