which rolleiflex twin lens reflex
I am thinking of buying a twin lens rolleiflex, I am unsure which one to go for.
How much are you willing to spend?
Do you want a new one or a used one?
How old do care about it being?
Do you care if the lens is Carl Zeiss or Schneider?
Do you care for 2.8 or 3.5?
Do you need a built-in light meter?
Do you care for TTL?
Do you care if you need to replace the dim finder with a brighter one?
Do you need a self timer?
Is there a chance you will change the Waist Lever Finder for a Prism?
My thread on getting one has lots of information:
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
or would you buy the cheaper option of all the above, a Rolleicord
Ari's first question is the most important, what's your budget.
Hi not so long back I was in the same position, it depends on how much you want to spend but here's what I looked at:
New Rollei GX is about £2,500 at Robert White.
A good secondhand F either Xenotar or Planar will be around £500 for a good model recently serviced (FFordes have a couple)
Or look for a good user model for about £200 and have it serviced about £80-120 for a good service.
What did I do?
I bought a Rolleiflex T which has a Tessar F3,5 for £100 on ebay then sent it to Brian Mickleboro for a service.
I write about it in my blog:
Some consider the T inferior to the F models, but I like the Tessar and if you stop down to F8-11 you can tell the difference IMHO.
Just some food for thought.
Buy for condition, not for model.
The differences from model to
model, lens to lens, are not much
important for most people. Find
one that has been well-cared for
and reasonably priced. Then send
it to a known Rolleiflex repair shop
for a good cleaning and a new
viewscreen (Maxwell or Beattie).
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Don't forget there are also some excellent alternatives like Yashicamat's and Minolta Autocord's available second-hand, and just slightly larger but more versatile with their interchangeable lenses the Mamiya C3/33/330 and C2's. The Yashinons' and mamiya Sekor lenses are superb.
Originally Posted by Mark Antony
I assume you mean "you can't tell the difference".
I dunno, maybe it's just the local price trend, but I was able to get a Rolleiflex Automat for less than a Rolleicord
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
That's one of the biggest factors I've seen, when it comes to price. I've found 3.5s to be much cheaper than 2.8s. Again, might be a local thing.
Originally Posted by arigram
Those who know, shoot film
It's not the quality of the lenses when choosing an f2.8 over an f3.5 it's the ability to work in lower light levels, that makes an f2.8 lens far more desirable. Simple supply & demand pushes the prices up for the f2.8's.
Both my TLR's have f3.5 lenses, sure I'd prefer an f2.8 lens on my Rolleiflex but as I was given the camera about 20 years ago I'm not complaining.
Sometimes strange things happen with second-hand prices and camera models, I've not really noticed with Rollei's but I have spotted that the budget Pentax Spotmatic 1000's & 500's often fetch more than the full spec Spotmatic II and F.
I can understand your frustration. I went through the same process a while back. There have been so many Rolleiflex models, and it's really hard to find the "right" one. Eventually, I went for a Minolta Autocord, at a very low price and in good condition. I had it overhauled and had a Maxwell screen installed. I simply could not be happier. The focusing is very easy and very accurate. The controls are easy to operate. The lens is more than sharp enough for me. The camera is light and small. It even has a flash shoe on the side and a built-in meter. Finally, the cost of Autocord CLA and repair is much lower than that of a Rolleiflex.
I hope this post helps you instead of complicating things. If you really want a Rolleiflex, I second the opinion that you should go for one in as good a condition as you can afford, and factor in the cost of a CLA and a bright focusing screen. You may be able to do all of those for just under $1000, but be prepared to pay more .