Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by lindyhopper, Jul 15, 2008.
I am thinking of buying a twin lens rolleiflex, I am unsure which one to go for.
How much are you willing to spend?
Do you want a new one or a used one?
How old do care about it being?
Do you care if the lens is Carl Zeiss or Schneider?
Do you care for 2.8 or 3.5?
Do you need a built-in light meter?
Do you care for TTL?
Do you care if you need to replace the dim finder with a brighter one?
Do you need a self timer?
Is there a chance you will change the Waist Lever Finder for a Prism?
My thread on getting one has lots of information:
or would you buy the cheaper option of all the above, a Rolleicord
Ari's first question is the most important, what's your budget.
Hi not so long back I was in the same position, it depends on how much you want to spend but here's what I looked at:
New Rollei GX is about £2,500 at Robert White.
A good secondhand F either Xenotar or Planar will be around £500 for a good model recently serviced (FFordes have a couple)
Or look for a good user model for about £200 and have it serviced about £80-120 for a good service.
What did I do?
I bought a Rolleiflex T which has a Tessar F3,5 for £100 on ebay then sent it to Brian Mickleboro for a service.
I write about it in my blog:
Some consider the T inferior to the F models, but I like the Tessar and if you stop down to F8-11 you can tell the difference IMHO.
Just some food for thought.
Buy for condition, not for model.
The differences from model to
model, lens to lens, are not much
important for most people. Find
one that has been well-cared for
and reasonably priced. Then send
it to a known Rolleiflex repair shop
for a good cleaning and a new
viewscreen (Maxwell or Beattie).
Don't forget there are also some excellent alternatives like Yashicamat's and Minolta Autocord's available second-hand, and just slightly larger but more versatile with their interchangeable lenses the Mamiya C3/33/330 and C2's. The Yashinons' and mamiya Sekor lenses are superb.
I assume you mean "you can't tell the difference".
I dunno, maybe it's just the local price trend, but I was able to get a Rolleiflex Automat for less than a Rolleicord :confused:
That's one of the biggest factors I've seen, when it comes to price. I've found 3.5s to be much cheaper than 2.8s. Again, might be a local thing.
It's not the quality of the lenses when choosing an f2.8 over an f3.5 it's the ability to work in lower light levels, that makes an f2.8 lens far more desirable. Simple supply & demand pushes the prices up for the f2.8's.
Both my TLR's have f3.5 lenses, sure I'd prefer an f2.8 lens on my Rolleiflex but as I was given the camera about 20 years ago I'm not complaining.
Sometimes strange things happen with second-hand prices and camera models, I've not really noticed with Rollei's but I have spotted that the budget Pentax Spotmatic 1000's & 500's often fetch more than the full spec Spotmatic II and F.
I can understand your frustration. I went through the same process a while back. There have been so many Rolleiflex models, and it's really hard to find the "right" one. Eventually, I went for a Minolta Autocord, at a very low price and in good condition. I had it overhauled and had a Maxwell screen installed. I simply could not be happier. The focusing is very easy and very accurate. The controls are easy to operate. The lens is more than sharp enough for me. The camera is light and small. It even has a flash shoe on the side and a built-in meter. Finally, the cost of Autocord CLA and repair is much lower than that of a Rolleiflex.
I hope this post helps you instead of complicating things. If you really want a Rolleiflex, I second the opinion that you should go for one in as good a condition as you can afford, and factor in the cost of a CLA and a bright focusing screen. You may be able to do all of those for just under $1000, but be prepared to pay more .
I have used a Rolleiflex T extensively from 1988 - 1993 moving to the 3,5f and then the Mamiya C330. The Rollei T was without doubt the most versatile as it was the lightest of them all and I could easily hold it in one hand after focussing and shoot away. Some of this work is being published locally and features many portraits I done using the Rollei T.
I have a Rolleiflex 2.8C with the Schneider lens. My wife gave it to me for my birthday about 15 years ago after I expressed an interest in getting one. She didn't know anything about them (still dosen't) but I really lucked out. Cosmeticlly, it's in good shape. I have no idea how much she paid for it but I invested about $150 USD in a CLA and a Maxwell screen. Mechanically flawless, and the lens is clean. It's probably my favorite camera and the one I grab most often.
Assuming money isn't a problem..
