Yashica 124, Minolta Autocord, Rolleicord V - tell me about them...
in contrast to many other people who are comming the MF from 35mm world I am taking the other way round. Just a year ago I entered the LF world with 4x5 Tachihara (what a joy!) and now I would like to try out the middle way.
As most of mine investment still goes into LF (tripod head, lenses, holders, ...) I do not have too much left for this adventure. Let's say - the very top would be $200.
So - originally (before the LF) I was lusting after Mamiya 6 (I like ti square!) but found it too expensive (at that point I was not fully aware of the expenses in LF .
So I consider something cheaper, but still capable of good results. Indeed the cameras I have mentioned are supposed to be all good although they may not play the same league. 124(G) is supposed the be the cheapest, Rolleicord simply good and Autocord (my preference) hard to find. Working lightmeter would be a nice plus but not a necessity
So - finaly my questions: - if you would compare these three in the sense of the features that makes the life esay or difficult ( focusing screen , focusing, setting the aperture and shutter speed, changing the film etc) and also in the way the image is rendered.
I guess all of them are pretty good once stopped to f/11 but what about f4? Vigneting? Softness? What about the "bookeh" ?
Last but not least - planned usage: To be able to take it everywhere, so landscapes, cityscapes, occasional portraits.
I am located in Germany close to Frankfurt, but I am not really aware of any good camera workshop or a place where one could find such a camera. eBay is allways there, but well, you know.
Your opinions and suggestions will be highly appreciated.
There are a number of people on APUG who love both Yashica and Minolta - but I never did! All the cameras you mention have Tessar-type lenses with typical Tessar performance - good micro-contrast, good center definition at full aperture, edges coming in about 3 stops down, corners probably never quite equalling the center even at f22. I found both Yashica and Minolta had fragile shutters and were generally not nearly as robust as a Rollei. The post-war Rolleicords were the result of typical German product management of the time - build a great product at high investment cost, find your selling price is too high, invest yet more money to make the product cheaper. In the case of the Rolleicord, the cost-cutting fell on the film winding (not linked to shutter wind) and the shutter release, which on certain models was a rather horrible "push one way to wind, the other way to fire" affair. Otherwise, I think Rolleicord and Rolleiflex build quality was identical. I never made friends with the built-in meter on a Rollei - you need to angle the camera down and then read the meter at an angle of 90° to the scale, which is hard unless you have a neck like a giraffe!
The difference between the Rolleicord and the Rolleiflex was not in quality of construction but was in number of features.
The Rolleiflex wind on lever which also cocks the shutter was a feature intended for faster, more convenient handling than the Rolliecord's separate wind on knob and shutter cocking lever. However, it is also something else to go wrong.
Although David does not like the combined shutter cocking/tripping lever, I don't have a problem with it using it hand held and if you use a cable release with it on a tripod, it is irrelevant.
The only other major difference is that the Rolleiflex has rotary controls for shutter speed and aperture whereas the Rolleicord has levers.
A later Rolleicord with a Schneider lens will produce results which all but the most critical eye would see as identical to the Rolleiflex.
If you were to get a Rolleicord, I don't think you will be disappointed. Mine is my most used camera.
Although I have been a Yashica user, 124 and D for 30 years the Rollie is better built, but Yashicas are excellent value for the money. The other option is a Mamyia 220 , or ever a C 2 or C33 so you have the option of interchangable lens.
I have a Rolleicord V and a Rolleiflex GX: there is a difference of over 1000USD between them, but the one that comes travelling with me is the Rolleicord. It is lighter, smaller and when I look at the negatives taken with it I never feel short -changed. I rarely enlarge MF beyond 10", though.
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I have an Autocord and have had a late-model Yashica (124, I think). The Autocord is by far the sharper one, even though it may have a decentering problem. It's too bad the screen is so dim! Considering the age, however, it's a great camera.
another vote for the Autocord, especially as it has the ability to take multiple exposures. In terms of image quality, my Rolleiflex T stands head and shoulders above the autocord and Yashica.
The Yashica 124 series seems to have cult status while the earlier D, 635, Yashicamat, and several other models are often overlooked. Their optical performance should equal the 124 series, but they lack some operating conveniences. The Yashinon, not the three element Yashikor, lenses I've used have been good. Yashica reliability isn't as good as I'd expect from a Rollie or perhaps Mamiya.
I have both a Rolleicord Va and a Yashica 124G. The Yashica's main appeal was that it takes 220 film. I say 'was' because a few weeks ago the winding mechanism gave out so it's currently sitting on a shelf. The Va is a great, take anywhere camera, because it is quite light. I wouldn't recommend shooting much wider than 5.6. And be sure to get a lens shade as it flares easily. But you won't be disappointed in the pictures it makes. Good luck.
Thank you for all your aswers and opinions.
When I started to think about a TLR the Yashica was the first on the list. But it seems that nice once sell for around 150 euro I started to look also at Autocord and Rolleicord. I did give the Mamiya C a thought and indeed they have a lot to offer but seem to be more bulky and also much heavier.
Concerning the three candidates mentioned - I would ilke to ask about the focusing screens. What I have heard up to now could be complilled into following:
- 124G rather dim
- Autocord - presumably brught, maby not the early models
- Rolleicord - presumbly darker than Autocord.
What is your experience?
Also - not m=being a main concern - how does shooting wide open looks with these cameras? Is it possible to get still some reasonable resolution in focus even at small apertures (up to f4). I mean - at the end to get a strong contrast between in and out of focus areas. Although out of the price range - would a 2.8F rolleiflex fare better in this sense?