Thinking of Rolleiflex FX
Since some time I am thinking to get a Rolleiflex FX. I used to have a Rolleiflex T (which was great), but sold it later on. About a year ago I got myself a Minolta Autocord, but I have never really got to 'love' the camera which I am selling right now. I know I could get a T again, but the FX offers built-in metering which I would use more often than not. At the same time the rendering and contrast of the lens is very nice IMO and having a camera that is nearly new is attractive too.
At the same time I keep hearing that the GX and FX models are not as smooth and 'refined' as the 'classical' Rolleiflex models and are in fact simpler (no auto-film start) and probably based on either Rolleicord or Rolleiflex T models. One also hears about the shutter release being less smooth and giving more resistance - in particular with the GX model. But what about the FX?
What I would really appreciate is the experience from FX users and also any relevant information about this model.
P.S. As much as I would love to get a brand new FX-N (0.55m close focusing) - at 5000 € it is just out of my range by a wide margin
I had an FX that the previous owner had reworked to have the smoother shutter release. It was lovely to use. I sold it because it was too beautiful to use, and too expensive to keep on the shelf. The lenses are amazing.
I'd love to have a new Rollei FX or even the GX, but they will never be in my price range. The truth is I could buy one, but I refuse to spend money on something that is way, way over valued. I will never say they are not well built or optically first rate, but I will say they are overpriced. I'll stick with my two E series Rollei's that I got for a song years back. The new Rollei's are nice, but they aren't that much nicer than a good used Rollei. I'd be patient and watch for a good used "T", "E" or "F" and take the money I saved to get a CLA plus all the film I could buy. Oh, and I've used both Planar and Xenotar lenses over the years and I like the Xenotar the best so you might save a buck going that way also......Just my opinion of course and your opinion is the one that controls the thickness of your wallet. JohnW
This topic of FX/GX vs older models has come up several times. I always jump in with my opinion because I have both a 2.8F and 2.8FX. I got my FX new in 2008 and it is the older brown leather type with the chrome edge trim on the back door. I think the later models with the black leather and the black door edges are much better looking but beyond that they are unchanged until the recent FX-N version.
Re the shutter stiffness, yes it has a bit of a hitch in it from the function of turning on the meter. It isn't as buttery smooth as the older release. However personally I have gotten used to it and found the sweet spot in pushing it in where it is just about to release the shutter and from that spot it is very easy to do smoothly. It isn't that the FX shutter release is so bad or worse than other new cameras, it is just that the older shutter release was so buttery smooth.
I have just recently gotten my 2.8F (very late white face version) back from Harry Fleenor. He had rebuilt my shutter and film advance. Still the FX is much easier to advance the film and it is also much easier to turn the focus of the FX. Both those functions are almost unbelievably effortless.
As to the auto feeler. I much prefer not having the auto feeler. You line up the arrow with the red dot. It works great. That is why no other camera makers made an auto feeler. It is not worth the expense and needs to be kept in adjustment. Now with my auto feeler in the F I have run several rolls of film right through it without it feeling them. I have resorted to putting a piece of tape on it to narrow the gap. I totally trust the red dot and arrow system of the FX. I don't trust the auto feeler because it has failed me several times.
This lack of auto is why people say the FX is based on the T. The FX is a much more solid camera than a T or a Cord and some of the F parts are interchangeable with the FX. I can put the F hinge latch on the FX and put an F door on it and even put on the plate back.
With the FX they have replaced the previous chrome rollers inside the camera with black rollers. This significantly reduces the roller reflection issue a lot of people run into with a Rollei.
The meter in the FX is a center weighted sensor that reads a spot about the size of an American dime. It is much better than the older over the top meters.
The HFT coating on the FX Planar (now called S Apogon) significantly reduces the flare from the older single coated Planar. It gives you very well saturated colors. My 2.8F has the single coated Xenotar and the HFT coated Planar has less tendency to flare though I would say the lenses have equal sharpness. I have never been able to prove one sharper than the other.
