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  1. #1

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    I, too, did it again

    So on a road trip, I found a beat to hell Rolleiflex TLR mouldering away on a tripod as a display piece in a photography shop. I took a closer look; looked like the same sort of vintage as the other one I found recently, except with a 2.8 Tessar.

    "Oooh," thinks I; "I reckon that after a CLA and some basic repairs, she'll come right." Made an offer of not-very-much, which was accepted, so now I own *two* Rolleiflexes, one of which looks like hell.

    When I got home, I discovered that this is a Rolleiflex 2.8A Type 2 from ~1951, of which apparently only around 2000 were made, and which were allegedly all exported to the US (the distance scale is in feet), and which seems to be the only one equipped with a Bay 2...

    Apparently some US-model cameras found their way to South Africa and Namibia. The one I found came with a set of Rolleinar 1 closeup lenses -- including the parallax correcting doodad -- and a lens shade. The lens looks clean, the mirror is scratched, the focussing screen is a little loose. The shutter fired a few times, but it is now unresponsive. Dried up, gummed-up lubricant, methinks.

    This camera has had a hard life, but the patina is awesome, and I'm gonna try to save her. Wish me luck!

  2. #2
    André E.C.'s Avatar
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    I hope you get what you're expecting from the device, but, as far as I'm concerned, Tessar's at 2.8, no thanks!

    For 2.8 exists the Planar, Tessar's at 2.8 in anything over 50mm, can't deliver satisfactory results, IMHO!



    Cheers




    André
    Last edited by André E.C.; 08-19-2008 at 09:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
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    2.8 Tessar

    Your 2.8 tessar may be a fine lens, see how you like it. Here is a little history on your camera. Personally, I think that if yours has a good lens it is both rare and desirable. If it is not one of the 'good' lenses, it still is usable as tastes change (ie popularity of old brass lenses, Bokeh, and Diana cameras etc.)

    From the internet:

    the history of the 2.8/8cm Carl Zeiss
    Jena Tessar as used on
    the Rolleiflex 2.8A and on the Prewar Ikoflex III is
    quite well known and
    there are no remaining unresolved questions.

    In 1936, Zeiss Ikon decided to trump Franke & Heidecke
    by producing a 6cm
    by 6cm TLR; this was in response to the "Baby Black"
    Rolleiflex, with its
    2.8/6cm CZJ Tessar using VP (127) film. Zeiss Ikon
    contacted its sister
    company, the Carl Zeiss lensworks, for an appropriate
    lens, and Wandersleb
    had his boys whump up the fine 2.8/8cm CZJ Tessar.
    The camera was
    introduced at the Leipzig-Meße in April, 1939, with
    deliveries from June of
    that year. Obviously, the production run was most
    brief, due to the War.
    However, a number of lenses had been produced by Carl
    Zeiss Jena, and these
    were stored during the War years.

    In 1947, when Franke & Heidecke decided to design and
    produce the
    Rolleiflex 2.8A, they contacted Carl Zeiss -- not yet
    differentiated into
    its East German and West German branches! -- and were
    advised that Carl
    Zeiss Jena could supply the remaining Tessars produced
    for the 853/16
    Ikoflex III and could, in addition, coat them.
    Unfortunately, either in
    the course of storage or in the course of the coating
    process, some of the
    lenses became mixed between production batch and
    production batch, with the
    result that a portion of the lenses supplied to Franke
    & Heidecke proved
    unacceptably soft in use. Recent research indicates
    that approximately 1/2
    of the first batch of Rolleiflex 2.8A's had CZJ Tessar
    T lenses and that
    around 1/3 of these had defective lenses. The
    remainder of the 2.8A
    production run had 2.8/8cm Tessar T lenses produced
    and supplied by the new
    West German Carl Zeiss lensworks at Oberkochen, then
    using the
    "Zeiss-Opton" trademark, the "Opton" being a
    contraction of "OPTische-werke
    OberkocheN". (Clever, these Germans!).

