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  1. #1
    drumminor2nd's Avatar
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    Fix the 'cord or get something else?

    Hi, all. I have a Rolleicord III (coated Xenar 75/3.5, not the Triotar) that needs its advance overhauled, a good scrubbing and its shutter speeds put back into spec. Harry Fleenor said he won't touch that model, but recommended somebody else who quoted $200. I also need a better screen and leather, so by the end I'm looking at $350 to get this thing back into shape... That seems a bit high to me for a Rolleicord.

    So, do I go ahead and get it fixed up by a pro or try to fix it myself (I've done some major work on Nikon SLRs before, but not a Rollei). If I fix it myself, I'm contemplating picking up a different camera with the savings, just because I a) am not 100% sure it will work when I'm done, b) because I want interchangeable lenses (45/55 and 135/150) and a TTL meter option down the road, and c) because I can .

    If I go the other camera route, my budget is in the sub-$300 to start with (camera, back, finder and lens). There's the usual 6x4.5 (original Pentax 645, Bronica ETRSi or pre-AF Mamiya 645) and 6x6 (Bronica SQ-a or -ai) suspects, but wanted to know what other good options I should look at. I would prefer a 6x6, but a) I can't afford a Hasselblad or Rollei SLR system, and b) there aren't all that many choices out there for SLRs in that format.

    KEH is down (blaming hackers, but I'll put my money on the lazy SOB IT guy), so I guess they're saving me from making a rash decision, hehe.

    So, do I spend the cash on the Rolleicord, or do I get something else? If so, what?

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    You're in the middle gound here, a good service will give you a camera that's only as good as several others available second hand in excellent condition.

    For the cost of that service you could get a couple of Yashicamat 124's or 124G's, or even a half decent Rolleiflex. The reality is if you get great results with your Rolleicord and it's Xenar and you know it'll be repaired/serviced properly then maybe it's worth while, if not move on.

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 03-06-2012 at 03:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    Have you overhauled a leaf shutter? That model has a Compur-Rapid, yes? Not that difficult but certainly tedious. There are a few sites on the 'net that show a lot of good info. The rest of the Rolleicord is pretty simple. Once you get inside the front panel you'll see the way to loosen the viewing lens to reset focus after you install a new screen. New mirrors are available. The wind/counter mechanism is pretty simple as long as no parts are broken- simple cleaning. Compared to a 35mm SLR, you'll be stunned at how much empty room is inside a Rollei, and at the huge size of many of the parts I'd suggest avoiding the focus system if it is working smoothly.

    If the shutter worries you, remove it and send it off to someone. Probably $75-100 for a real overhaul?

    Use alcohol to loosen the leather- held on with shellac. go slow to avoid tearing.

    The Bronica with a 75 or 50 was my everyday street camera for a year or so. If you get a simple prism you can turn it easily if that is an issue. I'm back to a Rolleicord as the everyday- that mirror slap and blackout just didn't work for me. But others use them all the time and do great stuff.

    Basic answer- keep the Rollei AND get something else!! Not like you can get any money for a problem Rolleicord.

  4. #4
    jp498's Avatar
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    If you think you need a meter and three different lenses, you are either thinking too much, or haven't learned to value the simplicity of the TLR. It's a good reason to have multiple systems like Dan says.

    If you're not sure you want it, you should buy one in near perfect condition, use it a bit, and sell it in near perfect condition. No money lost.

    I don't mind putting $200 into something I'm going to keep forever. But if it's not exactly what you want, I can't say spending the money would be worthwhile. Sorta like fixing a car of no value; are you going to keep it for many more years or are you going to dump it as soon as it fails inspection again?

  5. #5

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    The estimate for the repair does put it into a some Rolleiflex model and T territory but, unless they have been gone through, you are still facing the cla to assure the shutter and advance, etc. are working and are reliable. I've not used a 'Cord but do have a T. I am not sure the lens quality of the 'Cord is lesser than a T or 'Flex so fixing the 'Cord is not an unreasonable or uneconomic venture.

    I use an ETRS system as my daily MF and 35mm slr system (I have the 35mm back). I love the system, I can not think of any other as versitile and reliable with 1st rate lenses. I've not used the SQ series but it is a bit big for me as a daily carrier in terms of size and weight. I also have a Rolleiflex T in excellent condition but the shutter needs a CLA. I loved using it when it was working and found each had its place in my shooting habits with neither really able to carry both venues. Now that I am older and weight is more a concern, the T will be serviced and much of what I do with the ETRS will curtailed as my traveling is more restricted and weight has become a major issue. The T will become my daily camera supplemented with my 35mm Leica.

    While I hate the thought of selling either, I can see selling off the Bronica long before the T. It is just too good a camera to let go of and a near perfect camera for general photography, especially for us oldies.

  6. #6
    John Austin's Avatar
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    Show more respect for the elderly and love your Rollei!!!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    The reality is if you get great results with your Rolleicord and it's Xenar and you know it'll be repaired/serviced properly then maybe it's worth while...
    x2

  8. #8
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    I say fix it up, if it's a reliable technician. Do not compare that cost to what you can get a "decent" camera on the market because contrary to most optimists I'd say 95% of Rolleiflexes and 'cords out there need full CLAs, advance overhauls and many, many have front standards out of alignment. It's what causes all the misplaced and errouneous arguments over which lenses in the flexs and cords are better. More accurate to compare your current situation to getting a flex or cord for $150-500 and then spending another $300-400 in getting it properly into perfect spec. Then it does not look so expensive to get your existing one done. That or do get another and stop down 3 stops for all your shots....
    -----------------------

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  9. #9
    fotch's Avatar
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    Rollicord, if working properly, is worth it. As others have said, most other cameras you will compare it to, are in unkown, as is condition. The devil you know is better than the one you don't know. Just an old saying, not trying to disrespect the Rollie. Good Luck
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  10. #10

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    Fix it up. There's no guarantee that the other camera you buy won't need service again soon, and at best lens will equal the Xenar. The 'cord is nothing to be ashamed of, it's more camera than anything except a Rolleiflex.

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