Old Rolleiflex in Windhoek...
OK, so I've been offered a Rolleiflex TLR.
1951-1954 Rolleiflex Automat model K4A (s/n 1290xxx)
The Good News:
* Original box, for whatever that's worth;
* Original manual, in excellent condition;
* Original eveready case in excellent condition;
* Basically clean Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar f/3.5 (s/n 3488xxx);
* Mechanically basically sound;
The Bad News:
* Slow shutter speeds (1 sec, 1/2 sec) slowing down/sticking (sitting-on-shelf-itis) -- 1/5 sec and faster thus far unaffected;
* Shutter release not returning to 'at-rest' position quickly;
The seller wants silly money ("researched on e-bay"). What should I *really* be paying?
This is not for a collection, this (or any other Rolleiflex) is a camera I intend to use...
Well the camera really needs a CLA on the shutter really. You may find that with use the slow speeds start working OK, I've found that with a couple of Copal shutters.
You have to take into account the cost of getting it serviced as postage will be as much if not more than the service itself. It's difficult to put a value on a camera like this one as they tend to sell for wildly differing prices, particularly on Ebay. Anything from £100($200) to £250($500) but because of the shutteryou need to be thinking of a price towards the lower figure.
Oh, and one more thing: it seems to have an adjustable pressure plate; does this mean that the camera supports different film or shooting formats? If so, how?
I assumed that it would need a CLA one way or another; I'm just looking for a sensible amount to offer, rather than the frankly ludicrous number on the price tag... At least the seller admits that they proverbially "don't know much about cameras" -- should give me some leverage...
You can download the manula for the camera, as well as 2 versions of the Focal Press Rollei Guide from here. The Focal Guides are excellent.
Well it cost me £95($190) to have ny Rolleiflex serviced last month, that was purely because it hadn't been used since about 1964 or 65, so knock that kind of figure off the maximum price of £250 and somewhere between £100 - £150 seems fair.
There's one for sale now with a buy it now of £230 and that's just been serviced.
Last edited by Ian Grant; 07-27-2008 at 09:16 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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OK, thanks for that info; seems like offering N$1500 (~USD200) seems fair, in the light of the original documentation and such. The adjustable pressure plate seems to be for the Rolleikin 35mm film adaptor. I'll file that away...
This may be a little late, but I'd say an offer in the range of US $200 sounds about right. I wouldn't worry too much about the slow speeds; how often will you really need them? You can get the camera serviced at your leisure. With regard to the shutter release button, as long as it does come back out relatively quickly that isn't more than an annoyance. But you might be able to put a drop or two of lighter fluid (naphtha) in there and see if that makes it work properly. Be sure also to treat the camera case, especially the strap, with leather conditioner -- I find the Rollei straps become very brittle with age, so you need to keep a very close eye on it to be sure it doesn't just come apart some day (and the camera crashes to the ground -- a horrible feeling).
I have offered the seller the equivalent of just over US$200 (N$1500 to be precise); whether the seller sees the light and comes down from the original asking price of N$7800 (~US$1057) remains to be seen. I'm not planning to negotiate. If they'll take the offered money, I'll take the camera; if not, then not. The dealer, who is selling on commission, has expressed thanks that I researched the actual value of the camera, and indicated that she's feel uncomfortable to sell at the asked price, even to anyone else, so that's a kind of relief I guess.
As for the slow shutter speeds: I use them a lot! I do a lot of low-light handheld photography, and a decaying shutter is precisely why I'm looking at alternatives to my hitherto very lovely Yashicamat 124!
If right now 1/5 and faster are working fine, that wouldn't stop me. (Can you really handhold 1/2 second or 1 second?) I think if you use it regularly you can forestall the need for servicing the shutter for some time.
Yes, there is quite a price difference there, isn't there? Good luck!
Can't offer any help with tht camera but must say that Namibia is a beautiful country. I spent about 4 weeks there some years back and really enjoyed it. We rented a Landrover in Windhoek. I took it out to the sand for a test drive and about 15 secods off the road I was stuck. Someone very nicely towed me out and I learned quickly. Not too much sand driving where I live. I have several Namibia photos on my office walls.