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  1. #1

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    Rollei TLR vs Hasselblad finder brightness

    I have shot with a Rollei TLR 2.8E Schneider since the mid-1980s. The camera had not been well cared for before I got it. It had some problems to start with and I have used it quite a bit over the years and now it is developing problems which repair has not fully addressed... it's still useable, but barely, so I'm thinking of replacing it. I am considering *not* getting another Rollei TLR of the same period because of the finder... it was always rather dim and thus slow to focus, so I assume that all the 2.8 Ds and Es are like that. I know that a few have had an accumatte or some other focusing screen put in, but as I understand it this is not a standard modification, must be done by a repair tech and is rather costly. Rollei does have later TLRs with built in meter, etc, and presumably a brighter screen but they are very high priced. (Good old ones aren't cheap either!)

    So I am considering a Hasselblad 500CM. Will an early 70s Hasselblad (500CM, waistlevel finder, *not* accumatte screen, chrome 80 f2.8 C T*) be noticeably brighter than the Rollei TLR? Will I be able to see the corners well? The local camera shop / rental does not have any used 500CM in stock for me to compare, and their rental pool has only a 503CW, which might help me understand the sound and feel of the 500CM, but not the brightness. Is there any *brightness* advantage by moving to a mid 1980s - early 1990s 500CM without accumatte, and with the black metal 80 f2.8 C T* also from the mid1980s? I assume that an accumatte in either an early or late body will make a big difference and that there will not be much brightness difference attributable to the bodies themselves... is this correct?

    As a side note, some of what I do with the Rollei is street photography, and for that I really like its quiet shutter, as well as the way people react to it. I'm hoping that with a chrome lens on the Hasselblad it will look old enough to seem non threatening... but I'm kind of worried about the noise. I know parts are no longer made for the C lenses. I also know that the Hasselblad is much more complex mechanically than the Rollei, but has a reputation for durability. And I have been told that below 125 hand-held shots are subject to mirror vibration. But in its current condition my Rollei is challenging to compose and focus due to dimness, and I have to have it focused at 3 feet when I wind it or else it won't cock the shutter, half the time it wants to double-expose frame #1, the focusing movement has roughness, depth of field indicators don't move, etc.

    I especially welcome the experienced advice of any of you who have used both cameras to comment on finder brightness and any other issues I may be overlooking, and I thank you all in advance for your polite help.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrexaDotCom View Post
    I have shot with a Rollei TLR 2.8E Schneider since the mid-1980s. The camera had not been well cared for before I got it. It had some problems to start with and I have used it quite a bit over the years and now it is developing problems which repair has not fully addressed... it's still useable, but barely, so I'm thinking of replacing it. I am considering *not* getting another Rollei TLR of the same period because of the finder... it was always rather dim and thus slow to focus, so I assume that all the 2.8 Ds and Es are like that. I know that a few have had an accumatte or some other focusing screen put in, but as I understand it this is not a standard modification, must be done by a repair tech and is rather costly. Rollei does have later TLRs with built in meter, etc, and presumably a brighter screen but they are very high priced. (Good old ones aren't cheap either!)

    So I am considering a Hasselblad 500CM. Will an early 70s Hasselblad (500CM, waistlevel finder, *not* accumatte screen, chrome 80 f2.8 C T*) be noticeably brighter than the Rollei TLR? Will I be able to see the corners well? The local camera shop / rental does not have any used 500CM in stock for me to compare, and their rental pool has only a 503CW, which might help me understand the sound and feel of the 500CM, but not the brightness. Is there any *brightness* advantage by moving to a mid 1980s - early 1990s 500CM without accumatte, and with the black metal 80 f2.8 C T* also from the mid1980s? I assume that an accumatte in either an early or late body will make a big difference and that there will not be much brightness difference attributable to the bodies themselves... is this correct?

    As a side note, some of what I do with the Rollei is street photography, and for that I really like its quiet shutter, as well as the way people react to it. I'm hoping that with a chrome lens on the Hasselblad it will look old enough to seem non threatening... but I'm kind of worried about the noise. I know parts are no longer made for the C lenses. I also know that the Hasselblad is much more complex mechanically than the Rollei, but has a reputation for durability. And I have been told that below 125 hand-held shots are subject to mirror vibration. But in its current condition my Rollei is challenging to compose and focus due to dimness, and I have to have it focused at 3 feet when I wind it or else it won't cock the shutter, half the time it wants to double-expose frame #1, the focusing movement has roughness, depth of field indicators don't move, etc.

    I especially welcome the experienced advice of any of you who have used both cameras to comment on finder brightness and any other issues I may be overlooking, and I thank you all in advance for your polite help.
    I've been using Rollei twins for years and it sounds like your camera needs a transport overhaul and a Maxwell bright screen installed by Harry Fleenor at Oceanside Camera. After installing these screens I've been very satisfied as how bright they are and easy to focus even in the corners.

