Well a good condition camera that doesn't need or already has been "sorted out" is going to cost the same or more as having your Rollie prepped for the next 2-3 decades. :(
Otherwise, there is a Yashica 124G in the classifieds right now. Looks tempting, but..........
I understand the concern about the cost of returning that Rolleiflex into a good state of repair. I find most shops that will work on them charge an arm and a leg. There seems to be an attitude that they are luxury cameras, and so repairs should come at luxury prices. I finally found a good local shop that would CLA my Rolleiflex 2.8F for a reasonable amount (about 150 dollars.) If you can find such a place, it would be worth sorting the Rolleiflex out. However I ended up selling my 2.8F Planar. I put a couple of rolls of film through it, and was not convinced by the images I got. On the good side, the images were among the highest-resolution I had captured on film. But there was an overall lack of contrast, and I found the Planar was susceptible to flare. As a result I didn't like the images nearly as much as those I get from my Bronica ETR kit, or from Pentax lenses in 35mm.
In considering what your other options are, do you know what focal lengths you typically like to shoot at? If you know you mostly use a single focal length, the fixed-lens Fuji rangefinders are fantastic. They have all the appeal of a 35mm rangefinder, with the advantages of a gigantic viewfinder, huge and easy rangefinder focus spot, and they expose a massive piece of film. I have a GW690, and of any of my cameras, it is the simplest, most robust, and most likely to still be working in 50 years.
You could always get a Kiev 88. But to paraphrase Forest Gump, a Kiev 88 is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get until you develop your first roll. Mine has a fine shutter, but has several light leaks. The 80mm lens that came with it is soft, but aimed at the right subject can be result in beautiful shots. For me, some carelessly applied dark tape solved the leaks, at least on the occasions I wanted them solved (without the tape it mine is a bulky Holga... :-) ).
Nothing at all wrong with the previous suggestions, just throwing the Hasselbladski into the mix...
What did you think of the waist level finder on the Rolleiflex? I think the big question is if you want a medium format Leica, continuing in the basic design and way of shooting. Or if you want something very different since it can open up new ways of shooting. For 'similar,' one of the fixed-lens Fujis would be your best bet. Or the Bronica RF645, which does have 2-3 lenses (one is hard to find, I think).
And for different, go for the Hasselblad. The ground glass viewing, SLR, and screen blackout- completely different way of shooting all around than the Leica! Bronica, Mamiya, Pentax 645 are other options in this world.
A Bronica ETR-type with a speed grip and prism finder handles very much like a 35mm SLR.
Get the Rollei repaired a Rollei with a recent CLA shouldn't need a repair any time soon and if you think that the rollei's maintenance costs are high you've never payed for a Hasselblad repair. On another note if you want a Medium Format Rangefinder take a look at the Fuji Fixed lens RF they're great cameras and can be had for less than $ 500 at least on KEH.com. The 690 series uses an even bigger Filmformat than the Mamiya and 6x9 has the same aspect ratio as 35mm but better tonality.
Good Luck with your search.
get a quote from zack's camera repair ( apug advertiser ) and look into getting your rollei repaired.
i got my rolleicord repaired and cla'd through zack's, and when i can handle doing the look down/stoop
i use it. works like a charm, and the cla was very affordable.
With patience you may be able to find a Mamiya 7 with lens for under $800. I found one with the 80mm lens I was looking for for $500 by watching ebay. I needed to adjust the range finder, but I now have a spare body. The big limitation to me was the close focusing distance with the 150mm lens. It's really not a great system for portraits. But as a walk around landscape camera I love it.
However, I think as a general use camera the Hasselblad is the way to go. I have tried the RZ, Mamiya 7, Mamiya 645, various folders and TLRs. I am keeping the Hasselblad and the Mamiya 7 since I use them in very different ways. If asked to choose one, I think it would be the Hassy.
Of course my Mamiya 645 kit is for sale, so really that's what you should buy :) Actually it is very nice, and I hate to sell it.
Wow, love how many responses I'm getting!
I mean, I love the Rollei no doubt, but I'm really concerned about the taking lens' surface markings. The seller agreed to take it back (since it's within 3 days) and I think I'll just hold out until I can find a copy that at least doesn't have lens issues. I'm still young and I can always save up right? GAS is already hitting hard... I sold off so much stuff just to invest in my M kit :(
As far as the focal lengths go, I find myself drawn to using 50mm, both on my Leica as well as my Nikon FM2 - however, I think a 35mm would be a great addition to either kit (I want to save up for a CV 35mm for the M).
I don't mind a "different" system, so the MF camera doesn't have to be a rangefinder or even an SLR, I just want something than can be used in many situations. No doubt, I'll expand my gear within the next few years if I find MF to be a nice addition but I'm simply asking for the "first" system I should be getting. I honestly really love the Rollei, but like I said, the lens markings bother me and I'd rather wait and see if I can ever find a better copy and then invest in the CLA.
Keep those comments coming? What are your thoughts on the 500c vs 500cm!
If you're concerned about the taking lens marks and still in the return window, I'd probably send it back too if it bothers you now. Unless you got the camera at enough of a discount initially to have it serviced and potentially the taking lens replaced while still being under what a clean, CLA'd Rollie would cost you. Long shot. :)
I'm a huge TLR fan but if you want to shoot other focal lengths, I'd jump to a medium format SLR. The Mamiyas are nice but at least to me, they loose the size advantage which is part of what makes a TLR so nice. The MF SLR recommendations are pretty good. I've only used a Bronica SQ-A - and generally only use it when using a wider angle lens - and it is a loud camera, but it and the Mamiya 645 systems are pretty good deals.
If my memory serves me right the mirror in the 500C is smaller than in the 500cm leading to vignetting in the Viewfinder with longer lenses and the ground glass is not user changeable or at least not as easy to change with the 500c. Other than that they are pretty similiar but I would buy the 500cm younger body and less likely to need larger repairs in the near future.