Rolleiflex sharpness blues
I'm sad today.
I picked up a Rolleiflex 3.5F from a fellow a couple months ago. I previously had a Rolleicord with Tessar I bought for $125 from a local shop and absolutely fell in love with it, but sadly it perished in a car accident. I decided to step up to a real Rolleiflex with a Xenotar for a significantly larger sum than my first Rollei. Condition is pretty great and the lenses look wonderful. It's been shooting like a dream.
I shot about 10 rolls through it, but haven't had time to develop until just last night. I expected solid results, but the negatives lack crispness, enough so that I noticed it with the naked eye. I had one odd roll from my old Bronica GS-1, which is a good performer, but the optics aren't as legendary as the Rollei. Those negs were noticeably sharper than any of the 10 Rollei rolls. The Rolleicord outpaced it, too, with a vengence.
For background, this includes photos taken at various apertures and focus distances, including a lot at infinity. Shutter speeds were usually 1/250 - 1/60, so nothing crazy.
So.. what gives? I don't change equipment very often and I made a leap for this camera, but now I'm disappointed. I'm not thrilled to send it off for service after buying it as a fully functional camera (with a fully functional pricetag). Too much time has passed to ask the seller about it, especially since I still trust it was sold to me in good faith.
Maybe I'm just looking for a shoulder to cry on Suggestions or consolation welcome!
Are the negs unsharp over the entire neg? (partial might mean the front is out of alignment -- see if at infinity, the sliding front part with the lenses is parallel with the body of the camera.
Check the pressure plate -- make sure it is on 6x6 and not for 35mm film (you should see "6x6" if it is in the proper place). The film plane is set back a little for when the camera is set up for 35mm film due to it not having the paper backing.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
check the viewing screen, maybe it is built in upside down. Check the infinity focus with a plain glas on the film rails marked with Edding Pen stripes on the side towards the film, shutter on B, and a very strong magnifying glas.
I got excited that the pressure plate might be the easy fix, but it's set on 6x6. When out at infinity, it appears to be parallel. The distance from the body on the taking and viewing lens is the same.
I thought maybe the viewing screen could be installed incorrectly, but at infinity then sharpness shouldn't be a problem. Maybe I should have gone with the 'Blad!
Best post so far. You have a an easily correctable problem. Alternat ideas on the glass idea is using Scotch Transparent Tape, or whatever the frosted tape is called, on a piece of small cheap picture-frame glass rubber banded to the film rails. as your groundglass, or use the groundglass itself from the finder, rubber banned against the film rails at infinity, then re-install the groundglass dull side down and check infitnity there too, That will tell you if you need to pop the front bezel off the camera and re-adjust the taking lens.
Originally Posted by jochen
Last edited by Tom1956; 07-22-2013 at 01:28 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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As an owner of a few Xenotar and Planar Rolleiflexes who is consistently blown away by their sharpness let me tell you your camera is out of whack. Send it for adjustment to a good tech.
I'd get it checked, Rollei's quality control was good so it sounds like somethings not right. I use two Rolleiflex TLRs and the results are excellent.
A good rule of thumb, would be to always run one film trough a new camera, fired at various distances and apertures (and shutter-speeds), to check the over-all performance and sharpness.
Most likely, your viewing-lens needs some adjustment, or that or your ground-glass may be upside down or mis-aligned. (I had that on my 2.8F, which has a removable ground-glass).
You don't say where you live on your profile, but you can find very reputable service-people for Rolleiflex, all over the world, for example on this page:
You can also google specific people, when you've decided who you'd like to use, as most people on that list, has reviews and experiences scatted around the Internet.
Too bad your Rolleiflex is not 100%, it should be very nice and sharp and contrasty. My very old Rolleiflex Automat 3.5, is very different and much sharper than my Yashicaflex, I can tell you.
The first half of this blog-entry, has some shots with my old Rolleiflex Automat 3.5, absolutely love it (and use it more than my 2.8F, as it is so much cheaper, uglier and less likely to be stolen out of my hands in various European cities) http://helino-photo.blogspot.no/2013...ederation.html
Last edited by Helinophoto; 07-22-2013 at 08:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I agree. Others have recommended http://www.rolleirepairs.com/index.htm and that's where I will go when I need service. I meticulously tested my Rolleiflex 2.8E (Zeiss) against my Hasselblad 80 2.8 Zeiss (nearly the same lens) and it was difficult to tell that the Hasselblad version was only slightly better. I would bet that comparing the Rolleiflex 2.8 to the 3.5 it would be hard to see much difference in sharpness either.
Originally Posted by rich815