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First Rollei which one for $500 budget
Old 12-26-2014   #1
Keyne
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First Rollei which one for $500 budget

Decided to try out the Med Format TLR world and wanted to spend about $500-550 on a camera. I am used to using in camera meters but ok with switching to off camera. Overall want to use for street, travel and some landscape photos. I have been researching the Rollei cameras so much I confused myself.

Below is a link to Igor's site and wondering what would be a good choice in my budget range (eg that MXEVS vs an E vs an F planar...). I put in some questions to Igor but thought it would be fun to ask here. Any help would be great.

http://www.igorcamera.com/rolleiflex_tlr.htm
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Old 12-26-2014   #2
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Rolleiflex 3.5E #1855253, type 2, Xenotar 75/3.5, cap, Mint- $525.

Take that one. It fits your budget. In your budget range any "F" model camera you find will be in rough shape.
Rolleis are easy to get serviced. Starting with a mint condition E2 model, you will have something that can serve you for decades.

The Xenotar lens is a sweet image maker.
For street and landscape you will be more satisfied with the edge to edge uniformity of a xenotar or planar at larger apertures as compared to a xenar or tessar.
I like the tessars for Portraits. The fall off at the borders suits Portrait photography well.

Igor has a nice lot of Rollies to choose from!
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Old 12-26-2014   #3
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The Xenotar is a Schneider copy of the Planar. Both are excellent and you can't go wrong. Actually any clean Rollei with a Xenar, Tessar, Planar or Xenotar are all fine. Rolleicord or flex are great. I've owned many Rollei's over the years and never had one I didn't like. In college in the 60's I had a nice MX-EVS with a Tessar and made some beautiful images with it. The original focusing screens were pretty bad but I picked up a newer screen and cut it down myself and fitted it with great results. I've had a 3.5 F with planar, 2.8 D with Xenotar to name a few and both were excellent. I currently have a mint T gray model with Tessar and am very pleased with it. The T is a very overlooked model for some reason and really clean examples are out there for low prices. The chord is another sleeper. I used my dad's model V in the 60's while in high school and my brother owns it now and it's still going strong. the Xenar lens on it is a Schneider copy of the Tessar and a very fine lens.
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Old 12-26-2014   #4
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Agree about the Type-II E 3.5 Xenotar in mint- for $525. That's the one I would go for.

I have a Type I 2.8F Planar and a Type II MX 3.5 Tessar. Both were serviced by Harry Fleenor and work flawlessly. Overall I like the F, especially as I have the eyelevel prism for it, but as a travel camera the MX is smaller and lighter. Both mine have Beattie bright screens in them, which for me makes a huge improvement in enjoyment.
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Old 12-26-2014   #5
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Any Rolleiflex TLR will do. They are amazingly good cameras. I have the 2.8D, 3.5F, and an Automat. I sold my 2.8E and 2,8F. They were too pretty looking. I just wanted a camera with a clean taking lens. The 2.8D Planar works for me. Oh yes, and I also have the Tele Rollei.
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Old 12-26-2014   #6
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I think you would be very happy with any Rolleiflex or cord from the mid 50s onward as long as it is working correctly ,at the age of these things the shutter speeds often do not work under 15 sec as they have become gummed up from dry lubricant the same can happen to the film transport mech, for $500 you should be able to find a Rollei that has be serviced and cleaned or buy something cheaper and have it serviced yourself. I have a Cord IV and Vb plus a Flex MX-evs all of which I paid under the market value but which I expected (correctly ) would have probelms . I must admit to having a soft spot for these things ,when used correctly they can produce some great stuff and are fun to have.
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Old 12-26-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
The Xenotar is a Schneider copy of the Planar. Both are excellent and you can't go wrong. Actually any clean Rollei with a Xenar, Tessar, Planar or Xenotar are all fine. Rolleicord or flex are great. I've owned many Rollei's over the years and never had one I didn't like. In college in the 60's I had a nice MX-EVS with a Tessar and made some beautiful images with it. The original focusing screens were pretty bad but I picked up a newer screen and cut it down myself and fitted it with great results. I've had a 3.5 F with planar, 2.8 D with Xenotar to name a few and both were excellent. I currently have a mint T gray model with Tessar and am very pleased with it. The T is a very overlooked model for some reason and really clean examples are out there for low prices. The chord is another sleeper. I used my dad's model V in the 60's while in high school and my brother owns it now and it's still going strong. the Xenar lens on it is a Schneider copy of the Tessar and a very fine lens.
Presently I own a 2.8D with Xenotar. The 2.8D for me is "The" Rolleiflex. I like the simplicty of the meter less body and non removable WLF hood.
I've owned a T with Tessar in the past and agree with you.... it's a great little camera.
My understanding is that there are some parts made of inferior materials in the T that are prone to failure. Thus the lower value.