The FX seems a very solid and trustworthy camera to me, though at first I was expecting it to feel cheap because that is what a lot of people said. I think though that the people who say it is not well made are generally people who have never owned one.
The negatives to me are..
The brown leather I have has gotten some wear marks on it. I have traveled some with it, to Mexico and doing landscape work in the US. I have put quite a bit of film through mine in 5 or 6 years. I don't think that brown cowhide holds up as well as the leatherette on the F. Also the chrome edges on the door have worn a little and lost a little sheen where I habitually hold it. I think the later versions with the black leather and the black edges is probably better.
The other thing I don't like about the FX is that the meter gives color light spots for the meter reading along the top edge of the viewing screen. I find it distracting. Also where the battery sits in the knob can cause a slight click when you roll the focus over the 1.5 meter spot. Most people don't notice the little click but it bothered me. I don't use the meter any way so I don't have a battery in the camera so it solves both the lighted diodes and the click problem for me.
That is about all my 2 cents worth.
there is a photo of my well loved Rolleis
Thank you Dennis for your reply. I actually need to apologise, because I have just realised, that I have started a THREAD on this very topic about 1.5 years ago where you shared some very interesting information.
But it is indeed reassuring that the camera is solid and works well. It would be interesting to hear a confirmation whether the updated model (with black edges on the door and different leather) is indeed more resistant to wear.
What has changed though is that I am selling quite some gear now and the FX is much more realistic than it was in the past. I have actually missed on one very nice one (display piece) which included 1 year warranty. If I came across such an offer again I will not pas on it
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that is the usual internet nonsense told by people who have never used a FX by themselves.
Originally Posted by Matus Kalisky
I've been in the factory two times and I've seen the production there in Brunswick.
The current models are generally as solid as the older ones.
And listen to Dennis, he is spot on with his comments above.
Go to Foto Haas in Hanover. AFAIK they still have a new FX (not the FX-N) for about 3500€.
Originally Posted by Matus Kalisky
Thanks. I have seen the FX model on sale new in a few (online) shops, but it was always the 'older' FX model. Living in Aalen I am rather far from Hanover. On the other hand I hope to get my hand on a mint FX around 2000 €, 3500 for new is a bit over the top for me. It is actually pity that the FX-N came with such a large price 'upgrade' (there is not anything really new or better) - the close focusing would be a very welcome feature.
very much desiring a new Rollei FX-n here
the 55cm much closer focusing ability is key for me at least over the previous model GX/FX (or for that matter any other Rollei TLR) we do alot of close distance photography & to not have to use rolinar or macro filters will be a phenominal improvement in resolution & d.o.f.
perhaps the price jump reflects how the new FX-n cameras are manufactured on a very small basis?
it would be very hard to afford for us too, but possible with sacrifices
Last edited by culturesponge; 06-22-2013 at 12:23 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Alex, I agree. The close focusing distance is very attractive with the FX-N. My understanding is that not much has change inside the camera. The price hike is probably dictated by the very low sales (the camera is produced on demand). The FX can be had for about 3500 € new, the FX-N at 5000 € is a tough call. Still less than M240 without a lens I think it will take a long time until first used FX-N pops on the market. It is going to be collectors camera from the start.
I do not yet have a 'business case' that would allow me to get the FX-N (and stay married ) and I have to be honest at that price I would almost certainly get an insurance for it if I were to carry it on regular basis (which is the intention)
Anyhow - since I have just pulled a trigger on an XPan (just could not resist) I really first need to get the Toyo VX125 off my hands before I can think of the FX.
For anyone deciding to invest in the FX-N... When it first came out it had no internal bayonet mount, so you wouldn't be able to put a filter on. I was just looking at a new one today in ebay that now has the internal bayonet. So it is something to watch out for, as there is another one in ebay without the internal bayonet. The filter size for the FX-N is now bay 4.