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The Rolleiflex isn't my cup of tea...
Old 10-20-2009   #1
johnny9fingers
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The Rolleiflex isn't my cup of tea...

I'm just not taking to my Rolleiflex 3.5 B Automat MX-EVS. The pictures are great, but it doesn't feel right when I'm using it. As a matter of fact, I've gone through a series of medium format cameras and none has been comfortable for me to use. I hear the siren call of larger negatives but using the cameras are a struggle. 35mm cameras are comfortable and I can use my Hexar, Yashica Electro, and Oly XA almost without thinking. I would like to get my hands on a Minolta CLE with the 40/2 Rokkor lens. Probably should try to work a trade with someone.... Has anyone else gone through this???
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Old 10-20-2009   #2
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I have an idea. I'll lend you my 4x5 field camera. Use it for awhile. Then switch back to your Rollei. It'll seem easy at that point ...
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Old 10-20-2009   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I'm just not taking to my Rolleiflex 3.5 B Automat MX-EVS. The pictures are great, but it doesn't feel right when I'm using it. As a matter of fact, I've gone through a series of medium format cameras and none has been comfortable for me to use. I hear the siren call of larger negatives but using the cameras are a struggle. 35mm cameras are comfortable and I can use my Hexar, Yashica Electro, and Oly XA almost without thinking. I would like to get my hands on a Minolta CLE with the 40/2 Rokkor lens. Probably should try to work a trade with someone.... Has anyone else gone through this???
Most people grow up shooting 35mm cameras
(or, now, digital cameras built around the 35mm
camera paradigm) so it's not surprising to hear
your first experiences with a Rolleiflex have
been less than comfortable. Like any tool, it
takes practice to understand it. The Rolleiflex
has its own order and logic. Once it hits you,
then it will feel as natural on its own terms
as your 35mm cameras -- assuming you stick
with it long enough to get there. I shoot
Rolleiflexes for 90 percent of my photography
and they feel like extensions of myself now.
But they didn't when I first picked one up.
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Old 10-20-2009   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I'm just not taking to my Rolleiflex 3.5 B Automat MX-EVS. The pictures are great, but it doesn't feel right when I'm using it. As a matter of fact, I've gone through a series of medium format cameras and none has been comfortable for me to use. I hear the siren call of larger negatives but using the cameras are a struggle. 35mm cameras are comfortable and I can use my Hexar, Yashica Electro, and Oly XA almost without thinking. I would like to get my hands on a Minolta CLE with the 40/2 Rokkor lens. Probably should try to work a trade with someone.... Has anyone else gone through this???
I recommend counseling. There must be a psychotherapist who specializes in Rolleiphobia. How can anyone NOT love a Rollei?
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Old 10-20-2009   #5
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Mike & Easyrider, ha ha ha... good replies... I did shoot with a Crown Graphic
once upon a time so I've done the 4X5 thing. As far as counseling maybe I just need more alone time with the rollei as Sanders suggests. Maybe I'm too impatient to work through the shot. I'll stick with it and see if it grows on me. It is a sweet camera and is uber-cool......
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Old 10-20-2009   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I'm just not taking to my Rolleiflex 3.5 B Automat MX-EVS. The pictures are great, but it doesn't feel right when I'm using it. .... Has anyone else gone through this???
The Rollei's are a little weird to handle because they are 'two handed', focus with one hand, expose and advance film with the other. The two wheels for speed/aperture is also a little odd. I use to have a friend who loved to make fun of the Rollei's because they were so 'un-ergonomic'.

Getting use to the Square and making sure the horizon is level is also a bit of a challenge.

I use to like the Rolleicord's better when it came to handling.

In the meantime, you would find "Rangefinder" style medium formats a lot easier. Mamiya 6, Mamiya 7, all the nice Fuji cameras, and even the Koni-Omega (if you have strong arms)....

