Fix or no? - Rolleiflex
I come to APUG for opinions as I am undecided here:
I purchased a Rolleiflex 3.5E Planar in April, have enjoyed it immensely, it was in user condition working perfectly (needing a hood) and everything has been dandy. In honesty it could have used a CLA, the viewing lens was quite dirty and the taking lens has some dirt in the elements (not effecting the image)
Until the night of the 4th of July when upon arriving home my Rollei slipped out of my Lowe Pro hitting the ground from about 1 ft high. A slight ding on the edge below the taking lens, but no major damage until I tried to focus it. It won't focus past a couple ft, it hangs up with one side visible sticking while the other starts to pull back towards the body. Also the shutter dial is now sticky.
I have a ton of medium format film, I really enjoy medium format however do not have a ton of money to spend on it. I haven't yet received quotes from the various repairmen so thankfully suggested on apug, however most local guys I have talk to estimate I will be paying about the same as I paid for the camera to begin with (the average for a user grade 3.5E).
So my question, should I bother repairing this? Should sell it as is and perhaps go another direction with medium format? Will sending it for repair make this camera worth the additional 180-300 dollars more I would spend on it (depending o the quote)?
I have used this primarily as a complimentary camera (2nd camera) for shoots, weddings, and of course family ... mostly on the portrait end
Things I like, compact, relatively quiet, simple, and excellent lens (lower contrast but very sharp). TLR was a bit to get used to but one thing I did take from the experience was I find the square format very natural for composition.
Thank You in advance for suggestions and comments.
I guess you have three options:
1) Repair it
2) Give it up
3) Buy a new one
If the price for repair is the same as another one and assuming that you buy it at that price, you might as well get yourself a second and keep the first one. Someday you might fix it and have two of them (really useful for your type of photography) or keep it for spares.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
One thing is that if you buy another user camera the chance is that it needs a CLA also. it sounds to me like a CLA might fix the problem with your 3.5E and then you would have a camera that you know is sharp and is in good condition for only the price of a CLA vs the price of a different camera plus a CLA. If you come to the conclusion that you are going to sell the 3.5E for parts you might try to find a repair manual in ebay or on line somewhere and see if you can take the front off and realign the shutter controls and focus rail.
On the horns of a dilemma.
dpurdy said it well. I will add [being an owner of 3 vintage Rollei TLRs, all CLA'd, with Maxwell screens by Harry Fleenor] that the Rollei TLR is an expensive camera. The fact that they are available for low cost right now makes ownership confusing. In the fifties, a new Rolleiflex cost at least several months of US average industrial wages. Maybe even 6 months' worth of wages.
Originally Posted by dpurdy
If someone gave a non-wealthy person a Lamborghini [for example], the first time it required an oil change and filter [or fixing a flat tire], would mean ownership is practically over.
If you think of a Rolleiflex as a $2000+ camera, the CLA cost begins to seem less ridiculous.
Good luck. I'm not trying to advise you what to do, just offer my views.
If it was my Rollei, I'd take it to Harry Fleenor for a CLA and whatever else it needs.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
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I second dpurdys opinion, having CLA'd a few of my cameras - it is really worth it, if you intend to use them and depend on them.
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu
A good repair shop should be able to advise whether it's worth having the camera repaired.
One problem with TLR's like Rollei's, Yashica's, Minolta's etc is if dropped the focus mechanism can become damaged & twisted. This can usually be repaired but is quite a time consuming and expensive job. My Yashicamat has just come back from having the shutter CLA'd the repairers telephoned to say there was some minor damage to the focus mechanism, there is a small ding on a rear corner of the camera, he indicated it probably wasn't economic to repair and as the camera functions OK I just had the shutter serviced.
If it were my rollei, I'd take it to Pro Camera Service in Thousand Oaks CA for a CLA and whatever else it needs.
Originally Posted by Tom Hoskinson
(Harry is a great guy with a great reputation but I got the same quality service a lot quicker by going elsewhere.)
"Will sending it for repair make this camera worth the additional 180-300 dollars more I would spend on it (depending o the quote)? "
Probably not, but spending the money will leave you with a really nice, fully operational camera!
Last edited by BrianShaw; 07-09-2008 at 09:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Added response to other question.
It's a 3.5 so not the most desired Rolleiflex to be made.
Not sure what is jamming the shutter, but I bet the flat metal "rail" is bent which is why the focus does not function. I have a 'cord like that, it's in pieces right now but I don't think I will ever get the focus rails aligned properly so that the taking lens sits parallel with the film plane. Might be better to put the $300 towards a nice already CLA'd Rolleicord V (or Va or Vb) and have a nice clean functional camera. $300 should get you a decent one of these.
Before sending it for repair, I would probably tear into it. That said this repair is going to take all or nothing resolve since it will require removing the front, and removing the sides. That means all the leather will need to come off, all the knobs, etc. It could be a very big project if you aren't into repairing things like this.
Yes Brian, I agree, Pro Camera Service in Thousand Oaks CA is an excellent Rollei CLA and repair resource.
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
He's retired now and has moved to Washington State, but my favorite Rollei guy is Karl Ehlers (one of the original founders of Pro Camera Service in Thousand Oaks CA).
Everything is analog - even digital :D