It seems to me that clean 3.5 and 2.8F's have even appreciated in value over the last few years, while a lot of other MF gear hasn't.
Rolleis are certainly great, but if you're happy with your current TLR why not broaden your knowledge with a different format or style of shooting (e.g. Large format or an MF rangefinder or slr). Shooting different systems has always been very rewarding to me (albeit frustrating while you're on the learning curve). Best of luck either way.
"There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri
"but what concerns optics - are there noticable differences, and, mainly, advantages?"
Not an Autocord, but I have a Yashicamat- and a Rollei 3.5F. I find that they are both excellent and deliver great image quality. Autocord are known for good lenses. The Rollei is special though. Corvettes and Porsches - two very fast cars that feel very different.
Your photos are beautiful.
I can't see anything wrong with the shots that the O.P has taken with his Autocord that that could be improved by shooting them with a Rollie at several times the cost, If it was my camera and I wanted to spend some money, I would have the Minolta given a complete service and just enjoy it.
I have 2 Rolleis, a 2.8C and a 3.5F, two Autocords (one with the selenium meter), and an Ikoflex. The Yashicas have long since died and gone away. While I consider the 3.5F as the ultimate picture making machine, I would have to say that a good Autocord is the most undervalued camera I know of and I have never even thought about getting rid of mine. The ergonomics are great and the lens is as good a Tessar as you can get which means it is a very good lens. The Planar may be sharper at the corners and at wider apertures but the Tessar produces a lovely image, which is why I also like to play with the Ikoflex. If you really want to try a Rollei, be sure to get one with Xenotar or Planar so that you have a meaningful difference, but, be warned that you may actually like the Autocord's signature better.
I purchased a Minolta Autocord new in the 50's (I was about 11 and my uncle loaned be the money) and within a few years, the shutter crapped out. The estimate of repair was more than the value of the camera so I traded it in on something else.
I found that happen with most low price copies over the years. When I purchased my first Nikon SLR in the seventies, things changed for the better. Still have the Nikon Nikormat EL, still works.
I would prefer a used high end camera, Rollieflex, Leica, Nikon, and plan on getting a CLA if needed. These cameras are made better and more likely to last longer.
That said, if your Autocord is working, would not worry about it. The image quality was never a problem. That was mostly true with most of the lower price camera also. The longevity and consistency is what was gained.
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My only TLR is a rolleiflex-T.
When I look at your photo's I am amazed by the high quality and talent.
I guess Rolleiflex is a better camera but for you, you will not notice the difference.
Perhaps it is time for you to try something totally different, like a graflex.
If you get a Hasselblad, you WILL notice the difference with your Minolta TLR.
All right, thanks you everyone. Again, the reason for wanting (not buying yet)) the rolleiflex is just to search and eventually find out what is really "mine", you know..
oh, yes, i had this focusing lever issue and i got it fixed about half-year ago, but it seems to be loosing again... or it's just wasn't CLA'd well, i don't know..
so i think if i find a rolleiflex bargain - i'll get it. if not - i'll wait for a bargain))
maybe you could advise on some stores or any place where already CLA'd film cameras are sold (except ebay and keh)?
p.s. btw - i do have a hasselblad, i've only tried a couple of films, and i did notice the difference. and i must say that so far this difference is not in favour of hasselblad. yet. but winter for me - is not the best time of the year to shoot, so i hope to disclose H's power in a couple of months)
Judging by the chicken and the stripped kitten and the pink flower, I would say that the Minolta must have a closer focus capability than the Rolleiflex. I am pretty certain to do those pictures with a Rollei you will need to put on the closeup Rolleinar.
All I can say is WOW!!! I went out today with the Rollei for the first time and it is at the top of my favorite camera list. It was such a pleasure to shoot with! Now to develop the film and see just how good the lenses really are.....
Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time
To me CLA or not is not important, the question is CLA by whom. I mean a name and surname.
Problem is that the people who know what they are doing on these oldies, are getting fewer and fewer.
In my country I know 1 professional who is allowed to touch my old cameras. He keeps records of his work (so potential buyers can verify a CLA claim), and gives you personal guarantee for 5-10 years (Rollei, Hass, Leica).
Even in professional shops I found "CLA'd" equipment, in which I quickly found some problems (and during real CLA it turned out that wrong lubricants were used etc.)
Still more reason to get a bigger bargain on it and bring it to the right person afterwards.