Rolleiflex Old Standard – Advice needed please.
Hi, everyone. This is my first post on APUG!. I mainly use 35mm and 35mm half frame cameras, and have decided I might try my hand with a medium format camera.
I have just bought a rolleiflex old standard dated 1932-38. It appears to be in pretty good condition apart from issues with the shutter speeds. I am not too sure if the speeds work, but the display is incorrect, or there is some other issue. The speed lever works and you can select a speed, but it does not seem the correct speed. I cannot select 500 speed either which suggests that the lever is not at the correct point with the gears (I hope this makes sense!)
Apart from this, the camera does seem to be in very good condition for its age. Most of the others I have seen look far more battered with hardly any paint!
I paid £70 for the camera, and I guess I could return it for a refund. My question is whether it would be worth getting fixed/cla’d or start looking for another one?
Thanks for any help anyone can offer.
Last edited by Carl170; 10-15-2013 at 09:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The old Rollei Standard is a good camera if it's working properly nevertheless despite beeing a Rolleiflex it is unfortunately not really superior to other MF TLRs with a Tessar lens. For a little more you can get amongst other things a Mamiya C2 (e.g. http://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Mamiy...-C2_80000.html), an Ikoflex, a Yashicamat or an Autocord or a british product MPP Microcord. Sooner or later all cameras will need a CLA/repair though. If you really want a Rolleiflex than, I advise you to get it repaired and use it for the next 100 years.
Is it worth the repair cost yes and no only you can decide wether you want to use a piece of photographic history that if working proberly can give you wonderful results or not.
You have to exert quite a bit of extra pressure to get it to 1/500, and of course make sure the shutter is cocked before changing any of the speeds. I owned one of these and the uncoated Tessar was sharp as a tack. A yellow filter will give you more contrast. My favorite feature, other than the tiny size, was that bubble level in the corner of the ground glass. Wish every TLR had one of those. Putting in a new mirror and a bright focus screen will make your life a lot easier, and make shooting the camera more fun. The lens shade can cost as much as the camera!, but I simply measured the lens surround and used push on series filters and a hood. Worked fine. A film like Tri-X or HP5 will help w/ the low contrast.
If you're not handy w/ old cameras I suggest you send it out for a CLA and get the things I suggested addressed. Won't be cheap though. Otherwise, clean the lenses w/ soft lens tissue and those little red bottles of cleaning fluid after a good brush off, and buy an inexpensive shutter tester to see how the speeds are really running. If they're sticking, try a good Ronsinol flush after taking the optics out first. Some people don't like this idea, but in 25 years of doing it it's always worked for me, If any of this scares you, send it out. You have a great piece of history there that is still capable of making excellent photos.
NO NO NO -- do NOT attempt to put it to 1/500 with the shutter cocked. The mechanism does not work that way. If it is set at 1/500, do NOT move it to a lower speed without first firing the shutter.
The top speed on early compurs like that one use an extra spring to get that top speed, which is why it is harder to get it to 500 when the shutter is not cocked, and impossible to if the shutter is cocked.
You CAN shift speeds in the lower range with the shutter either cocked or not cocked.
I have a standard and have gotten good images from it. The lens is an uncoated tessar, so watch out for flare but, otherwise, it's a fun and very compact camera to use.
Your camera is about 80 years old, a service would be highly recommended in any event. If it is in good cosmetic condition, the cost of a service will increase its value.
summicron1 beat me to it -- DO NOT try to set 1/500, or shift it from 1/500, with the shutter cocked. With regard to your comment about the speeds being off, that's probably an indication that the shutter needs servicing. Definitely get your camera overhauled, it's well worth it! Plenty of life in it yet.
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Get it fixed. It is a great camera. BTW welcome to APUG.
You have already spent about $125 USD and you have a classic vintage camera in need of servicing.
If your purpose is to experience the quality of medium format on a budget, there are better cameras out there for the same, or even less money. Some of these have already been mentioned: Mamiya C2 or C3, YashicaMats, Ricoh Diacords, etc.
However, if you want the "classic look and feel" of a pre-war Rolleiflex, then invest the money to repair what you have already bought.
That's my 2 pence, for whatever it's worth (about 3 cents here in the USA).
Good luck and welcome to APUG.
Hi Carl welcome to APUG.
A CLA/service is going to cost you around £60-£70 in the UK which as has been said may not be very economic. Having said that in good working condition the camera would be worth more than you paid for it.
I've bought slightly newer 1941 Rolleicord at a Flea market a few weeks ago, for a lot less as the leatherette is missing, but a fully functional shutter and a Triotar taking lens. You can check the lens serial number here which will give you a better idea of the cameras age.
Rolleiflex cameras are great to use and capable of high quality results so have fun.
I wouldn't blink twice at investing in a CLA if the camera appears that it will end up being in fully operable condition AND it is planned on being used. The notion of wanting to use a vintage camera but not being willing to invest in having it maintained is a false economy if one is interested in seriously using the gear.