Rollei FX problems.
Trouble in paradise.
I got a mint condition Rollei FX today from a camera store in NY. It is a real beauty and seems very solid and well made. But in putting a couple of test rolls through it I had problems.
#1 the tension put on the new roll of film is unbelievable. You put a fresh roll in and start to unwind some leader and it is really stiff. It is hard to imagine that it is supposed to be that tight. It looks right. It has the little bandaid on the spring steel tensioner. It seems straight. When you get it on the take up spool and it works ok though not as easy as my 2.8F of course. The resulting spacing is perfect on the processed roll. But the stiffness is hard to believe. It is like it is stuck and you really have to pull hard to get some leader off to put in the take up spool. IN reading the manual they say you have to use your thumb as a break to get the film to wind tightly. That certainly isn't the case in this camera.
the focus is off. I used a heavy gitzo tripod and cable release and shot focus tests at near, middle and distant objects. For every test I first shot 2.8, then 5.6, then 11 then 16.5. When I processed the film the focus was off on everything including the f16.5 shots even at near infinite. So I did the test again and tried to be even more careful in my focusing. I shot three distances again and at the 4 fstops again and again nothing was in focus on the film.
I taped an old Rollei focusing screen on the film gate behind the lens and locked the shutter open at B so I could focus the actual projection of the taking lens. Going back and forth it seemed to be very nearly in exact match with the viewing lens. Maybe off a tiny bit but hard to tell. Certainly stopping down to 5.6 would fix it.
I am at a loss. The camera seems in really nice condition and I hate to just give it back. But I have no idea where to send it if I want it fixed, as Harry Fleenor doesn't work on the new models.
Any one have similar problems or have any suggestion or know where to send the newer rolleis for service?
Thanks, Dennis Purdy
this was the item number when it was listed in ebay:
I have extensive experience of older Rolleis but not new ones. However, pure logic would suggest that if you have focused in the viewfinder and then checked this focus with a ground glass on the film gate, but are still getting out of focus pix, the film is not in the same place as the screen you used for checking. If you take a shot at infinity with a small stop, is anything in focus, even at a distance other than infinity? The usual reason for focus problems with Rolleis is that they have been dropped with the focus extended, causing bending and distortion of the front panel carrying the two lenses.
On a practical level, if the film wind is consistently very tight, you must surely have grounds for a warranty claim?
Sorry to hear about your problems. I think that the first thing to do is to call Eli Kurland about the focus issue. For the price you paid you should have a perfectly functioning camera.
Is there a discrepancy between the marked distance and the point of focus on the viewing screen? As David mentions, is the image of a distant object in focus on both the screen and the film when the lens is set to infinity?
The new Rolleis do have a firm hold on the roll, though the wind-on by the lever should not feel at all stiff. How worn does the 'band-aid' look? I've had a GX for over ten years and an FW (from Eli Kurland, as it happens) for over three years and they have been trouble-free.
I have been shooting film sized pieces of b&w paper and it seems that the focus is better than on rolls of film. A little hard to tell because the surface of the paper cuts the sharpness. If I bring the lens all the way in it seems to be just a hair to close for infinite focus on the viewing screen. I was unable to get anything in focus at any setting. At f16 at infinite it is nearly sharp but not like a good lens should be. Closer to a holga than my 2.8 Xenotar.
The bandaid does have a worn spot on it where you put the edge of the film reel when trying to put a new roll in the camera. Which is another thing that is harder to do than I would like. You angle the roll of film down in on the bandaid and that spot right there is worn.
The only thing I keep coming back to is that the film is not being pushed up to the film gate as it should be. The pressure plate is different than the older ones and it looks to have a bit of a curve built into it. Almost flat but not quite. a little concave in the center.
I do hope the Kurland camera shop is easy to deal with as I think this camera is probably going back. I can't see what else to do.
I'm sorry to hear about your problem Dennis. I've had exactly the same focus problem with my 2.8GX which I bought about 3 years ago. I sent it back to FFordes (this is a shop in the UK), where I had bought it. They then sent it to Germany for repair and it came back with perfect focus.
The winding mechanism of mine is also rather stiff. So is the shutter
I mean, the technical quality of the pictures is immaculate, but the handling leaves a lot to be desired.
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I am in touch with Kurland and they are being great. Calling UPS for the pick up and seemingly very interested in getting it either fixed or me another FX.
thanks for the responses