2.8F Platin....F style camera with HFT coated Planar
2.8FX...........New camera with HFT coated Planar and upgraded meter
2.8F Aurum...Gold plated trim F body Xenotar lens
2.8F Xenotar or Planar 80mm lens
2.8GX Like the FX only older with different styling and different shutter.
3.5 F Xenotar or Planar 75mm lens
leaving the Rollei wide and Tele Rollei out of the discussion
The reason to get any other Rollei is either sentimental (you have owned it a long time or it was passed on from a family member) or because you don't want to pay for the latest, and you figure the optics are the same any way... unless they are hazy or scratched.
To me the one to have is a tie between the latest 2.8F Xenotar or the latest 2.8FX Planar.
I just purchased an old 2.8f. I sold a Hasselblad 500c system to get it, but I don't regret it. It has proven to be a very convenient camera that gives great results.
Dennis, I disagree. The F- and G-series Rolleiflexes
all come with coupled light meters. I avoid them
because I prefer to meter myself with a separate
meter, and don't want a camera larded up with a
lot of stuff I never use. It's not a question of money.
The earlier models are better-suited for my purposes.
Larded up? Is that a typo or an interesting way of putting it? Like fattened I guess. Personally I wouldn't go for an older model because they lacked a meter. I don't use camera meters including the one in the FX. I have seen some people say they like the knob without the meter because it doesn't stick out so far. But the original poster asked a question that was interesting in it's simplicity and total lack of qualifications. Most every recommendation in these threads takes price into consideration as a high priority since most people say I want a camera for under 300 dollars or something. I tried to make a simple list of the top of the line.. which is what you would look for if you won the lottery. So... a Platin of course. Unless you prefer the Xenotar.
Larded, yes, as in stuffed with stuff.
I am one of the people who doesn't like the
meter knob. My 3.5E came with a meter and
I had it removed because I didn't use the meter
and didn't like the knob sticking out.
Planar, Xenotar: It's all good.
I used the company's Rollei T for many years and photographed many weddings without any problems. I eventually bought my own Rollei 3.5F. I do prefer the Planar lens to the Tessar, though you might be hard pressed to notice, and I opted for the 3.5 over the 2.8 purely on price, with modern emulsions it was not a 'must have'. The built-in meter I find is a plus, not that I ALWAYS use it, particularly if you can find one with the incident light diffuser which is superb for reversal work. It makes it an excellent 'grab it and go' camera, as long as you don't forget the film, of course.
If I were in the market for another Rolleiflex, I'd look for one with the least automation possible. The camera's I use most often these days (Rolleiflex, RB67, Wisner 4X5) have absolutely no automation of any kind. If I need/want to use a meter, I have an old Minolta Autometer IVF that only needs one AA battery. Simple cameras like the above mentioned really allow me to concentrate on exposure and composition and not get distracted by the extraineous. My wife gave me a new digital P&S recently and while it's pretty good for happy snaps, the damn thing has more menu's and modes than I can count. The complication distracts from the creative process. Plus, it relies on some kind of special battery thats just not available everywhere. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, simple cameras carry the day.
I didn't know Rollei TLR's had ANY automation... unless you're referring to the automatic first frame roller in the 2.8F. I think they dropped that for the G series, didn't they?
But none of the have exposure automation, unless you count SCA flash adapters.
Yes they dropped that Auto-mat function. Which I am glad of. I feel much more confident the FX is going to stop at frame #1 after I line up the arrows than I do with the feeler roll which has blasted right through whole rolls enough to make me worry every time.
Thanks for all the useful suggestions, one question which models take interchangle screens.
Remember that the Tessar in the T was recomputed at the same time as that in the Contaflex. It is an excellent lens with a different signature to both the previous Tessars and the Planars.
Own a Rolleiflex T and cannot complain about it, it´s small and lightweight. I think it´s the best Rollei you can get for small money.
Its exp-time-aperture-coupling is something one should get used to, indeed. The Rolleicord isn´t worse but it´s shutter isn´t
coupled with the film transport, so you have to think of setting both before taking pictures. I didn´t buy it back then because
I was shure I would forget either
What I ment to say was "If I were in the market for another Rolleiflex, or any other camera, I'd..... Sorry for the confusion.
Separate names with a comma.