Last edited by reala_fan : 10-20-2009 at 18:47.
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Old 10-20-2009   #7
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Hi reala fan, I have owned a Fuji GA645, 690, and Mamiya Universal press. Also shot with a few folders.... The Rollei is nice and light, easy to carry, has the nice big neg, but is awkward for me. I'll hang in there a while tho and see if I can get the hang of it......
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Old 10-20-2009   #8
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Take it to a B+B with candles and wine. Oh and bring a model. That should do it
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
Mike & Easyrider, ha ha ha... good replies... I did shoot with a Crown Graphic
once upon a time so I've done the 4X5 thing. As far as counseling maybe I just need more alone time with the rollei as Sanders suggests. Maybe I'm too impatient to work through the shot. I'll stick with it and see if it grows on me. It is a sweet camera and is uber-cool......
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Old 10-20-2009   #9
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I think part of my problem is I sometimes suffer from delusions of grandeur. I'm not a working pro, and not really shooting with the intent of selling photos. I just like taking pictures. And a lot of the time its just having a camera I can use quickly and confidently, and the Hexar is perfect for me.....
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Old 10-20-2009   #10
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Have you tried a Bronica RF645?
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Old 10-20-2009   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CK Dexter Haven View Post
Have you tried a Bronica RF645?
No, but I did have a Fuji GA645. The Bronica sounds like a nice camera, but is probably out of my price range....
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Old 10-20-2009   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I'm just not taking to my Rolleiflex 3.5 B Automat MX-EVS. The pictures are great, but it doesn't feel right when I'm using it. As a matter of fact, I've gone through a series of medium format cameras and none has been comfortable for me to use. I hear the siren call of larger negatives but using the cameras are a struggle. 35mm cameras are comfortable and I can use my Hexar, Yashica Electro, and Oly XA almost without thinking. I would like to get my hands on a Minolta CLE with the 40/2 Rokkor lens. Probably should try to work a trade with someone.... Has anyone else gone through this???
I bought my Rollei T on a whim for $75.00 (US) 20 years ago. I felt like you for about 10 years, now after many stops and starts with I realize it is the best tool I have. Too bad I wasted all that time.
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Old 10-20-2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reala_fan View Post
The Rollei's are a little weird to handle because they are 'two handed', focus with one hand, expose and advance film with the other. The two wheels for speed/aperture is also a little odd. I use to have a friend who loved to make fun of the Rollei's because they were so 'un-ergonomic'.
.............
And they continued that tradition with their 6x6 SLR, the SL66. Great camera for people with three hands. I love it anyway.
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Old 10-20-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I'm just not taking to my Rolleiflex 3.5 B Automat MX-EVS. The pictures are great, but it doesn't feel right when I'm using it. As a matter of fact, I've gone through a series of medium format cameras and none has been comfortable for me to use. I hear the siren call of larger negatives but using the cameras are a struggle. 35mm cameras are comfortable and I can use my Hexar, Yashica Electro, and Oly XA almost without thinking. I would like to get my hands on a Minolta CLE with the 40/2 Rokkor lens. Probably should try to work a trade with someone.... Has anyone else gone through this???

How could it feel right? Its ergonomics is like shooting with a brick sans weight. Try the Mamiya 6.
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Old 10-20-2009   #15
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Mister 9fingers, shoot with whatever you want.

But if you want to pick up babes, keep the Rollei with you and at least act like you are using it. Almost as good as a cute puppy. Seriously.
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Old 10-20-2009   #16
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I can empathize. I've been using a Leica II recently and now my M2 seems like a behemoth, much less my Rolleiflex. But I force myself to use it anyway. Discipline!
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Old 10-20-2009   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I bought my Rollei T on a whim for $75.00 (US) 20 years ago. I felt like you for about 10 years, now after many stops and starts with I realize it is the best tool I have. Too bad I wasted all that time.
I'm afraid it would sit unused as I find my Hexar AF so simple to use, and I love the pictures it makes. The Rollei takes great pictures too, but I really don't need the big neg as I rarely print larger than 8 X 10. It was a knee jerk purchase cause it looked so darn nice...... I'm thinking my Hexar and a CLE would satisfy all my needs for quite some time.....
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Old 10-20-2009   #18
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I received my Rollei 3.5 as an inheritance from my wife's uncle who hadn't used it in 30 years. I serviced it and it worked well enough, but, compared to the Hassy 503CW and the Mamiya 7II, it did seem rather old fashioned. At first, it seemed so awkward to operate that I didn't think I would get much, and was pleasantly stunned by the excellent results. The shutter is quiet. It got even quieter when it broke in the middle of a roll of film recently. Apart from that one mechanical failure, it's turned out to be a great camera, but the two-handed operation did take some getting used to.
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Old 10-20-2009   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I think part of my problem is I sometimes suffer from delusions of grandeur. I'm not a working pro, and not really shooting with the intent of selling photos. I just like taking pictures. And a lot of the time its just having a camera I can use quickly and confidently, and the Hexar is perfect for me.....
A few thoughts:

