Wide-angle 55mm Rolleiflex

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by 2F/2F, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have a chance to purchase a wide-angle 55mm Zeiss Distagon f/4.0 Rollei with case and lens cap in very good condition. I can get it for a very good deal. I plan on reselling it, since I am a fan of my Mamiya TLR, so don't need it. I have seen them go for $3,000 - $4,000 on eBay. Before I buy the thing, I want to know if there is some possibility that it could be a less desirable model of some sort that will not fetch as much. I am not a Rollei aficionado, and don't know a whole lot about the history and models. What do I need to look for to make sure this is going to sell for that much? I do have a couple of pix that I was able to take in the available light at high ISO. They do show the general condition and serial number, however.

    Thank you in advance.
     
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  2. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I think to go for that money it needs to be in very good condition. I am not sure exactly what a new one goes for but it is probably around 5000. Some of the old ones had meters and some of them had flat optical glass backs. The optical glass back is only useful if you have the optical glass. I have seen a lot of the Rollei wides listed on ebay but I am not sure how long it might take you to find a buyer at 3-4000 unless it is really good condition.
     
  3. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    According to my copy of the "Collectors' Guide to Rollei Cameras", the wide-angle Rollei was made from 1961 to 1967 in the serial number range 2 490 000 to 2 493 999. The camera was substantially the same throughout production, with 55 mm f4 Zeiss Distagon in Synchro-Compur MXV shutter, bayonet IV accessories. The only variation seems to have been that early cameras could not be fitted with a piece of optical flat glass at the focal plane, while later ones (no details of serial numbers) could. I have used many Rolleis but have never even thought about fitting this glass - so far as I am concerned, all wide-angle Rolleis would be equally attractive to collectors.
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Thanks for the info. Very interesting. The camera is sweet as can be. They are asking $850, and it is legit; not hot. They just don't know what they have. They routinely haggle down to 1/3 asking price as well.

    Here is one of the shots I got:

    [​IMG]

    I don't want to resell it, but, like I said, I have no real use for it.
     
  5. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I don't know where you live but I would definitely snap that up after a bit of haggle down. It looks like a beauty. If I knew where it was and I was anywhere near, you wouldn't have time to be making this decision cause I would already have it. I think before you sell it you should take it out for a few rolls of film. You might fall in love with it and sell everything else.
    Dennis
     
  6. Andrey Donchev

    Andrey Donchev Member

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    I'm jealous! Never will find it in my heart to sell this beauty!
     
  7. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    That's a beauty of a camera. Add me to the list of people that would love to use one!
     
  8. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    I publish the Rollei TLR Price & Info Guide here and track ebay prices constantly:

    http://members.aol.com/dcolucci/rolleitlr.htm

    I have seen some Type I Wide Rolleiflex sell for as little as $ 1800, but most - in decent shape - sell in the low $ 2K's on ebay. Minty would get close to $ 3K. They no longer sell for an easy $ 3K and 4K they used to 10 years ago....

    PS -
     
  9. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    At $850 I would have grabbed it the first day. You should be able to make an easy $250 on this camera, but possibly more. You should not have waited, might be gone by the time you get back.

    Buy it, send a roll though it to see if all the speeds work properly, put it on ebay with a $1000-$1200 reserve and see what happens.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    "You should not have waited, might be gone by the time you get back."

    Well, I usually don't walk around with $850 in my pocket...jeez.
     
  11. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    That's why they invented plastic.:smile:
     
  12. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    Ok, tell us where it is and one of us will rush over to grab it.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Ok. It is mine. Got it for $750. They were not as keen on bargaining in the collectibles section as they are in the rest of the shop. It was at a charitable thrift shop that lowers their prices weekly by formula when items don't sell. Apparently, they *did* have some idea of its value, but they had had it so long that it had got down to $850 by their dropping 10% per week. I have no idea what they were asking originally. They probably figured out that it was a Rolleiflex, but not a wide-angle one.

    It is *incredibly* clean, except for the case. I would call it "near mint", personally. I can't find a flaw on it, but I will look closer. Perhaps the lens cap has some marks. The vinyl is not lifting off the chassis anywhere, not even on the pointed areas. Even the vinyl adhesive that I assume bled onto the chrome piping on the back door during manufacturing is still there and clear. The case is "good" or "very good", but the camera itself looks 100% unused.

    I hate to say this about any tool, but it would quite honestly make a beautiful museum piece.

