Rolleiflex Old Standard – Advice needed please.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Carl170, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Carl170

    Carl170 Member

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    Hi, everyone. This is my first post on APUG!. I mainly use 35mm and 35mm half frame cameras, and have decided I might try my hand with a medium format camera.

    I have just bought a rolleiflex old standard dated 1932-38. It appears to be in pretty good condition apart from issues with the shutter speeds. I am not too sure if the speeds work, but the display is incorrect, or there is some other issue. The speed lever works and you can select a speed, but it does not seem the correct speed. I cannot select 500 speed either which suggests that the lever is not at the correct point with the gears (I hope this makes sense!)

    Apart from this, the camera does seem to be in very good condition for its age. Most of the others I have seen look far more battered with hardly any paint!

    I paid £70 for the camera, and I guess I could return it for a refund. My question is whether it would be worth getting fixed/cla’d or start looking for another one?

    Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

    Regards

    Carl
     
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  2. MDR

    MDR Member

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    The old Rollei Standard is a good camera if it's working properly nevertheless despite beeing a Rolleiflex it is unfortunately not really superior to other MF TLRs with a Tessar lens. For a little more you can get amongst other things a Mamiya C2 (e.g. http://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Mamiya-Mamiyaflex-C2_80000.html), an Ikoflex, a Yashicamat or an Autocord or a british product MPP Microcord. Sooner or later all cameras will need a CLA/repair though. If you really want a Rolleiflex than, I advise you to get it repaired and use it for the next 100 years.

    Is it worth the repair cost yes and no only you can decide wether you want to use a piece of photographic history that if working proberly can give you wonderful results or not.
     
  3. momus

    momus Member

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    You have to exert quite a bit of extra pressure to get it to 1/500, and of course make sure the shutter is cocked before changing any of the speeds. I owned one of these and the uncoated Tessar was sharp as a tack. A yellow filter will give you more contrast. My favorite feature, other than the tiny size, was that bubble level in the corner of the ground glass. Wish every TLR had one of those. Putting in a new mirror and a bright focus screen will make your life a lot easier, and make shooting the camera more fun. The lens shade can cost as much as the camera!, but I simply measured the lens surround and used push on series filters and a hood. Worked fine. A film like Tri-X or HP5 will help w/ the low contrast.

    If you're not handy w/ old cameras I suggest you send it out for a CLA and get the things I suggested addressed. Won't be cheap though. Otherwise, clean the lenses w/ soft lens tissue and those little red bottles of cleaning fluid after a good brush off, and buy an inexpensive shutter tester to see how the speeds are really running. If they're sticking, try a good Ronsinol flush after taking the optics out first. Some people don't like this idea, but in 25 years of doing it it's always worked for me, If any of this scares you, send it out. You have a great piece of history there that is still capable of making excellent photos.
     
  4. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    NO NO NO -- do NOT attempt to put it to 1/500 with the shutter cocked. The mechanism does not work that way. If it is set at 1/500, do NOT move it to a lower speed without first firing the shutter.

    The top speed on early compurs like that one use an extra spring to get that top speed, which is why it is harder to get it to 500 when the shutter is not cocked, and impossible to if the shutter is cocked.

    You CAN shift speeds in the lower range with the shutter either cocked or not cocked.

    I have a standard and have gotten good images from it. The lens is an uncoated tessar, so watch out for flare but, otherwise, it's a fun and very compact camera to use.

    Your camera is about 80 years old, a service would be highly recommended in any event. If it is in good cosmetic condition, the cost of a service will increase its value.
     
  5. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    summicron1 beat me to it -- DO NOT try to set 1/500, or shift it from 1/500, with the shutter cocked. With regard to your comment about the speeds being off, that's probably an indication that the shutter needs servicing. Definitely get your camera overhauled, it's well worth it! Plenty of life in it yet.
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Get it fixed. It is a great camera. BTW welcome to APUG.

    Jeff
     
  7. Karl K

    Karl K Subscriber

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    Carl:
    You have already spent about $125 USD and you have a classic vintage camera in need of servicing.
    If your purpose is to experience the quality of medium format on a budget, there are better cameras out there for the same, or even less money. Some of these have already been mentioned: Mamiya C2 or C3, YashicaMats, Ricoh Diacords, etc.
    However, if you want the "classic look and feel" of a pre-war Rolleiflex, then invest the money to repair what you have already bought.
    That's my 2 pence, for whatever it's worth (about 3 cents here in the USA).
    Good luck and welcome to APUG.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Hi Carl welcome to APUG.

    A CLA/service is going to cost you around £60-£70 in the UK which as has been said may not be very economic. Having said that in good working condition the camera would be worth more than you paid for it.

    I've bought slightly newer 1941 Rolleicord at a Flea market a few weeks ago, for a lot less as the leatherette is missing, but a fully functional shutter and a Triotar taking lens. You can check the lens serial number here which will give you a better idea of the cameras age.

    Rolleiflex cameras are great to use and capable of high quality results so have fun.

