V, I have shot many thousands of rolls through
various Rolleiflexes. Film flatness is not an issue.
I shoot close portraits with a Tele Rolleiflex (same
body as a normal Rolleiflex), wide-open at f/4 less
than two feet from the subject. If film flatness were
an issue, my portraits would not be possible.
As for models, the 3.5E was my first Rolleiflex and
it is still my first choice for shooting outdoors and
on the road. I don't have much posted here any
more but I shot this image from my APUG gallery
with the 3.5E (warning, nudity):
It's a great camera. But most Rolleiflexes are. Don't
get lost in the various models and lenses -- their
differences are subtle, and user error dwarfs them.
Hahaha I was all fired up to see the gallery of samples but I am a lowly freeloader so I can't see them. I'll have to take your word for it. I did find some good work (and some not so good work) on Flickr that gives me some idea of the possibilities.
Thanks everyone for your help so far!
(and I have to say, I'm impressed; this forum is so much more civilized than any of the others I've checked out)
Welcome to APUG. It's cheap to join, and you'll get your money back in valuable information a thousand times over. The fist fights take place in the Soapbox, but I'm not sure you can enter without the proper ID
"While you're out there smashing the state, don't forget to keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart!"
I only wish I had taken the money I put into the stock market 1 year ago and bought Rolleis.
Originally Posted by Anscojohn
I have done an awful lot of testing various Rolleis.. 3.5Fs and 2.8E2 2.8Fs 2.8FX and the consistency of quality is pretty amazing. And I have tested the 3.5Fs and 2.8E2 with the optical flat glass in place. The film flatness issue is not really an issue except if you have a roll of film sitting in a camera a long time so that the curl around the roller becomes permanent.
A Rolleiflex is a really good camera as long as it hasn't had parts switched around, and can be serviced and rebuilt and made to last as long as you continue to use it. And it is a pretty good investment.
There is nothing wrong with any Rollei, but with your budget, you could probably get a three-lens Mamiya TLR system that would be much more versatile than any Rollei TLR. You have seven focal lengths from which to choose with that system, bellows focusing, and if you get one of the later models (one with three digits in the model number, or one of the two digit models that accepts a 220 back door), you have both 120 and 220 shooting ability. I would just deal with the weight, since they are nowhere near what I would call "heavy".
This being said, decent, working Rolleicords can be had for around $100, and they are very small and light. This would be a great way to go if you don't want wides or close focusing ability. The only "normal" focal length Rollei I would buy would be a 'Cord, because they are dirt cheap. Once you surpass the price of a Mamiya to buy a 2.8 'Flex, I feel you might as well just get the Mamiya.
As far as differences between lenses, forget about it. They are all good enough.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-16-2008 at 01:02 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
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I have to agree about the weight of the Mamiya's, I had two until they were stolen. The Yashica 124's are good cameras the lenses are excellent, they are a little lighter than the Rolleiflexes, but this is reflected in the build quality which isn't as high as the Rollei's.
Originally Posted by viridari
Over the years I've used a variety of MF cameras and like others none have had an issue of film flatness, but film doesn't get left in them more than a few days. The only time I've ever heard of people having problems has been with older bellows cameras where opening the camera quickly can pull the film the film towards the lens.
Given the choice a Rolleiflex is definitely the better camera to buy, it will last far longer than a Yashicamat, and also be more reliable, I have both.
One small correction: The Rolleicord never came with a Xenon -- only the Xenar and before that the Triotar (a well-designed triplet).
Originally Posted by ic-racer
To the original poster, the biggest visible difference that you'll see in the Tessar/Xenar and the Planar/Xenotar is in close to medium distances shot wide open to about f/5.6. The Tessar/Xenar lenses tend to give round out of focus areas, while the Planar/Xenotar backgrounds tend to be much smoother.
Once you hit f/8 and smaller, the differences tend to disappear.
Also, the Automat models tend to be lighter in weight than the C-F models.
Bottom line: You can't go wrong with a Rolleiflex, and if you really want a Rolleiflex, then buy one the first time out. There are a lot of cameras out there that have seen professional use, and that means they've been worked hard.
Nothing wrong with that, but do keep in mind that any 50+-year-old camera will benefit from a good overhaul.
As always, be sure to check for cleaning marks on the lens and mold/fungus, and also impact damage to the camera. Good luck!
My suggestion: a Rolleicord V, especially the Vb. Very nice machine. Quality is equal to a Rolleiflex; complexity is lower. Harry Fleenor usually has one or more to sell. I have one from him, overhauled. It was in like-new condition.
I have an older, New Standard, Rolleiflex from March, 1939. Although uncoated, the lens is incredible; just gorgeous negatives color or b&W. Including the CLA, I paid less than half of your budget. My heirs can dispose of this when I'm gone; I won't sell it before then.
The potential for lack of film flatness is a recognized limitation of the medium format rollfilm design; acknowledged by both camera and lens manufacturers. Weather you observe it depends on how critical you are and knowing the typical manifestation. Luck, or lack of it also plays a role. In general, the Rollei TLRs have a pretty good film path, so factors contributing to film bulge are more likely going to be film type, ambient temperature, and time elapsed between winding frames. In many (most) cases the film is held flat. On critical examination, every one of my MF rollfilm cameras has exhibited film bulge at least once at some point during my ownership. (33 years for the 124G).
Originally Posted by viridari
Realize that Rollei did make a glass plate to force the film flat and incorporated a vacuum back on one film back in the 6000 series. The glass plate is not popular, as dust can be a nightmare. Also, as indicated, film flatness without the glass can be excellent.
Last edited by ic-racer; 12-17-2008 at 10:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.