    Franke & Heidecke began to receive customer complaints
    about lens
    performance and quietly recalled those cameras
    equipped with the CZJ
    Tessars and replaced them with Zeiss-Opton Tessar T's.
    It is important to
    note that a number of the CZJ lenses were perfectly
    adequate performers and
    that the majority of the 2.8A cameras produced had the
    solid Zeiss-Opton
    Tessar. But the damage had been done, and Franke &
    Heidecke quickly killed
    production of the camera after the 1951 run -- the
    factory produced 7,870
    cameras in the first run between 12/49 and 2/51 and
    2,000 more in the
    second run between 4/51 and 8/51.

    Obviously, Franke & Heidecke was not too upset with
    Carl Zeiss Jena, as the
    replacement camera -- the excruciatingly rare 2.8B, of
    which only 1,250
    were made between 2/52 and 3/53 -- had a CZJ 2.8/8cm
    Biometar T. Recent
    revelations indicate that this Biometar was not
    identical to the Carl Zeiss
    (Oberkochen) 2.8/80 Planar introduced with the 2.8C in
    1954.

    The Franke & Heidecke company, with a reputation for
    quality, was
    embarrassed by this imbroglio, and the recall was
    conducted as quietly as
    was the recall conducted by Hasselblad in the 1980's
    of lenses with
    defective Prontor shutters. Claus Prochnow, the
    company historian, doesn't
    even mention the presence of the CZJ lens on the 2.8A.
    But such
    embarrassment and reticence really doesn't make this
    recall a mysterious
    matter -- none of us broadcast our mistakes.

    The collector's angle on this is that the choice items
    are the 2.8B or a
    2.8A with the original CZJ Tessar T. From the user's
    angle, a 2.8C to the
    current 2.8GX is the way to go.

    But there never was anything wrong with the basic
    2.8/8cm Tessar design nor
    is there any great mystery about the factory recall to
    replace the CZJ lens
    with the Zeiss-Opton ones.

    Marc..

  4. #4

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    I read about the CZJ recall, and mine is indeed Opton-equipped, seeing as it's from the second production run.

    As for how it performs, well, I'll have to wait and see until I get the shutter operational again... I still love the way it looks, all weatherbeaten and rough. This camera's been places.

  5. #5
    Mark Antony's Avatar
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    I managed to revive a Rolleiflex shutter once by putting it in the airing cupboard (warm place. for a couple of days.
    While not a fix, if it works will allow you to get a film through to evaluate lens/transport and CLA cost.
    I quite like the Tessar and have the 3,5 version on my T.
    No idea if the 2,8 version is a 'stretched' 3,5 design or a redesign but should have a unique signature, from memory the 2,8 Tessar that came on Praktica cameras were pretty good.
    Mark

  6. #6

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    I don't have an airing cupboard; would maybe putting it in the sun for a few hours do the trick? Maybe on a sunlit windowsill?

  7. #7
    Uncle Goose's Avatar
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    We demand a picture of it!!
    Sure, I could give you a boring explanation who I really am but I rather let the Origami do the talking.

  8. #8

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    I am not sure that I buy the idea that a 2.8 tessar is by nature a poor lens. I have a zeiss super ikonta folder with a 2.8 tessar that is very sharp and contrasty.

  9. #9

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    We demand a picture of it!!
    I have taken a picture of it. In fact I have taken four. They were taken, using my other Rolleiflex, on Rollei Retro 100 film (see thread elsewhere), which is currently weighted down under a book and two heavy batteries in order to mitigate the curl prior to scanning...

    For what it's worth, I love that film, especially in Rodinal, but the curl is terrible...

    Patience, Uncle Goose...

  10. #10
    André E.C.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weasel View Post
    I am not sure that I buy the idea that a 2.8 tessar is by nature a poor lens. I have a zeiss super ikonta folder with a 2.8 tessar that is very sharp and contrasty.

    No, I haven't said a Tessar is a poor optic, I said a Tessar at 2.8 isn't my cup of tea at focal lenghts over 50mm. I have 2 Tessar's and I like them alot, they are capable of razor sharp results stoped down a bit, but my ones are both 3.5, because they are all MF optics (one 105mm and one 75mm).

    When speeds and coverage greater than 3.5 and 60 degrees are needed, I think there are better options available, for example the Planar. Tessars at 2.8, are pushing the limits of the optical design itself, but of course, this is just a personnal opinion, nothing else.



    André

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