With patience, you can find a Rolleiflex for $ 300, perhaps a user 3.5E model.
See my Rollei price guide:
If you had $300 and NO MORE what Rollei would you be looking for? Looking for a recommendation here, as i know little about these cameras but their high reputation.
I agree with those who said that the biggest bang for the buck is a Rolleicord with a Xenar lens.
Also, as stated before, if Will sezs that 'Flex for 2 bills is good, be assured it is good. What they said about Will is true: and he makes beeuuutiful cherry lensboards, too!
Anscojohn, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Sounds like a good deal
Could you tell me more? What sort of cosmetic, mechanical condition is it in? Photos from/of it? Note, I'm replying in the forum and hope you'll reply here too, so that others may consider it too. Just let me have first dibs.
Originally Posted by wfwhitaker
The MF gear I've looked at on ebay seems to sell for more than it's worth. From what I've seen, KEH has better prices, and you don't have to bid, and don't have to wait for the auction to end, AND KEH has a good return/refund policy.
Do you check Craig's list regularly? You might get lucky and find someone unloading MF gear really cheap. About a year ago, I found a Pentax 6x7 outfit on CL with 2 lenses, a prism finder, and a Pentax digital spot meter for $275. On ebay, I would have had to spend nearly that much (if not more) just for the digital spot meter.
Others may disagree, but I think for the $300 range you can't really beat a Rolleiflex, for two main reasons: 1) good reliable strictly mechanical design, and 2) they are collectible and hence their prices seem to hold up much better than most used camera gear. You might even be able to sell at a profit. That said, what model? For $300 you can probably get a very nice user 2.8D. The MX-EVS is a fine choice too. Especially when the seller is known and trusted.The 2.8E has a built in selenium meter - hence still no batteries required. They usually sell for more though. Hand held meters are quite inexpensive, running in the $10-20 range or less, unless you want a Gossen. If you shop ebay, make them check the shutter speeds for function at 1 sec. After years of storage, the shutter oil tends to dry out, requiring CLA (though I have sometimes gotten them to limber up just by functioning the shutter a bunch of times). Sellers on ebay often don't have a clue as to even how to fire the shutter. You might have to walk them through it.
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It is possible to find a C, D, or E series Rolleiflex for $300 -- uncommon, but possible. With a $300 budget, I'd be looking for an MX-EVS. The MX-EVS is a fullblooded Rolleiflex, with a Tessar or Xenar taking lens. A Rolleicord, on the other hand, has the same lens, but it lacks the Rolleiflex's mechanical refinements.
-- Loading the Rolleicord requires a bit more attention.
-- The Rolleicord advances film by a knob, not the winder arm which is much faster.
-- The Rolleicord's shutter is not automatically cocked when advancing film. It must be manually recocked each time.
These are small but significant differences. A Rolleiflex works more quickly and smoothly than a Rolleicord. Both cameras share the same body and the same level of workmanship. But the Rolleiflex is a more pleasant camera to use, and an MX-EVS can be had for about the same price as a Rolleicord these days.
I guess that largely depends on your specific wants/needs. What type of shooting are you going to be doing with it? Do you think you would ever want to do any macro shots? Personally, with the prices of MF SLR equipment as low as they are, I don't understand why people are spending that kind of money on TLR's.
Originally Posted by Wolfeye
A few advantages of SLR:
Large number of lenses available, fast easy lens changing, over all higher quality lenses (IMO, base on my experience).
The ability to use macro tubes.
The ability to easily change film types mid roll (for MF cameras with removable backs).
Advantages specific to 645:
Smaller and lighter.
16 frames/roll instead of 12.
Another vote for the MX-EVS, when I went to the local Rollei "specialist" he immediately suggested one as a great way to get into TLRs. I ended up spending a bit more for a 3.5E-3 Planar, but I wished I had picked up the MX-EVS for my daughter.
They are a *joy* to use -- be sure to get a shade, though.
How about folding cameras, like the Ikontas?
Very recently I got myslef a Rolleiflex 3.5T (Xenar lens). It is a pure joy to use. I payed for mine 200 euro (in Germany) and the camera is not only in perfect techncal order but also looks beautifully. Up to now, my own experience is way too limited (1 developed Velvia), but people say that Xenar gets the edges sharp only after stopping dow to f/11 or so. So maybe if you plan to shoot wide open it may make sense to consider C, D, or E model with Planar/Xenotar lens. I found out I do tend to shoot at about f/5.6 so I will have to see wheter I will like the results or not. What I do like is the single lever for shutter-aperture setting. Not everybody likes this feature.
I was considering Yashica 124 (G) too, but nice ones are selling around 150 euro here what I found too much.
But let me add - if you manage to get a clean copy of Minolta Autocord (especially with the Citizen shutter - have a look HERE) go for it. I wanted to get one, but the Rolleiflex crossed my way and I could not say NO. You should be able to get a very nice one within your price limit.
Good luck and enjoy whatever you get.