Getting into MF

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by baachitraka, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Me eyeing only on Rolleicords from III to V but I have no idea how they perform when stopped down. I may shoot mostly mounting on a tripod...

    Please share your experiences.
     
  2. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I have a Rolleicord va xenar, rolleiflex automat mx tessar, yashica c with triplet lens for medium format.


    The va cord is my least favorite. It's got a ugly bokeh with 5 blade aperture. If you want fully manual operation, it's EV features get in the way of setting aperture and shutter. If you want something like A/S priority, the EV features do that. It's lightweight like the yashica. I got a super deal on it, but otherwise I'm not impressed.

    The Yashica is light and awesome for closer shots (4-10 feet), but a tiny bit soft for use at infinity. A yashica D or newer yashica would likely have a 4-element lens which would be sharp under more conditions. Wide open close up, mine even gets a little swirly.

    The automat mx rolleiflex is my favorite. It is really nice to use, sharp under all conditions, distances, f stops. I paid $200 and something for it and it's worth every penny in terms of function and style and image quality.
     
  3. MDR

    MDR Member

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    I only own the Rolleicord III equipped with a triotar lens (triplet design) from f8 down there is no real difference to my Rolleiflex of the same Vintage meaning prewar uncoated. The V is post war and coated the xenar is a tessar clone and has more contrast than the pre war triotar. If your main objective is to photograph buildings I'd say get another camera than either the III or V. The corner sharpness of both the triotar and V is not the best in the camera world, on the other hand if you mainly want to do portraits photos with the occasional Building and landscape get the III. The Triotar lens is best used as a portrait lens but it has a certain magic with landscapes kinda like the leica glow. BTW the III has a build in eyeleverreflex finder.

    Dominik
     
  4. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    My Rolleicord IV is my current MF shooter and I can say mostly good things about it. Before I sold it I had a V too, both behaved rather similarly. Small, light, universal cameras that pack a lot of potential image quality. Using them is a pleasure.

    If I have to describe these boxes with one word it would be " well ballanced": wide open it's already more than usable, but still perfect for portraits, sharp enough without being offending; f/11 1/2 - f/16 represent the optimum apertures, by which it gets sharp enough for I think most purposes. At f/11 the image almost everywhere is sharp, but the very corners will improve a bit by stopping down further to f/16. This is pretty much predictable. Even the centre gets crisper by stopping down this much, not only the outer zones.

    I made sectional enlargements a couple of days ago from an FP4+ (developed in Rodinal 1+50) negative that I shot at f/8 and 1/60th handheld. Focus was at infinity (centre of frame). A 17x enlargement from that section was excellent, the corners were noticably softer, but not bad in any way. At this magnification microcontrast is lower, but all the detail I need is present.

    Had I the camera on a tripod, stopped down to f/11-f/16, using for example Delta 100, the results would have been even better. I most happily use it for critical photography this way.

    All in all, this camera/lens is good enough for most purposes, but if you're looking very close for some softness, you can find it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2013
  5. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I will be shooting mostly the portraits(nature and human). Also I am looking Rolleiflexes too...
     
  6. MDR

    MDR Member

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    As a side not the early Automats can sometimes be had dirt cheap at least in Austria and Germany. For your main subject the III is superb.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have a pair of 2.8E Rolleiflexes. Yes, they're heavier than a 3.5 or a Rolleicord. I love them though. The interlock between aperture and shutter can be turned on or off rather easily (although it takes a little practice at first). The lenses are of course the primary reason for getting these and even though they don't have the 10-blade aperture of the early (A,B, and C) models, the bokeh/OOFAs is still very nice.
     
  8. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    There is a Rolleicord V for EUR 180 with three sheet film holder...I am tempted to pull the trigger.
     
  9. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    That sounds like a very good deal -- I have never used a Rolleicord with sheet film holders, however.

    You said that you would use the camera for portraits. If so, you should consider getting a Rolleinar 1, which enables you to focus as closely as .5 meters.
     
  10. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    My first "real" camera was a Rolleicord III with a Xenar. It's an excellent camera: light, straightforward, and the lens is what you'd expect from a Tessar type. It doesn't have the clinical sharpness of a Planar, especially wide open, but it's probably a better portrait lens for exactly that reason. I'm not sure how many aperture blades there are, but I think it's more than 5---in any case I don't remember the bokeh ever being a problem (I'm not a complete bokeh obsessive or anything, though).

    The focussing screens on 'Cords tend to be dim and it's probably a good idea to plan for an upgrade. There are a lot of aftermarket screens for Rolleis out there.

    -NT
     
  11. Aron

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    Rollei sheet film holders are pretty but I'm not sure if they are of any practical use. Apart from the Zone System, I can't find a good reason why anyone would like to torture himself with using sheet film smaller than 4x5.

    In my experience it's not the screen that is dim in some Rolleicords/-flexes, but the mirror that has partly desilvered. The stock screens present in later Rolleis (at least from the 'Cord V) come with a Fresnel and they are quite bright, but what is more important: contrasty.
     
  12. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    If the lens is doing from f/5.6 then I do not worry much about having a cord...
     
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I once owned a Rolleicord with a Schneider Xenar 3.5 lens and I would suggest it is much better value for money than a Rolleiflex. Having said that I’m sure many Rolleiflex owners would disagree, but lens speed isn’t everything.
     
  14. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I didn't even know you could plug them in!:wink:
     
  15. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Having both, I'd agree with you. The Planar/Xenotar lenses certainly are sharper, especially wide open, but you pay a lot more for an advantage that in most circumstances isn't enormous. (And the speed difference is less than a stop; it's nice to have but it's not *that* big a deal by itself.)

    -NT
     
  16. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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  17. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Also found one Rolleiflex 3.5 Tessar(first model). Any experience with this lens.
     
  18. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    I have a Rolleiflex T and am very satisfied with it (though the shutter needs some service now). The lens is pretty sharp when stopped down. I also have a Planar 80/2,8 for my SL66 and do not think they are much apart. The T is prone to stray light if you shoot against the sun but I think all Rolleis before the introduction of HFT were.
     
  19. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Finally I picked up a Rolleicord Va for EUR 88. Hope it is not a bad deal.
     
  20. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    This sounds like a good deal indeed!