Fix or no? - Rolleiflex

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by IGmeanwell, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. IGmeanwell

    IGmeanwell Member

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    I come to APUG for opinions as I am undecided here:

    I purchased a Rolleiflex 3.5E Planar in April, have enjoyed it immensely, it was in user condition working perfectly (needing a hood) and everything has been dandy. In honesty it could have used a CLA, the viewing lens was quite dirty and the taking lens has some dirt in the elements (not effecting the image)

    Until the night of the 4th of July when upon arriving home my Rollei slipped out of my Lowe Pro hitting the ground from about 1 ft high. A slight ding on the edge below the taking lens, but no major damage until I tried to focus it. It won't focus past a couple ft, it hangs up with one side visible sticking while the other starts to pull back towards the body. Also the shutter dial is now sticky.

    I have a ton of medium format film, I really enjoy medium format however do not have a ton of money to spend on it. I haven't yet received quotes from the various repairmen so thankfully suggested on apug, however most local guys I have talk to estimate I will be paying about the same as I paid for the camera to begin with (the average for a user grade 3.5E).

    So my question, should I bother repairing this? Should sell it as is and perhaps go another direction with medium format? Will sending it for repair make this camera worth the additional 180-300 dollars more I would spend on it (depending o the quote)?

    I have used this primarily as a complimentary camera (2nd camera) for shoots, weddings, and of course family ... mostly on the portrait end

    Things I like, compact, relatively quiet, simple, and excellent lens (lower contrast but very sharp). TLR was a bit to get used to but one thing I did take from the experience was I find the square format very natural for composition.

    Thank You in advance for suggestions and comments.
     
  2. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I guess you have three options:
    1) Repair it
    2) Give it up
    3) Buy a new one
    If the price for repair is the same as another one and assuming that you buy it at that price, you might as well get yourself a second and keep the first one. Someday you might fix it and have two of them (really useful for your type of photography) or keep it for spares.
     
  3. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    One thing is that if you buy another user camera the chance is that it needs a CLA also. it sounds to me like a CLA might fix the problem with your 3.5E and then you would have a camera that you know is sharp and is in good condition for only the price of a CLA vs the price of a different camera plus a CLA. If you come to the conclusion that you are going to sell the 3.5E for parts you might try to find a repair manual in ebay or on line somewhere and see if you can take the front off and realign the shutter controls and focus rail.
     
  4. Larry.Manuel

    Larry.Manuel Member

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    On the horns of a dilemma.

    dpurdy said it well. I will add [being an owner of 3 vintage Rollei TLRs, all CLA'd, with Maxwell screens by Harry Fleenor] that the Rollei TLR is an expensive camera. The fact that they are available for low cost right now makes ownership confusing. In the fifties, a new Rolleiflex cost at least several months of US average industrial wages. Maybe even 6 months' worth of wages.

    If someone gave a non-wealthy person a Lamborghini [for example], the first time it required an oil change and filter [or fixing a flat tire], would mean ownership is practically over.

    If you think of a Rolleiflex as a $2000+ camera, the CLA cost begins to seem less ridiculous.

    Good luck. I'm not trying to advise you what to do, just offer my views.
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    If it was my Rollei, I'd take it to Harry Fleenor for a CLA and whatever else it needs.
     
  6. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I second dpurdys opinion, having CLA'd a few of my cameras - it is really worth it, if you intend to use them and depend on them.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    A good repair shop should be able to advise whether it's worth having the camera repaired.

    One problem with TLR's like Rollei's, Yashica's, Minolta's etc is if dropped the focus mechanism can become damaged & twisted. This can usually be repaired but is quite a time consuming and expensive job. My Yashicamat has just come back from having the shutter CLA'd the repairers telephoned to say there was some minor damage to the focus mechanism, there is a small ding on a rear corner of the camera, he indicated it probably wasn't economic to repair and as the camera functions OK I just had the shutter serviced.

    Ian
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    If it were my rollei, I'd take it to Pro Camera Service in Thousand Oaks CA for a CLA and whatever else it needs. :wink:

    (Harry is a great guy with a great reputation but I got the same quality service a lot quicker by going elsewhere.)

    "Will sending it for repair make this camera worth the additional 180-300 dollars more I would spend on it (depending o the quote)? "

    Probably not, but spending the money will leave you with a really nice, fully operational camera!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2008
  9. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    It's a 3.5 so not the most desired Rolleiflex to be made.

    Not sure what is jamming the shutter, but I bet the flat metal "rail" is bent which is why the focus does not function. I have a 'cord like that, it's in pieces right now but I don't think I will ever get the focus rails aligned properly so that the taking lens sits parallel with the film plane. Might be better to put the $300 towards a nice already CLA'd Rolleicord V (or Va or Vb) and have a nice clean functional camera. $300 should get you a decent one of these.

