Rolleicord lens vs Rolleiflex 3.5

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mark Fisher, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I have a fine Rolleicord V that I love dearly. It is light, can be handheld easily and is just a nice camera. I am wondering whether I'd see a significant difference in the image if I went with a Rolleiflex 3.5D, E or F

    Thanks -- Mark
     
  2. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    I have one too, and I love it for the same reasons. I have to admit thought that the lens performance is terrible an aperature greater than f16. The corners go to mush, especially if I am shooting B&W.

    I do realize these lenses were hand assembled and there are probably variations between them.

    I wish they had made a rolleicord available with a 3.5 plasmat. I find that the rolleiflex, or any of the clones (yashica 124) are much heavier and bulkier.
     
  3. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    I have both a Rolleicord and a 2.8 Rolleiflex. I've owned a 3.5 Rolleiflex in the past and traded it in for the extra stop of speed.

    My experience is that the Rolleiflex Planar is noticeably sharper than lens on the Rolleicord. Others here tell me that my 'cord must not be aligned or adjusted properly, because it should be very sharp. YMMV.

    Legend has it that the Xenotars on Rolleiflexes are even sharper and contrastier than the Planars. I love my Rolleiflex with 2.8 Planar, and although I own a Hasselblad system (which also has a Planar 80), I would never part with it. I've taken some of favorite images with it.

    Neal
     
  4. Sportera

    Sportera Member

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    I had a Rolleicord V, lost it in the flood.

    I replaced it with a Rolleiflex MX something or other. The photos from both are very nice, however the Rolleiflex handles much nicer with its hand crank film advance, and loads easier. The Flex is heavier and more robusty built.

    Either cameras are capable of top notch images.

    The screens are a bit dark on each and it might be worth the money to upgrade the screen for better low light focusing.
     
  5. jss

    jss Member

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    i have a rolleicord with the 3,5/70 xenar, i've gotten many sharp images from it at various apertures. soon after i bought the camera, i handed it to International Camera Technicians in mountain view, california where i lived (literally, down the street). it was cleaned, aligned, and some minor parts were replaced. my only complaint now is the dark focusing screen.
     
  6. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    Nuts. The Xenar (Tessar) on that Cord will lose some discernible sharpness at the far corners when shot wide-open, on a tripod, perfectly-focused. But 99 percent of photographers will lose more in focus error than they will from the lens. The Planar/Xenotar's chief advantage is that it likes to be shot wide-open without loss of acuity in the extremities. the Xenar might be sharper overall, and is at least as contrasty. Sam's hit the relevant differences on the head -- the Flex has a better wind and shutter mechanism, but weighs a few ounces more. But the lens and build quality of the Cord is every bit the match for the Flex.

    Sanders McNew
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Rolleicord always carried either a Triotar or a Xenar (which is roughly the same as the Tessar).

    The Rolleiflex D, E and F models had either a Planar or a Xenotar (a Planar formula).

    I think you would notice the differences when shooting wide open. The Xenar and Tessar tend to give round backgrounds at medium distances, which tends to be for most portraits.

    The Planar and Xenotar will give you smoother backgrounds when shot wide open.

    By the time you close the lens down to f/8 or smaller, I think that the differences between the Tessar/Xenar and Planar/Xenotar begin to narrow.

    I heartily encourage you to buy both and have a lot of fun!

    The Carl Zeiss Jena Triotar on the Rolleicord is a triplet. I've always felt that the Triotar is one of the better triplets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2007
  8. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    I have to say that my 3.5F Xenotar has been a disappointment -- decidedly not sharp at wide apertures. It's been overhauled and I just had the guy check it again; he says nothing is out of specification. I'm not going to get rid of it but it sure is a puzzlement.

    Meanwhile, the Tessar on my MX-EVS and Tessar-design Rokkor on my Autocord are very strong performers. I've yet to find a bad TLR lens with a Tessar design that's a dog -- the Yashinon in particular is also excellent. (The Yashicas are more likely to fall short in mechanical operations like film advance.) The Tessar designs' performance doesn't surprise me, but the Xenotar's underperformance does.
     
  9. jss

    jss Member

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    i'm wanting to switch to the 'flex because i find the wind crank so cool.
     
  10. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I have a 3.5F with a Planar and it is a great camera, sharp at all apertures with a beautiful quality to the photos. Sharp and not overly contrasty, with a nice 3 dimensional roundness. It's probably my favorite camera.

    Nick, are you sure your repair man is up to speed on Rolleis? I find it puzzling for a Xenotar to be soft at any f-stop.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  11. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Maybe too much wine :wink: but isn't that a 1/2 stop increase?
     
