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  1. #1
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Rolleicord lens vs Rolleiflex 3.5

    I have a fine Rolleicord V that I love dearly. It is light, can be handheld easily and is just a nice camera. I am wondering whether I'd see a significant difference in the image if I went with a Rolleiflex 3.5D, E or F

    Thanks -- Mark

  2. #2

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    I have one too, and I love it for the same reasons. I have to admit thought that the lens performance is terrible an aperature greater than f16. The corners go to mush, especially if I am shooting B&W.

    I do realize these lenses were hand assembled and there are probably variations between them.

    I wish they had made a rolleicord available with a 3.5 plasmat. I find that the rolleiflex, or any of the clones (yashica 124) are much heavier and bulkier.
    art is about managing compromise

  3. #3
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    I have both a Rolleicord and a 2.8 Rolleiflex. I've owned a 3.5 Rolleiflex in the past and traded it in for the extra stop of speed.

    My experience is that the Rolleiflex Planar is noticeably sharper than lens on the Rolleicord. Others here tell me that my 'cord must not be aligned or adjusted properly, because it should be very sharp. YMMV.

    Legend has it that the Xenotars on Rolleiflexes are even sharper and contrastier than the Planars. I love my Rolleiflex with 2.8 Planar, and although I own a Hasselblad system (which also has a Planar 80), I would never part with it. I've taken some of favorite images with it.

    Neal

  4. #4
    Sportera's Avatar
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    I had a Rolleicord V, lost it in the flood.

    I replaced it with a Rolleiflex MX something or other. The photos from both are very nice, however the Rolleiflex handles much nicer with its hand crank film advance, and loads easier. The Flex is heavier and more robusty built.

    Either cameras are capable of top notch images.

    The screens are a bit dark on each and it might be worth the money to upgrade the screen for better low light focusing.

  5. #5
    jss
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    i have a rolleicord with the 3,5/70 xenar, i've gotten many sharp images from it at various apertures. soon after i bought the camera, i handed it to International Camera Technicians in mountain view, california where i lived (literally, down the street). it was cleaned, aligned, and some minor parts were replaced. my only complaint now is the dark focusing screen.

  6. #6
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Nuts. The Xenar (Tessar) on that Cord will lose some discernible sharpness at the far corners when shot wide-open, on a tripod, perfectly-focused. But 99 percent of photographers will lose more in focus error than they will from the lens. The Planar/Xenotar's chief advantage is that it likes to be shot wide-open without loss of acuity in the extremities. the Xenar might be sharper overall, and is at least as contrasty. Sam's hit the relevant differences on the head -- the Flex has a better wind and shutter mechanism, but weighs a few ounces more. But the lens and build quality of the Cord is every bit the match for the Flex.

    Sanders McNew

  7. #7

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    The Rolleicord always carried either a Triotar or a Xenar (which is roughly the same as the Tessar).

    The Rolleiflex D, E and F models had either a Planar or a Xenotar (a Planar formula).

    I think you would notice the differences when shooting wide open. The Xenar and Tessar tend to give round backgrounds at medium distances, which tends to be for most portraits.

    The Planar and Xenotar will give you smoother backgrounds when shot wide open.

    By the time you close the lens down to f/8 or smaller, I think that the differences between the Tessar/Xenar and Planar/Xenotar begin to narrow.

    I heartily encourage you to buy both and have a lot of fun!

    The Carl Zeiss Jena Triotar on the Rolleicord is a triplet. I've always felt that the Triotar is one of the better triplets.
    Last edited by elekm; 01-17-2007 at 07:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8

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    I have to say that my 3.5F Xenotar has been a disappointment -- decidedly not sharp at wide apertures. It's been overhauled and I just had the guy check it again; he says nothing is out of specification. I'm not going to get rid of it but it sure is a puzzlement.

    Meanwhile, the Tessar on my MX-EVS and Tessar-design Rokkor on my Autocord are very strong performers. I've yet to find a bad TLR lens with a Tessar design that's a dog -- the Yashinon in particular is also excellent. (The Yashicas are more likely to fall short in mechanical operations like film advance.) The Tessar designs' performance doesn't surprise me, but the Xenotar's underperformance does.

  9. #9
    jss
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    i'm wanting to switch to the 'flex because i find the wind crank so cool.

  10. #10

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    I have a 3.5F with a Planar and it is a great camera, sharp at all apertures with a beautiful quality to the photos. Sharp and not overly contrasty, with a nice 3 dimensional roundness. It's probably my favorite camera.

    Nick, are you sure your repair man is up to speed on Rolleis? I find it puzzling for a Xenotar to be soft at any f-stop.

    Richard Wasserman

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