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  1. #1

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    My Rolleiflex is on drugs?

    Hi all. I recently picked up a well-used but good functioning Rollieflex Automat. I ran a test roll though it just to make sure everything was working and, while the photos came out, they have a strange, heavy blurring to the edges, much like those "Lensbaby" selective focus lenses.

    Since those shots were all done wide open in my house, I decided to test it in bright sunlight yesterday so I could stop it down. The results are the same.

    I think I would really like using this TLR if I can get that legendary Rollei image quality out of it. Any ideas on what could be causing this? The lenses seem clear when I look through them. There is a small blob of oil at the bottom of the front element, inside but everything else looks nice, minus a few dust spots. Could it be that the camera back or film plate is not at the correct distance? I'm new to TLR's so any advice is appreciated.

    First shot, wide open at f/3.5


    Second shot at f/16 (ignore the streaking, that's my scanner)

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    What lens does it have? The Zeiss Triotar 75/3.5 is known not to be very sharp, especially wide open. Just checked on models/lenses -- I doubt very much that it has the Triotar (a Rolleicord I have has one, but I have not used it yet as it needs work).

    Another Rolleicord I have with a Xenar, the resolving power almost doubles between f3.5 and 5.6 (175 lp/mm to 300 lp/mm), while another 'cord I have with the same lens type is 250 lp/mm at f3.5 and 328 lp/mm at 5.6.

    Stick a page of classified ads on the wall and photograph it at all f/stops (use a pod) -- this will tell you how the lens performs. The corner sharpness should improve quickly as you stop down. You might just have to save f/3.5 for portraits. Or consider having the camera CLA and tested by a good Rollei repairperson.

    Vaughn

    PS...the above 3 "cords are not mine, but the university's -- the lens data is from Mark Hansen (Classic Camera Repair in Portland) from when he CLA the two cameras. He used a green filter over the lens when testing the resolving power.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  3. #3

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    Looks like what I got recently when I reassembled a Minolta Autocord and had a spacer around the shutter mount go askew. I bet opening up the lens shroud and reassembling things squarely will clear it up. Or the focus rails are out of alignment.

  4. #4
    JPD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    What lens does it have? The Zeiss Triotar 75/3.5 is known not to be very sharp, especially wide open.
    Triotars aren't bad. These were taken with a 1939 Rolleicord:

    Fully open:
    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1303/...9a6bc126_b.jpg

    Stopped down a bit:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3301/...38b456ab_o.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3393/...e4bb7a28_o.jpg
    Last edited by JPD; 06-08-2010 at 05:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    J. Patric Dahlén

  5. #5
    JPD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Daniel View Post
    Looks like what I got recently when I reassembled a Minolta Autocord and had a spacer around the shutter mount go askew. I bet opening up the lens shroud and reassembling things squarely will clear it up. Or the focus rails are out of alignment.
    I suspect something like that too. I had a similar problem with an Ensign 6x9 folder, and it turned out that the shutter assembly was a bit loose. A few turns on the shutter retaining ring solved the problem.
    J. Patric Dahlén

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPD View Post
    Bah, Triotars aren't bad. These were taken with a 1939 Rolleicord:
    I think you proved my unstated point -- they make for great portrait lenses! And "sharp" is a very relative term! "Not as sharp" as a Xenar can still be pretty sharp! Great images, BTW!

    The 'cord I have (serial number 751641) must be the same model as yours. If I trusted the students with its film-loading system (not complicated -- I just don't trust the students!), I'd get it CLA'd. I do check out the other two 'cords (VB's) to our students -- how can I not?! I learned photography with a "flex over 30 years ago!

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  7. #7
    JPD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I think you proved my unstated point -- they make for great portrait lenses! And "sharp" is a very relative term! "Not as sharp" as a Xenar can still be pretty sharp! Great images, BTW!

    The 'cord I have (serial number 751641) must be the same model as yours. If I trusted the students with its film-loading system (not complicated -- I just don't trust the students!), I'd get it CLA'd. I do check out the other two 'cords (VB's) to our students -- how can I not?! I learned photography with a "flex over 30 years ago!
    True true! I meant that a normal Triotar gives better results wide open than RustedChromes Tessar-examples.

    A Yashica A is another good camera for students and for portraits. Simple to use, and the Yashikor lens is beautifully soft wide open, not as harsh as the Triotar, and pretty sharp stopped down.
    J. Patric Dahlén

  8. #8
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    Like JPD I used to have a Rolleicord with a Triotar, and for a Triplet it wasn't too bad, certainly not as bad as this camera's lens.

    Rollei did have big issues with lens quality after WWII. Carl Zeiss Jena still supplied many of the lenses but had major problems with procuring specialist optical glass, and lens designs were modified to make use of what was available. The situation reached a point where Rollei wouldn't use Jena lenses and the West German Zeiss introduced the Opton Tessars. Many of these were still made at Jena but had to pass the Western arms quality control, this was a time where the two Z|eiss companies hoped to re-merge at some point.

    A Tessar or Xenar isn't the sharpest of lenses wide open, but shouldn't be that far off at the corners. So perhaps as othjerrs say it's been tampered with.

    Ian

  9. #9
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    Not sure the model, maybe the A or B, from I think right after the war there was a mix up in lenses and Rollei had to recall a bunch of cameras to match taking with viewing lens. Maybe your camera is one of those that didn't get fixed. I believe the lens was a Tessar.

    Dennis

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the tips all. I guess I'll have to figure out how to open up the Rolleiflex and take a look.

    I doubt this is one of the defective batch of lenses. The woman I purchased it from said it was always her fathers favorite camera so I think he'd have noticed the severe blurring.

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