Rolleiflexes are not for everyone. Ask
Roger Hicks what he thinks about them.
HCB preferred Leicas. Doisneau shot
Rolleiflexes.

Rolleiflexes can be confusing for those
used to 35mm cameras in a number of
respects. BUT the Rolleiflexes are intuitive
and ingenious in design. Once you figure
them out, they will astound you with their
economy of design and function, and all
other cameras will pale by comparison.

I hear you about not being a pro, and just
wanting to shoot pictures -- I'm right there
with you. But a Rolleiflex will make you
look like a pro, if you bring a discerning
eye to it. There is a long tradition of
amateurs shooting Rolleiflexes, from the
likes of Eudora Welty (known for her pen,
not her Rolleiflex) down through the decades
to today -- an unknown Chicago woman,
Vivian Maier, died earlier this year. The
buyer of her storage locker contents found
a trove of 40,000 negatives, and thousands
of undeveloped rolls, of street photography
she shot as a young Jewish emigré in Chicago
in the 1950s -- all shot with a Rolleiflex:

http://vivianmaier.blogspot.com/

Here's a link to my favorite that the buyer
has scanned and posted online so far:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_YUrw6ooCZj...1600-h/A36.jpg

Somehow, it would not have carried the same
impact if it had been a Nikon or a Pentax.

Sanders

Last edited by Sanders McNew : 10-20-2009 at 21:33.
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Old 10-20-2009   #20
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Thanks for all the commentary folks. The Rollei line of cameras has passionate users, and you have convinced me to keep shooting and give it a proper chance. So the Rolleiflex will be my constant camera companion for the next couple months, and we'll see how it goes. I do like the fact it's a mechanical camera, and has a fixed lens to keep it simple. And if I need help determining the proper exposure, a VC Meter II will be in my pocket...... I will post some pictures from time to time and share this experiment with you.
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Old 10-20-2009   #21
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I agree with Dexter: you'd try a bronica rf645!
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Old 10-20-2009   #22
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I think MF cameras generally are harder to get used to than your average 35mm rangefinder or SLR. It's a different style of photography ... maybe it's just not you?

It's far too easy to see images on this forum that make you go 'wow' and start convincing yourself that you need an MF camera. My first real experience wih MF was with an Iskra ... I was amazed at what a pain in the arse piece of crap it was compared to my 35mm gear. Then I got an RF645 and realised it didn't actually need to be that difficult!
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Old 10-21-2009   #23
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Certainly, you either get 'em or you don't -- and I don't. I know it's unusual, heresy even; I know they deliver excellent results; but I just don't like the handing. I much prefer SLRs (I have Kowa and Praktisix, and have had Hasselblad and Mamiya RB67 as well as trying Contax 645 and more) or better still rangefinder or viewfinder cameras (I have Alpa, Linhof, Graflex and a Polaroid 600SE with roll-fim adapter)

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Please everybody take a look at the photo linked by Sanders
Old 10-21-2009   #24
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Please everybody take a look at the photo linked by Sanders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanders McNew View Post

http://vivianmaier.blogspot.com/

Here's a link to my favorite that the buyer
has scanned and posted online so far:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_YUrw6ooCZj...1600-h/A36.jpg
Sanders
What a brilliant photo. Thanks Sanders for the link!
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Old 10-21-2009   #25
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yes, thanks to sanders as well for sharing Ms Maier photographic "bequest." brilliant!
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Old 10-21-2009   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reala_fan View Post
The Rollei's are a little weird to handle because they are 'two handed', focus with one hand, expose and advance film with the other. The two wheels for speed/aperture is also a little odd. I use to have a friend who loved to make fun of the Rollei's because they were so 'un-ergonomic'.
I used Rolleis regularly between the early '70's and 1990 and never really had any problems.

