A Rolleiflex TLR is great for street shooting. Most people ignore you as you bend over the waist level finder and look like you are just fiddling with an odd looking camera, which makes it an excellent tool for candid shots. They mistake the act of shooting with that of someone adjusting and fiddling with an odd and old looking camera that they just don't quite know how to use.
I once sat accross a table from someone who had agreed to be photographed, and as I was shooting my 3rd roll of 120 film she asked: "when are you going to stop fiddling with your camera and take my picture?".
Great responses. Thanks. Looks like I'm on the right track with a Rolleiflex...BUT....a few more questions if I may:
1. Apart from a CLA, will I also need a brighter viewscreen? If so, which type?
2. How difficult (or easy) is it to accurately focus with these cameras at waistlevel, in difficult (bright light) conditions?
3. Is the Rolleiflex a beast to carry around for street photography or is it light/small enough in real world practical terms?
4. Major differences between the f3.5 75mm lens version vs the f2.8 80mm lens (apart from the obvious f stop and FL)? Is one lighter/ better made for instance?
4. Recommendations on where to CLA in the US or UK (I am in Australia)?
Apologies for the many questions.
Last edited by parasko; 08-04-2009 at 06:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
In the US there is Harry Fleenor a Oceanside in California, and Krikor in New Jersey. I bet there are good places in Australia that know Rollei's inside out.
There are a few different bright screens and different opinions on which is best. Maybe try and see if you get on with the original screen. The camera is pretty easy to focus, but for critical focus I use the magnifier. You can see the whole screen through it too.
I find mine a piece of cake to carry around. You'll have to make sure you have a good and safe strap. The old original leather ones can become weak. Save the tabs off the end of the strap they're getting rare.
It is said that the 3.5 MIGHT be the tiniest bit sharper, but I think that the difference if there is one, is irrelevant. Really they are of equal quality in lens and body. The 2.8's are considered a "higher" model generally more expensive. Just sure the lenses are perfect and it's serviced by a place with real Rollei experience.
1. The Maxwell screen is about twice as bright as the standard stock Rollei screen and most people prefer them.
Originally Posted by parasko
2. There is a pop up magnifier in the WLF that you can use without bringing it right to your eye. You can just pop it up as you compose the picture and focus on a small enlarged spot. However if you are still blessed with young eyeballs you can focus pretty well without it. There is usually a split image on the screen but not necessarily.
3. The Rolleiflex is not a beast and I can carry mine all day long without the least strain. Compared to a pocket sized digital camera it is a beast.
4. The 3.5F is slightly more dynamic due to slightly wider lens and has slightly more depth of field. It is also slightly lighter. The lenses don't test out any sharper or less sharp than the 2.8 80mm lenses but the slightly more depth of field makes it seem that way. IMO
You are concerned with Bokeh. There is the model 2.8C which has a nine or ten bladed aperture which gives very round looking specular highlights. Some people love that and the C is a really nice older model which usually has a Xenotar.
I use a C330 one-handed all the time. I've got a 135mm, an 80mm, and a 55mm. Haven't run into those issues yet. Being able to swap lenses can be a real plus sometimes.
Originally Posted by C A Sugg
Add "have a beard" to the list, making me three-for-three.
Originally Posted by C A Sugg
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I love my Rolleicord IV (with the very fine Schneider Xenar 80mm) and my Mamiya 220. Both are very light and easy to use. I think the mamiya might be the best choice because you can use the 80mm and the fine 55mm which is closer to your 35mm Leica lens than the standard Rollei 80mm. Both cameras with lenses were under $200 each.
Holga: if it was any more analog, you'd need a chisel.
I was shooting street photos with a rolleiflex recently in NYC, and maybe it's because I'm a little out of practice on my street photography smarts, but the camera seemed to be a bit of a spectacle and drew too much attention for my liking.
Personally, I'd go for the 3.5, as they're less expensive, and I wouldn't use 2.8 much for street use, as the depth of field is very small. If you shoot a lot in very low light, then the 2.8 would be better.
Note that there are two Rollei screen sizes, one for "non-removable" cameras, such as an MV-EVS Automat, and one for newer cameras with replaceable finders, such as an F. Oddly, the "non-removable" ones can be easily removed. It just involves taking out 4 screws. That said, you'd probably want to have a tech replace the screen so that he or she could check that focus is accurate.
I have a Beattie Intens +, which is very bright, but focus doesn't pop quite as much as I'd like. Still, it made the camera much more usable than the original screen. I have a Maxwell screen for my 4x5, and they are great but very expensive. I believe that a place like Marflex (an authorized Rollei repair place) can install a Rollei bright screen, which I've heard good things about.
There are a lot of nice non-Rollei TLR's out there that are excellent cameras. I've always liked the Minolta Autocord because both the the lens and ergonomics are excellent. Inexpensive, too.