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Thread: Getting into MF

  1. #1
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Getting into MF

    Me eyeing only on Rolleicords from III to V but I have no idea how they perform when stopped down. I may shoot mostly mounting on a tripod...

    Please share your experiences.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

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    jp498's Avatar
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    I have a Rolleicord va xenar, rolleiflex automat mx tessar, yashica c with triplet lens for medium format.


    The va cord is my least favorite. It's got a ugly bokeh with 5 blade aperture. If you want fully manual operation, it's EV features get in the way of setting aperture and shutter. If you want something like A/S priority, the EV features do that. It's lightweight like the yashica. I got a super deal on it, but otherwise I'm not impressed.

    The Yashica is light and awesome for closer shots (4-10 feet), but a tiny bit soft for use at infinity. A yashica D or newer yashica would likely have a 4-element lens which would be sharp under more conditions. Wide open close up, mine even gets a little swirly.

    The automat mx rolleiflex is my favorite. It is really nice to use, sharp under all conditions, distances, f stops. I paid $200 and something for it and it's worth every penny in terms of function and style and image quality.

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    MDR
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    I only own the Rolleicord III equipped with a triotar lens (triplet design) from f8 down there is no real difference to my Rolleiflex of the same Vintage meaning prewar uncoated. The V is post war and coated the xenar is a tessar clone and has more contrast than the pre war triotar. If your main objective is to photograph buildings I'd say get another camera than either the III or V. The corner sharpness of both the triotar and V is not the best in the camera world, on the other hand if you mainly want to do portraits photos with the occasional Building and landscape get the III. The Triotar lens is best used as a portrait lens but it has a certain magic with landscapes kinda like the leica glow. BTW the III has a build in eyeleverreflex finder.

    Dominik

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    Aron's Avatar
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    My Rolleicord IV is my current MF shooter and I can say mostly good things about it. Before I sold it I had a V too, both behaved rather similarly. Small, light, universal cameras that pack a lot of potential image quality. Using them is a pleasure.

    If I have to describe these boxes with one word it would be " well ballanced": wide open it's already more than usable, but still perfect for portraits, sharp enough without being offending; f/11 1/2 - f/16 represent the optimum apertures, by which it gets sharp enough for I think most purposes. At f/11 the image almost everywhere is sharp, but the very corners will improve a bit by stopping down further to f/16. This is pretty much predictable. Even the centre gets crisper by stopping down this much, not only the outer zones.

    I made sectional enlargements a couple of days ago from an FP4+ (developed in Rodinal 1+50) negative that I shot at f/8 and 1/60th handheld. Focus was at infinity (centre of frame). A 17x enlargement from that section was excellent, the corners were noticably softer, but not bad in any way. At this magnification microcontrast is lower, but all the detail I need is present.

    Had I the camera on a tripod, stopped down to f/11-f/16, using for example Delta 100, the results would have been even better. I most happily use it for critical photography this way.

    All in all, this camera/lens is good enough for most purposes, but if you're looking very close for some softness, you can find it.
    Last edited by Aron; 01-10-2013 at 07:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    I will be shooting mostly the portraits(nature and human). Also I am looking Rolleiflexes too...
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

  6. #6
    MDR
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    Quote Originally Posted by baachitraka View Post
    I will be shooting mostly the portraits(nature and human). Also I am looking Rolleiflexes too...
    As a side not the early Automats can sometimes be had dirt cheap at least in Austria and Germany. For your main subject the III is superb.

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    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I have a pair of 2.8E Rolleiflexes. Yes, they're heavier than a 3.5 or a Rolleicord. I love them though. The interlock between aperture and shutter can be turned on or off rather easily (although it takes a little practice at first). The lenses are of course the primary reason for getting these and even though they don't have the 10-blade aperture of the early (A,B, and C) models, the bokeh/OOFAs is still very nice.

  8. #8
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    There is a Rolleicord V for EUR 180 with three sheet film holder...I am tempted to pull the trigger.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

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    That sounds like a very good deal -- I have never used a Rolleicord with sheet film holders, however.

    You said that you would use the camera for portraits. If so, you should consider getting a Rolleinar 1, which enables you to focus as closely as .5 meters.

  10. #10

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    My first "real" camera was a Rolleicord III with a Xenar. It's an excellent camera: light, straightforward, and the lens is what you'd expect from a Tessar type. It doesn't have the clinical sharpness of a Planar, especially wide open, but it's probably a better portrait lens for exactly that reason. I'm not sure how many aperture blades there are, but I think it's more than 5---in any case I don't remember the bokeh ever being a problem (I'm not a complete bokeh obsessive or anything, though).

    The focussing screens on 'Cords tend to be dim and it's probably a good idea to plan for an upgrade. There are a lot of aftermarket screens for Rolleis out there.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

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