    It has a three-position pressure plate. One is marked for standard 35mm film frame size (there must have been some sort of kit made with a mask and spool adapter), and two are marked for 6x6. Does this mean it takes 220? I doubt it, as the serial is only about 600 units into the production run of about 4,000 units, which began in 1961. I think I read that 220 capability came several years later.

    It is meterless, which I personally prefer, for looks and for function.

    Well, it is damned sweet. Thanks for the help you have all provided. I really want to keep it, but I don't have all the money in the world..."starving student"...you know. In fact, this is the most I have *ever* spent on camera equipment at one time.

    Just talked to KEH on the phone, and they told me they'd pay me $2,300 for it if they could sell it in their "Excellent" condition, and $2,700 for "Like New". Having bought from KEH, I know that this is in much better shape than what they call "Excellent". I am seriously considering going this route, as it's still a chunk of change, and I won't have to deal with selling it, etc.
     
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  14. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    The three positions on the pressure plate would be for using with the optical flat glass. So the back door must have the "hump" on the bottom of the outside. Congratulations. Hopefully you have lots of good Karma still going so perhaps play the lottery.
    Dennis
     
  15. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    A Wide at a thrift shop?
    Amazing.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    If you have the 55mm for you Mamiya system, you should compare them before you sell the Rollei. I would be interested to know how the Rollei compares. I have the 50mm for the 6000 system, but have never had a Rolleiwide or the Mamiya 55mm TLR lens but have on occasion considered buying them.
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Thanks, Dennis. It does have the hump on the back.

    Funny story:

    This: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080729/ap_on_re_us/california_earthquake

    ...happened right as I was walking toward the door of the thrift shop, filled with anticipation that had been building since the yesterday evening. I was told by security that I could not enter, and the building was temporarily evacuated until it was deemed safe. Strange....a message from the gods about the purchase of the Rollei.

    I did not even feel the quake. I was walking along lost in thought, and the only thing I noticed was when I glanced over and saw a parked car bounce and I heard a loud thump. I thought that an obese person had just stepped out (Honestly, that's exactly what went through my mind! :D), but did a double take when I saw that no one was in the car! I thought perhaps there had been an underground gas explosion, due to the thump and bouncing car, and also because the building started emptying very rapidly afterward. Then people kept pointing up, as if it had been a sonic boom. (I knew it wasn't a sonic boom though...I have heard so many that I know what they feel like and sound like.)

    Strange that the building staff forced people to do exactly what I was taught *not* to do in an earthquake in kindergarten...

    I have a habit of totally missing earthquakes. I slept through all but the last 5 seconds of the '94 Northridge quake, and I only woke up because my dad picked me up and threw me under the coffee table. (I had been camping out in the living room in my sleeping bag.) In the October '87 quake (Whittier Narrows, I believe it was called), I slept almost entirely through it as well; again, only awoken by my father, who moved me to a door frame. Now with this one, I walked right through it without even noticing!
     
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  18. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    It's not vinyl, it's leather.

    The deal from Keh sounds like a keeper. Fortune really smiled on you, don't blow the profit on women and beer :D
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    What about rent and gasoline? Hell, why not just buy a fuel-efficient car with the proceeds? That would pay for itself versus my current car pretty quickly. I spend an average of $200 per month on gasoline, and that is while trying not to drive that much. Everything is just so far apart in L.A., and the public transit is a nightmare because of it. If I could just have a car that gets twice as much to the gallon, I'd save $100 per month...and then I *could* blow it on beer and women! Oh yeah, and late-night meals at Lucky Boy...best damned avocado bacon cheeseburgers I have ever had...and the breakfast burrito...drool drool drool. See? Forger beer and women! I can spend the saved money prepping myself for my first heart attack instead!

    Leather...niiiiiice. I am surprised, actually. I always assume cheapness before assuming classiness. (In reality, it seems no different than the vinyl on some of my other cameras.)

    I'll think about KEH. It's a decent price they have offered me.
     
  20. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    They do some odd things to camera leather to make it more like plastic. Hard, cold , slippery. Put some nice soft glove leather on a camera, easier to hold, warmer to the touch, much better in my opinion.
     
  21. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I prefer the leatherette to the real leather. It looks just as good and it doesn't get brown spots from the dye wearing out. And you can't see scratches very easily in leatherette. I am not sure when Rollei switched. Probably the second version of the F.

    Re KEH, you could list it on ebay with a reserve of the KEH price and see if it sells. I am thinking you might get into that 3000+ range you were talking about.