    Before sending it for repair, I would probably tear into it. That said this repair is going to take all or nothing resolve since it will require removing the front, and removing the sides. That means all the leather will need to come off, all the knobs, etc. It could be a very big project if you aren't into repairing things like this.
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes Brian, I agree, Pro Camera Service in Thousand Oaks CA is an excellent Rollei CLA and repair resource.

    He's retired now and has moved to Washington State, but my favorite Rollei guy is Karl Ehlers (one of the original founders of Pro Camera Service in Thousand Oaks CA).
     
  11. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    You could contact Krikor Maralian at Krimar Photo Shop in Elmwood Park, NJ,

    Krikor used to work for Marflex and has had his own Photo shop for over 25. He is one of the best technicians for older Rollei cameras in the US. He has kept my Rollei 3.5F camera in great working order over the years and has done other work for me on my large format lenses and also on my Linhof cameras.

    Krikor's address and phone are:

    Krikor Maralian
    Krimar Photo Shop
    1058 Broadway (Rt 4)
    Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
    (201) 796-0554

    Rich
     
  12. john taylor

    john taylor Member

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    Contact info for Karl Ehlers?

    Hi Tom,

    Do you know how to get in touch with Karl Ehlers in Washington State?

    John
     
  13. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Krikor, definitely. He's worked on two Rollei TLRs of mine and a Rollei 35. Excellent service, and very fast.
     
  14. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I will search my messy address files, John.
     
  15. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Another vote for Krimar.
     
  16. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    I agree with Dennis, that it's worth the effort
    to send it out for repair. A 3.5E is a great
    camera, and don't listen to those who say it
    is inferior to the 2.8 series. It is not.

    As for repair recommendations ... I have used
    Krikor many times. Without going into details,
    I send all my work now to Paul Ebel in Wisconsin.
    Paul does great work, and he gets it right. His
    turnaround is usually a few weeks, and his prices
    are more than fair.

    You can reach Paul at paulebel44@yahoo.com .

    Sanders McNew
     
  17. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I say fix it. You'll have a great camera that (looked after) will last you another 20 years.
    The 3.5F is a great camera, I used one for years for weddings.
    Have fun!
    Mark
     
  18. IGmeanwell

    IGmeanwell Member

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    Thanks for the comments

    The CLA would be needed but the main problem is the damage to the focusing mechanism, the range right now on the dial is from .9 (close as it can focus) and can move to 1.2 before it binds up ... can't get anywhere near infinity at the moment.

    The shutter fires ok, the aperture works perfectly, the shutter wheel feels as though it binds between 1/60 and 1/125th, the focusing is the biggest problem

    Sanders I will email Paul ... thanks for the reccomendation (BTW I really enjoy your Rollei work), and I will also be contacting probably Krikor as he is closest to me, but if they in fact states its not worth fixing.... what other recommendations other than a Rollei would be a option? Obviously I have heard good things about the 124G and the Mamiyas ... anything else in this price range? Doesn't only have to be TLR
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2008
  19. CraigH

    CraigH Member

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    Krikor is honest. My Rolliflex fell off a 3 ft shelf & the hood was dented & the focusing was off. I live near him & brought it in & he said it was not worth fixing because the focusing may never properly work.
    Craig
     
  20. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    Which is pretty much the conclusion I have made of my 'cord that had a similar fate before I bought it. Getting the pieces flat and true is going to be about impossible. The best way to deal with it is to replace the bent parts.

    But you waste little money sending it to him for an estimate, maybe he will buy it for parts which will give you a little more money to put towards something good.

    Since you don't seem to care too much what the camera is, I again suggest looking for a good refurbished Rolleicord. After that I would look at the Mamiya220 or 330 systems and see if you can find one in good shape and get a couple of lenses. And if more money suddenly becomes available, you can look into getting a really good Rolleiflex, maybe even one of the brand new ones that roll out (a few each year).
     
  21. john cowie

    john cowie Member

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    I picked up a Rolleiflex T 40 years ago in high school. Other than a CLA about 15 years ago it works fine. I've seen them going pretty cheap on ebay but I don't know how it stands up to your 3.5. But you might want to keep it in mind. BTW I had my CLA done at Essex Camera in Carlstadt, NJ. very good work. Good Luck with your decision.
     
  22. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Interesting about the T -- it's a fine camera as far as I can tell, but the guy who's worked on my Rolleis (Krikor Marelian) considers them quite inferior to the 2.8s and 3.5s.
     
  23. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    Another vote for Krikor Maralian. If it's worth fixing, he'll say so, if not, he won't touch it. He also has a number of used Rolleis on the shelf at any time.
    Neal