Here's one handed photo taken whilst riding my 753 martrac cycle - sorry, it's been posted before.



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Old 10-21-2009   #27
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I wonder if it is just the Rolleiflex itself as well. As I have posted before, I used to have a yashica 124 MAT G that I really enjoyed using. I got a Super Press 23 to replace it and later acquired a Rolleiflex. I never really cottened to it. I always thought it was because of having the 6x7 Super Press. But maybe not. I kind of enjoy using my Welta Perfekta, but that is probably because it is kind of retro. I just don't think I enjoy the 6x6 negative size as much. That may be just me, and not the OP's concern.
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Old 10-21-2009   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
I wonder if it is just the Rolleiflex itself as well. As I have posted before, I used to have a yashica 124 MAT G that I really enjoyed using. I got a Super Press 23 to replace it and later acquired a Rolleiflex. I never really cottened to it. I always thought it was because of having the 6x7 Super Press. But maybe not. I kind of enjoy using my Welta Perfekta, but that is probably because it is kind of retro. I just don't think I enjoy the 6x6 negative size as much. That may be just me, and not the OP's concern.
I seem to have either wasted space or a lot of clutter in pictures taken in the square format. I know I can crop, but why??? I will keep plugging away and try to learn how to use the camera and its square results.
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Old 10-21-2009   #29
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Quote:
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I seem to have either wasted space or a lot of clutter in pictures taken in the square format. I know I can crop, but why??? I will keep plugging away and try to learn how to use the camera and its square results.

After struggling with the square myself for quite a while I now find it very liberating and would never contemplate cropping!

Faffing around with a scene/subject trying to decide whether to frame it as landscape or portrait can be frustrating at times ... with 6x6, no problem!
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Old 10-21-2009   #30
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Quote:
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I think MF cameras generally are harder to get used to than your average 35mm rangefinder or SLR. It's a different style of photography ... maybe it's just not you?

It's far too easy to see images on this forum that make you go 'wow' and start convincing yourself that you need an MF camera. My first real experience wih MF was with an Iskra ... I was amazed at what a pain in the arse piece of crap it was compared to my 35mm gear. Then I got an RF645 and realised it didn't actually need to be that difficult!
Hi Keith, You may be right that MF isn't a good format for me, but I'd like to give it a fair shake and keep working at it a while. I've looked at a the RF645 but they are out of my price range, so it's the Rollei or nothing for now....
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Old 10-21-2009   #31
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Quote:
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Hi Keith, You may be right that MF isn't a good format for me, but I'd like to give it a fair shake and keep working at it a while. I've looked at a the RF645 but they are out of my price range, so it's the Rollei or nothing for now....

I find looking down at that 6x6 screen in the waist level viewfinder fascinating. Aside from the reversal of the image, you're actually looking at the photograph you're about to take before you take it ... a good composition can leap out at you occasionally. It's not the same with an SLR and a rangefinder shows you nothing really!
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Old 10-21-2009   #32
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Quote:
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I find looking down at that 6x6 screen in the waist level viewfinder fascinating. Aside from the reversal of the image, you're actually looking at the photograph you're about to take before you take it ... a good composition can leap out at you occasionally. It's not the same with an SLR and a rangefinder shows you nothing really!
You hit that one right on the head, looking down into the waist level finder is so cool I have missed a great shot because I was enjoying the view too much .
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Old 10-21-2009   #33
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I too, coming from a Hasselblad, felt that the Rolleiflex was awkward and wondered what all the fuss was about. But there is a method to the Rolleiflex madness and after using it for a while it has become a fun camera and one of my favorite to shoot with. In fact I have sort of fallen for these TLR cameras and now have a Rolleiflex 3.5f (currenty being CLA'd by Harry Fleenor), Mamiya C330 and a Minolta Autocord (probably arriving today after being CLA'd by Karl Bryan).