    Ian
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I wouldn't blink twice at investing in a CLA if the camera appears that it will end up being in fully operable condition AND it is planned on being used. The notion of wanting to use a vintage camera but not being willing to invest in having it maintained is a false economy if one is interested in seriously using the gear.
     
  10. Carl170

    Carl170 Member

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    Thanks for your replies so far!

    Here are a few pics for you.

    DSC_0292.jpg DSC_0286.jpg DSC_0288.jpg

    42f3aa28-625f-4c76-86f6-1174462fe3cd.jpg
    So do you reckon it might be worth saving then?

    The shutter speeds are definitely sticky and the B doesn’t seem to work properly. Does anyone know how the B shutter on this camera works? Normally(on all my other cameras) it stays open as long as you hold the shutter button down.

    Next question – where can I send it for a CLA?

    Lastly, is it difficult to remove the lenses? If its not too hard, I could do that and flush the mechanics as has been suggested.

    I have to say, it has a lovely feel about it and that magic that some cameras have!

    Thanks for the advice (and keep it coming!)

    Regards

    Carl
     

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  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I use Black on White in Bristol, they did a full CLA on my Rolleiflex 3.5E3 about 6 years ago, and my Yashicamat 124 at the same time.

    At the end of the day it's really the quality of the lens that's more important with a fixed lens TLR as long as the rest works OK. Switching lenses &/or shutters is a minefield unless you know Rolleiflexe's inside out.

    Ian
     
  12. Carl170

    Carl170 Member

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    Does anyone know how many lenses are actually in the camera and if they are of good quality?

    Also, if the shutter doesn't seem to work properly (and it is really ropey!), does this not mean it is broken rather than just need cleaning?

    Cheers

    Carl
     
  13. JPD

    JPD Member

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    The Tessar is a four element lens of very high quality. Franke & Heidecke never used cheap lenses on their Rollei TLR's.

    Most of the time the shutter only needs a good cleaning and adjustment.
     
  14. JPD

    JPD Member

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    B = The shutter stays open until you let go of the shutter lever.

    T = One click to open the shutter and one click to close it.
     
  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Carl,

    If you can make the shutter work enough to run a roll of film through it, you owe it to yourself to see what the camera images look like, before sending it in for cleaning. You might find a shutter speed around 50 that is close enough to use.

    I had one, the lens had cleaning marks which made the pictures I got unbearably soft for my taste at the time. If you feel like you want incredibly sharp images, you might not like this camera even if it were cleaned.

    But if you love the look you get, then you'll know it is worth getting cleaned.
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I have and use one of these cameras.
    The taking lens is a Tessar and is excellent. When this camera was new, it was state of the art - it's still excellent, but use a lens hood as it is uncoated. The viewing lens is a triplet.

    As for the shutter, if it's full of ancient lubricant and 75 years of dirt, it isn't going to work. Have it serviced by a competent technician.

    Edit - Any old camera you buy is going to need a proper CLA. Getting a different Rollei from what you have will get you nowhere as it also will be in need of servicing.
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    As I mentioned above, I have one and there is nothing whatever wrong with the sharpness at say f8, typical for one of these Tessars.
     
  18. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hello Carl170,
    Welcome to APUG. If you can spend the money have it cleaned and use it. You'll be surprised by the images.
    If you let us know what country you are in, we can probably recommend a good address.

    You can also edit your profile data and fill in the missing info - if you're willing to share it.
    Have fun!
    Bert from Holland
     
  19. Carl170

    Carl170 Member

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    Bill - thats a fair point, the only problem being that it I have no idea what shutter speeds are working, so I could also just waste a load of film too which is not cheap in the UK, (well, compared to 35mm!).

    Also, if the images are not focused correctly, and the lenses are dirty, then will I really get a good indication of how the camera can really perform?

    By the Way, I noticed a date scratched into the mirror last night - it looks like 5/11/34. Does anyone know the German date format?

    Thanks for your input everyone. I have spoken to Brian Micklebro and he has said to send it to him and he will assess it first. Anyone else used him for a repair or CLA?

    Regards

    Carl
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Brian Micklebro is probably the best for Rollei's in the UK, so you'll be alright.

    Ian
     
  21. Carl170

    Carl170 Member

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    Ian,

    I am hoping has prices are good too!

    Cheers

    Carl
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    5/11/34 is probably November 5, 1934.

    E. von Hoegh mentions using a lens hood, and I'll second that. Looked at my chromes and negs taken with that camera and yes, sharp - the lens is sharp. But I had excessive flare. Again, my specific camera had cleaning marks (imagine cleaning a lens with steel wool - I recall it was worst cleaning marks ever)...

    It's very well engineered though, for example the focusing is done by four geared helical pillars. So if you get it cleaned - it should last forever.
     
  23. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    No you won't.
    But I can tell you from personal experience that the camera is an excellent perormer if the lens is clean and clear. Any haze allowed to remain in the lens will pretty much ruin the contrast though, hood or no.