  12. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    Rollei lenses

    A question for those who feel there lens quality is lacking: have you had your various repairmen/women check that the film plane is in proper alignment with the lens? I have been told this is ultra critical with a TLR. I had a C330 that I suspect was suffering from this malady as it just didn't perform as well as my Yashicamat 124 and I was using the latest "black lenses". so just a thought. My 3.5T is in the repair shop right now but can't wait to test it.
     
  13. matti

    matti Member

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    I have no experience with TLR:s but when I get a new camera or lens, I place out a couple of things, like coins or pencils on a carpet, put the camera on a tripod, focus on the middle one of the things I set out at full aperture to check the film plane distance (or rangefinder if it is an rf camera). I found out that one of my russian lenses were off for my Leica.

    /matti
     
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  15. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    Agreed with the above 100%.

    I have the same two cameras, a 'cord V and an MX-EVS. I like the handling better on the 'Flex, slightly. But my 'Cord has a brighter (aftermarket) screen, so it's a wash.

    Image quality is so similar that it's not why I choose one or the other.
     
  16. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Cord V does not have the removable hood, correct? If not, that screen should drop right into your MX-EVS.
     
  17. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    << Cord V does not have the removable hood, correct? >>

    I think that's right.

    << If not, that screen should drop right into your MX-EVS. >>>

    Hmm. Course, then my Cord would be down.

    I'll just leave them both alone (mechanically), and use them.
     
  18. Shelly Grimson

    Shelly Grimson Member

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    I have a few. A totally beaten up 3.5 f that has the front stage moving side to side. Good results nonetheless. A 3.5 xenotar and 2.8 planar, both f's- lovely. But the Rollei T is hands down my favourite because it is so light in comparison it feels like a little toy. Wonderful Tessar for my black and white. All my cameras have bright screens and I think it makes a big difference in the joy of using them. The older models without that ability to change screens have wonderful lenses of course but can't be that easy to focus. By the way I took advantage of the dropping market for these cameras 20 years ago and have been thankful for the opportunity. It's a good time to get one now so hunt down the best one and be happy!
    Shelly
     
  19. Shelly Grimson

    Shelly Grimson Member

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    Forgot to mention the only possible drawback to the 'T'. No double exposure provision. If that is important go for the Rollei F's.
    Shelly
     
  20. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    My results have generally been very nice, but I never shot the more expensive 'Flex. Based on what I'm hearing, I think I am probably better off investing in a Maxwell screen than upgrading. I use the camera handheld and I think the lack of tripod and focussing accuracy are probably more important than the glass.

    Thanks for all the quick and thoughtful comments -- Mark
     
  21. filmnut

    filmnut Member

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    I have a Rolleicord III, 75mm f3.5 which I inheireted from an uncle of my wife's ove ten years ago. It required a servicing, which included aligning the the top lens with the bottom (taking) lens. I have since shot many rolls of film through it. The lens quality is very good, and yes, I agree that the corner and edge sharpness suffers at wide apertures, although the centre part is very good wide open.
    This is the only Rollei that I have owned, so I can't compare the results with any others, but I have handled the Flex's, and I agree that the egronomics are a bit nicer.
    I have a 50in. wide high resolution print (on a Durst Lambda) from a scanned (drum scan) transparency, and the result was spectacular!
    I intend to keep shooting with this camera for many more years!
    Keith
     
  22. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    [Nick, are you sure your repair man is up to speed on Rolleis? I find it puzzling for a Xenotar to be soft at any f-stop.

    Richard Wasserman[/QUOTE]

    Richard -- yes, he's Krikor Maralian (Krimar Photo Shop), who's a Rollei specialist.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Now I find it even more puzzling!
     
  24. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    My experience with 2.8 F Xenotars and Planars are that they are very flare prone in backlight at wide apertures, much more so than the 3.5F's which are felt by most to be the better lenses. But it is hair splitting.
    Mark
     
  25. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I had a rolleicord VA. It was soft wide open esp in corners but at f8 and below was super sharp. Having shot many,many MF cameras I can say with honesty that at say f11 it was beyond criticism. I was amazed what camera I had obtained for 100 quid. Maybe I got a good one, but it really was plenty sharp enough for me. I have not owned a flex but gather that they are far sharper at wide apertures. I however tended to use mine at smakker apertures. Did some shots at f4.5 of a chair in a spanish lane ( in my gallery) and the corners were lovely and soft but the chair was super sharp being towards the centre of the frame. Does your cord seem sharp to you...thats the question!
     
  26. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have a Rolleicord V but I don't think I have ever used it wide open. I think f8 is as far as I have ever opened the aperture.

    It has always appeared to be very sharp. I will have to try it at f3.5 to see what it does!

    Steve.