    It might be easier and cheaper to find a Model F Rollei in good condition and have the screen installed. I've found that when buying Rolleis that have been cared for they give many years of reliable service and their ease of operation and incredible optics make photography a joy. See ya

  3. #3
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    If you say street photography, Rollei TLR is the answer certainly not a Blad. Nothing else beats it's compactness, silence and discretion. As for slow speed handheld , the Rollei is kind of a Leica.
    Changing the glass isn't that expensive and is definitely important.
    The 500CM is a completely different philosophy. Rent a 503 for few days, you will get the same feeling as a 500. Earth shakes when you shoot, focusing isn't really fast (heavy lens and sometime sticky helicoidal, some vigneting in the screen) and loading film takes longer than the Rollei.
    What made Hasselblad the standard for rental and use was more the composite system for studio than anything else.
    The Rollei is like an extension of the hand. You understood... I love them !

  4. #4
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    I second fotod69, Harry Fleenor is great.

  5. #5
    skahde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrexaDotCom View Post
    Will an early 70s Hasselblad (500CM, waistlevel finder, *not* accumatte screen, chrome 80 f2.8 C T*) be noticeably brighter than the Rollei TLR?
    No. Having used an F and older Hassis the old Hassi-screen is even dimmer than the one in a newer 2.8 Rolleiflex. There may be an improvement compared to your E but a marginal at best.

    As others have said: an overhaul and a new screen for your Flex seems to be the way to go in the situation you describe.

    best

    Stefan

  6. #6

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    I have also used both, and regardless of the clarity of the screen, for street photography the TLR is definitely preferable. I regard my Hasselblad as a tripod camera.

  7. #7
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    I also have both the Hassy and a Rollei 3.5F. The Rollei is much quieter and unobtrusive, and as micek says, the Hassy is really a tripod camera.
    I don't know about the earlier Rolleis but the F series are a doddle to swap screens, just move the two small levers to one side and drop in the new one.
    I fitted a Beattie intenscreen to mine, but also have the same screen in the 'Blad and they are more or less the same in brightness.

    Cheers, Tony

  8. #8

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    It may not only the screen bee a problem but the mirror too. Have a look into the finder lens. You will be able to judge its condition then. The older mirrors were silvered on surface and then covered with a varnish of schellack (it's german, I don't know the term in english). If this varnish is eroded by the the time (and it always is) the silver suffers from corrosion and is getting black.
    Both mirror and screen can be swapped by an repairsman for relatively little money considering the price of a new old camera which condition you can not judge either.

    Ulrich

  9. #9

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    ROLLEI TLR screens

    Quote Originally Posted by PrexaDotCom View Post
    I have shot with a Rollei TLR 2.8E Schneider since the mid-1980s. The camera had not been well cared for before I got it. It had some problems to start with and I have used it quite a bit over the years and now it is developing problems which repair has not fully addressed... it's still useable, but barely, so I'm thinking of replacing it. I am considering *not* getting another Rollei TLR of the same period because of the finder... it was always rather dim and thus slow to focus, so I assume that all the 2.8 Ds and Es are like that. I know that a few have had an accumatte or some other focusing screen put in, but as I understand it this is not a standard modification, must be done by a repair tech and is rather costly. Rollei does have later TLRs with built in meter, etc, and presumably a brighter screen but they are very high priced. (Good old ones aren't cheap either!)

    So I am considering a Hasselblad 500CM. Will an early 70s Hasselblad (500CM, waistlevel finder, *not* accumatte screen, chrome 80 f2.8 C T*) be noticeably brighter than the Rollei TLR? Will I be able to see the corners well? The local camera shop / rental does not have any used 500CM in stock for me to compare, and their rental pool has only a 503CW, which might help me understand the sound and feel of the 500CM, but not the brightness. Is there any *brightness* advantage by moving to a mid 1980s - early 1990s 500CM without accumatte, and with the black metal 80 f2.8 C T* also from the mid1980s? I assume that an accumatte in either an early or late body will make a big difference and that there will not be much brightness difference attributable to the bodies themselves... is this correct?

    As a side note, some of what I do with the Rollei is street photography, and for that I really like its quiet shutter, as well as the way people react to it. I'm hoping that with a chrome lens on the Hasselblad it will look old enough to seem non threatening... but I'm kind of worried about the noise. I know parts are no longer made for the C lenses. I also know that the Hasselblad is much more complex mechanically than the Rollei, but has a reputation for durability. And I have been told that below 125 hand-held shots are subject to mirror vibration. But in its current condition my Rollei is challenging to compose and focus due to dimness, and I have to have it focused at 3 feet when I wind it or else it won't cock the shutter, half the time it wants to double-expose frame #1, the focusing movement has roughness, depth of field indicators don't move, etc.

    I especially welcome the experienced advice of any of you who have used both cameras to comment on finder brightness and any other issues I may be overlooking, and I thank you all in advance for your polite help.
    Why don't you ask for an cost estimate for the replacement of a brighter screen for your TLR? Ask at info@wiese-fototechnik-de.

  10. #10
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    If you like using the Rollei TLR then I wouldn't let the cost of a bright screen change me to a different camera system. I use both a late Hasselblad and a 2.8F and found the hasselblad to be much brighter so I got a Maxwell screen and put it in and now it is every bit as bright as the hasselblad. I think you should go with the cost of Harry Fleenor and a maxwell installation. Actually I think you should get a Rollei 2.8F.

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