I would say keep using the Rollei and try getting used to the its quirks. Give it a chance, especially if you like the images coming from it. If it sill doesn't grab you, like 35mmdelux wrote, the Mamiya 6/7 or similar MF rangefinder-style camera might be more to your liking.
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Old 10-21-2009   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny9fingers View Post
I'm afraid it would sit unused as I find my Hexar AF so simple to use, and I love the pictures it makes. The Rollei takes great pictures too, but I really don't need the big neg as I rarely print larger than 8 X 10. It was a knee jerk purchase cause it looked so darn nice...... I'm thinking my Hexar and a CLE would satisfy all my needs for quite some time.....
Just the same with me, I thought I wanted new GEAR, back then. Now I want big negative, solid quality, and the easiness of the Rollei T, and the ability to choose between the nuances of the final product (different films).
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Old 10-21-2009   #35
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I have difficulty w/ one thing on TLR's. Can't seem to get the camera level. Always seems to be pointing up or down and buildings either lean toward you or away in the pics. Sure are sharp though.

Before you give up on MF I might suggest a Welta Weltur. 6x6 w/ 120 film. You have to use a red window and a light meter, but the rangefinder/viewfinder is coupled and bright, and the lens focuses by moving the entire lens/shutter assy like a LF camera w/ a knob. I love mine and it's the easiest and quickest to use MF camera that I've used.

If that doesn't work there's always the AF Fuji 6x4.5 cameras. Just point it and shoot.
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Old 10-21-2009   #36
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for 3.5 Tessar I use rolleiflex or rolleicord
for 3.5 planar I use Mymiya 6 (three lenses)
for 2.8 planar I use Hass
Mymiya is a beeter street camera
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Old 10-21-2009   #37
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Got a Domke Gripper strap this morning and it makes a world of difference in handling the camera. So I ordered 20 rolls of Porta NC, 20 of Tri-X, and figure by the time I shoot 40 rolls of film I will know if the Rolleiflex and I make a good team. I would like to post pictures showing my progress but haven't been able to in the past. Is there some trick to posting pictures???
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Old 10-21-2009   #38
andredossantos
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From the moment I picked up a TLR, it just clicked. I prefer to compose at the waist and in square format. It is just more how I "see". last week I got my hands on a rollei mx-evs and I'm seriously loving it. Agree 100% with Sanders. Give it a chance and try to get used to the controls. If you don't like it in a couple weeks you can unload it being sure it's not the right tool for you.
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Old 10-21-2009   #39
chut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanders McNew View Post
There is a long tradition of
amateurs shooting Rolleiflexes, from the
likes of Eudora Welty (known for her pen,
not her Rolleiflex) down through the decades
to today -- an unknown Chicago woman,
Vivian Maier, died earlier this year. The
buyer of her storage locker contents found
a trove of 40,000 negatives, and thousands
of undeveloped rolls, of street photography
she shot as a young Jewish emigré in Chicago
in the 1950s -- all shot with a Rolleiflex:

http://vivianmaier.blogspot.com/

Here's a link to my favorite that the buyer
has scanned and posted online so far:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_YUrw6ooCZj...1600-h/A36.jpg

Somehow, it would not have carried the same
impact if it had been a Nikon or a Pentax.

Sanders
Sanders, Vivian's photos are remarkable and your story of discovering them is quite fascinating. It's apparent that she had a great eye and a lifelong dedication to photography. How wonderful to see such compelling work from a non-professional photographer.
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Old 10-21-2009   #40
shadowfox
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I was just thinking how I like using a TLR compared to folders when it comes to vintage MF cameras.

The folders are nice, but their handling is not different than 35mm. TLR on the other hand allows you to try different stuff.

After you get over the "growing pain" with your Rolleiflex, you'll realize how versatile the TLR is, it even can be used for "street" because of its natural position (somewhere in front of your chest).

Example:

* Not a Rolleiflex, but a Ricohflex. Super Ricohflex to be exact.

Stick with it, you'll get it.
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