Old Rolleiflex in Windhoek...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by kavandje, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    OK, so I've been offered a Rolleiflex TLR.

    1951-1954 Rolleiflex Automat model K4A (s/n 1290xxx)

    The Good News:
    * Original box, for whatever that's worth;
    * Original manual, in excellent condition;
    * Original eveready case in excellent condition;
    * Basically clean Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f/3.5 (s/n 3488xxx);
    * Mechanically basically sound;

    The Bad News:
    * Slow shutter speeds (1 sec, 1/2 sec) slowing down/sticking (sitting-on-shelf-itis) -- 1/5 sec and faster thus far unaffected;
    * Shutter release not returning to 'at-rest' position quickly;

    The seller wants silly money ("researched on e-bay"). What should I *really* be paying?

    This is not for a collection, this (or any other Rolleiflex) is a camera I intend to use...
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well the camera really needs a CLA on the shutter really. You may find that with use the slow speeds start working OK, I've found that with a couple of Copal shutters.

    You have to take into account the cost of getting it serviced as postage will be as much if not more than the service itself. It's difficult to put a value on a camera like this one as they tend to sell for wildly differing prices, particularly on Ebay. Anything from £100($200) to £250($500) but because of the shutteryou need to be thinking of a price towards the lower figure.

    Ian
     
  3. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Oh, and one more thing: it seems to have an adjustable pressure plate; does this mean that the camera supports different film or shooting formats? If so, how?
     
  4. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    I assumed that it would need a CLA one way or another; I'm just looking for a sensible amount to offer, rather than the frankly ludicrous number on the price tag... At least the seller admits that they proverbially "don't know much about cameras" -- should give me some leverage...
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You can download the manula for the camera, as well as 2 versions of the Focal Press Rollei Guide from here. The Focal Guides are excellent.

    Well it cost me £95($190) to have ny Rolleiflex serviced last month, that was purely because it hadn't been used since about 1964 or 65, so knock that kind of figure off the maximum price of £250 and somewhere between £100 - £150 seems fair.

    There's one for sale now with a buy it now of £230 and that's just been serviced.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2008
  6. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    OK, thanks for that info; seems like offering N$1500 (~USD200) seems fair, in the light of the original documentation and such. The adjustable pressure plate seems to be for the Rolleikin 35mm film adaptor. I'll file that away...
     
  7. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    This may be a little late, but I'd say an offer in the range of US $200 sounds about right. I wouldn't worry too much about the slow speeds; how often will you really need them? You can get the camera serviced at your leisure. With regard to the shutter release button, as long as it does come back out relatively quickly that isn't more than an annoyance. But you might be able to put a drop or two of lighter fluid (naphtha) in there and see if that makes it work properly. Be sure also to treat the camera case, especially the strap, with leather conditioner -- I find the Rollei straps become very brittle with age, so you need to keep a very close eye on it to be sure it doesn't just come apart some day (and the camera crashes to the ground -- a horrible feeling).
     
  8. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    I have offered the seller the equivalent of just over US$200 (N$1500 to be precise); whether the seller sees the light and comes down from the original asking price of N$7800 (~US$1057) remains to be seen. I'm not planning to negotiate. If they'll take the offered money, I'll take the camera; if not, then not. The dealer, who is selling on commission, has expressed thanks that I researched the actual value of the camera, and indicated that she's feel uncomfortable to sell at the asked price, even to anyone else, so that's a kind of relief I guess.

    As for the slow shutter speeds: I use them a lot! I do a lot of low-light handheld photography, and a decaying shutter is precisely why I'm looking at alternatives to my hitherto very lovely Yashicamat 124!
     
  9. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    If right now 1/5 and faster are working fine, that wouldn't stop me. (Can you really handhold 1/2 second or 1 second?) I think if you use it regularly you can forestall the need for servicing the shutter for some time.

    Yes, there is quite a price difference there, isn't there? Good luck!
     
  10. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Can't offer any help with tht camera but must say that Namibia is a beautiful country. I spent about 4 weeks there some years back and really enjoyed it. We rented a Landrover in Windhoek. I took it out to the sand for a test drive and about 15 secods off the road I was stuck. Someone very nicely towed me out and I learned quickly. Not too much sand driving where I live. I have several Namibia photos on my office walls.
     
  11. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Hehehe ... driving on sand isn't as easy as it looks. :smile: But yeah, I have to agree, Namibia's pretty photogenic...
     
  12. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    Yes. After my initial humiliation I developed a strategy of driving as fast as possible when on sand to avoid getting stuck. On the way to Sossusvlei we picked up a couple of Dutch girls who were hitchhiking. I don't think they we quite prepared for the experience of my driving. They were in the back of the Landrover, nearly hitting the roof with each bump. At one point we rounded a corner and an oryx came from nowhere. I slammed on the brakes at a fast speed with the oryx just inches from the front bumper. Those things are fast and it managed to get away unscathed. I am sure those girls have some thoughts about "American drivers."
     
  13. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Heh.

    The trick to driving on sand seems to consist in driving like a maniac with considerable finesse.

    Wildlife certainly spices things up, and the distractions offered by a vehicle full of shrieking girls just add to the fun. Or something.