Why are Rolleiflex's so expensive?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ric Trexell, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    I was just reading here about Rolleiflex's and wondered if a person could still buy one new. Guess what! You can, but I'll never be able to. B&H sells the 2.8 for something like $6,600. So my question is, yes, I know they are the Caddy of cameras, but why are they so expensive? I suppose you can use them for 300 years, if you can still get film for them, but really, they are just a couple of lenses, a shutter and a place to put your film. Am I missing something here? Ric.
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Maybe they'd be $3,300 if they only had one lens.
     
  3. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Low production = high manufacturing costs = high retail pricing, for other examples, see the products from Omega watches, Porche, Bentley, Aston Martin and Rolls Royce. For optical products, even Nikon's 600mm f4 lens at the low end or maybe you want to drop $500k or more on a confocal microscope from Nikon, Zeiss or Olympus.. :smile:
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What he said.
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

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  6. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    I agree with the OP.

    Nothing justifies that price, no matter what it says on the camera.
    A Hasselblad 503 is imo a much better and more flexible tool and you can pick up a mint Hasselblad for 1500 bucks.

    Imo rolleiflex is pricing themselves right out of the market, you'd have to be pretty high from darkroom fumes to buy one at that price :smile:
     
  7. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Rolleiflexes hold their value over Hasselblads because to me they are nicer to use - I say this having both, my Rolleis are loved and my 2.8F been with me since the mid 1970s - My Hasselblads were used commercially for all the obvious reasons, but were too fiddly, had too many flaps, springs, mirrors, shutters and aperture blades flying around at high speed to make the exposure

    One good thing about the price of a SH Rollei is that if you don't like it it is always worth what you paid for it

    I love my Rolleis but could never come to love a Hasselblad, even the SWC - I should not be typing this as I am trying to sell my Hasselblads at this very moment

    I am about to change my call sign to "Grumpy Old Man"
     
  8. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Some people aren't bothered by $6000 or so for a classic low production camera that is collectible and nice looking. Some people don't use those cameras either. The same people that would buy a brand new leica rangefinder, airstream camper, klipsch k-horn speakers, or a Gibson les paul. "High end" and lots of timeless cachet.

    I'm a user not a collector and prefer cheap and functional and will pay extra for rugged. I have a cheap used rolleiflex that I'm happy with.

    Rolleiflexes are more of a old mercedes than a cadillac (which are sold on features and tech). The rolleiflexes are generally more rugged than their TLR competitors and had a premium price and didn't change too fast.
     
  9. jscott

    jscott Member

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    Reasons for high prices?

    "Supply and Demand."
    And "you get what you pay for".
     
  10. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    Why are Rolleicords cheaper?
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Dealer price list from 1972 shows the 2.8F at $577.50 which would be $3,107.71 today. So, the price of a 2.8 has doubled since then.
     
  12. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I agree they are over priced. I am a Rolleiphile and I own an FX which I feel fortunate to have picked up when they were only 3000. I thought that was ridiculous. I know they are good people, being employee owned with much pride but the price makes it an unrealistic user item. IMO. I know value is relative to how much money you have to spend but it puts the camera in an elitist market. I wonder how many they would sell and how busy they would be building them at 2500. On top of that the new accessories are out of this world as well. The good news is you can find an F for 12 to 15 hundred in very good condition and get it completely over hauled for under 5.
    Dennis
     
  13. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Lenses not as good, mostly, and all accoutrements generally not as good as contemporaneous Rolleiflexen. Knob wind vs. lever, dimmer screen, things like that. A Rolleicord in good shape is still a pretty good deal.

    I agree that the new prices are absurd. Clearly the demand is influenced by the price rather than the other way around; they could sell a hell of a lot more cameras at half the price, one would think, but for whatever reason they'd rather be a stratospheric boutique item. The used market for Rolleiflexen seems kind of rational to me, though; they're astoundingly good user cameras with world-class lenses, and the prices reflect that.

    -NT
     
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  15. jakyamuni

    jakyamuni Member

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    Yes, but how many Rolleiflex's have lasers?!
     
  16. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    Rolleiflex is, in car terms, a lovely old 1920's car, worth many thousands of pounds, and loved and cherished by its owner, a hassleblad, or any other modern camera is a toyata or other modern car, which gets you around every day, but is much like every other car on the road, I speak as a photographer and classic car owner, I have a rolleiflex which to me is priceless and I happily paid a lot of money,( dare not say how much, my Mrs might read it) for a ,ovely, beautiful classic car, I cannot get enough of using my rolleiflex, I cherish my classic cars, My every day car, it goes though a car wash now and again, my modern Bronica, well, it's just not the same as my Rolleiflex but it works.
    Richard
     
  17. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Make it a 2500$ camera and nobody would consider buying that old thing. At 6000$ it becomes an objet de convoitise. Simple, really.
     
  18. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    When you used one, you understand why it is expensive.

    Jeff
     
  19. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I heard that old Rolleiflex Automats are cheap on eBay these days. $300 or so? That's cheap for such a great camera.
     
  20. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Same reason a Leica is. They are built in small numbers, by a company in a Western economy paying realistic wages and taxes. I'd also hazard a guess that a huge number of parts are custom made, not off the shelf, and not from another product in their line up.

    Rolleiflexes are far too expensive for me to buy new, but I am grateful that they are there, as something of a small bastion of the value of craftsmanship in a world of commoditized glued-together "me too" products.

    I had a 3.5E until recently, and in all honesty, did not feel that enamoured with it, maybe I'd feel different with a new one. I'm glad they are there giving us the option.
     
  21. JonPorter

    JonPorter Member

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    I suppose Rolleis are expensive because there are people willing to pay the price. But I have no idea why the town you live in is pronounced "burl-in" instead of "bur-lyn" like in Germany.
     
  22. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    By that logic, Hasselblad is also pricing themselves out of the market, since the price of a new 503 is $3500 for just the body. And the prices for the lenses are like $4000 each. A Mamiya RZ is a relative bargain; you can get one with a lens for $3500. But somebody has to be willing to pay these new prices, or the rest of couldn't get the good used deals.

    None of these cameras are cheap, or have ever been cheap relative to other cameras. They're low production, require higher grades of materials than consumer cameras, higher levels of quality control, and let's face it, tend to be made in places with higher skilled labor costs.
     
  23. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    And of course, the market for them has not. Presumably in 1972 they sold a lot more of them. They're effectively a custom-made object at this point; if no one was willing to pay that price, they wouldn't be for sale at all.
     
  24. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I have a 1953-54ish automat mx with the 75/3.5 tessar, and it's a great camera. I paid $225 for it locally. It's more rugged than a comparable yashica and both use the same filters and bay-I accessories. The rolleiflex shutter is only inaccurate with sub-freezing weather, it gets a stop slow. Probably a CLA would fix that, as that has already been done to my Yashica.
     
  25. lithprinter

    lithprinter Member

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    Buy yourself an old Mamya TLR for a fraction of the price of a Rolleiflex and spend the rest of your money on a long vacation.:smile:
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    No - just get a used Rolleiflex and spend the rest of the money on a nice long vacation with the Rollei. The Mamiya C220/330 is a great camera no doubt, but the ergonomics and aesthetics of it are a LONG way from the Rollei. I would use the Mamiya TLR in the studio any day. In the field, hand-held, I'd much prefer the Rollei.