For $525 that mint condition Xenotar E2 Igor has on offer is really quite a nice deal.
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Old 12-26-2014   #8
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I really like Tessar and Tessar-type lenses. I bought a Rolleiflex T (Type 1, Tessar lens) that has a bright focusing screen with a split-image focusing aid in the center. I'm of the impression that this focusing screen was original equipment for the camera. In the Collectors Guide to Rollei Cameras, by Arthur Evans, it is noted that this camera came with a Rolleiclear screen.

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Old 12-26-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Presently I own a 2.8D with Xenotar. The 2.8D for me is "The" Rolleiflex. I like the simplicty of the meter less body and non removable WLF hood.
I've owned a T with Tessar in the past and agree with you.... it's a great little camera.
My understanding is that there are some parts made of inferior materials in the T that are prone to failure. Thus the lower value.

For $525 that mint condition Xenotar E2 Igor has on offer is really quite a nice deal.
I've never read or heard that before. I've known several people that used them heavily including my uncle and I purchased one in the late 70's for the company I worked for and never known of one that needed a repair. Unless a service tech told me that the T had inferior parts I'd chalk it up to Internet chatter.

The T was between the F model and the chord as I understand it. I've never known the chord to be less durable than the F so why would the T be built any less ro set than the cheaper model?
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Old 12-26-2014   #10
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Don't get me wrong x-ray. The T is an excellent Camera. My comments were to why they bring less money only. Not a comment or opinion on that model.
I very much liked the T and got great results from it.
I had Karl Ehlers overhaul mine as it arrived DOA. After his work including a Maxwell screen, I used it for many rolls and great results before passing it on to someone here on RFF.
It was an excellent machine with that gorgeous Zeiss Tessar lens.
I could not quite get used to the placement of the shutter button.
It was at that just slightly different angle as compared to my D.
It caused me to stumble enough times to pass it on.


As to the source of my comments regarding value, Here is a quote from a very popular Rollei persons website.
I've read similar elsewhere. It's no big deal in my opinion. Inferior parts in a rollei being comparable to a forcasted cooling trend on the equator. Lows in mid mid 70's never really feels like a cooling trend.

Quote:
Rolleiflex T is a reasonably good camera when compared to a Rolleicord, or Yashicamat, however, it is a solid step below the Automat, and not even comparable to a Letter model. These cameras were cheapened consumer products that were meant to be discarded when worn. Now they have the Rolleiflex name on them, and people pay well into the 400 dollar range, which is about four times what they are worth. So, when it comes to fixing them, I have to take several hours and charge 120-150 dollars for a camera that will have a useful life of maybe a few more years, and that I cannot warranty for more than a few months. In short the insides are not up to Rollei standards, they have plastic parts and you the photographer should get an Automat instead; save money, and have a lifetime camera.
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Old 12-26-2014   #11
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I never heard the T was any less reliable than the rest, certainly not the POS that person makes it out to be. It was in between a flex and a cord in that it lacks the automatic film feeler mechanism, but does have the crank film-advance which also cocks the shutter. I recall reading that when they went to resurrect the flex for the GX model in the 90's they based it on the T's innards because supposedly the dies for the F had been destroyed after F&H went bankrupt in the 80's. And I've never heard bad things about the GX/FX in terms of build quality or reliability. That said, with the general decline of film camera prices I would look for a 50's-70's flex before considering either a T or a cord, as the flexes were the flagships.
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Old 12-26-2014   #12
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Find the best Rolleicord V or Va that you can, depending on whether or not you have a preference for left (Va) or right (V) side focus knob. As a starter Rollei you really cannot go wrong with a well cared for example of either.
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Old 12-26-2014   #13
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do any of the rolleiflex models allow the use of 220 film?
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Old 12-26-2014   #14
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Don't discount the 2.8C. If it's serviced, the two in the igorcamera list could be worth the price. The planar 2.8 is crazy sharp even wide open.
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Old 12-26-2014   #15
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Some users swear by the cult status of the 2.8C Xenotar with twelve aperture blades or so. I prefer the simplicity of the 2.8D with its sharp Olanar taking lens. I have had mine sonce 25 years now.
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Old 12-26-2014   #16
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do any of the rolleiflex models allow the use of 220 film?
Late versions of the F series and (I think) the G series accept 220.
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Old 12-26-2014   #17
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They also allow the use of 135mm film with an adapter, making the Rollei a great portrait camera.
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Old 12-26-2014   #18
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I have a Rolleicord Va, I'm somewhat put out by way the shutter is released. I would buy that one with the xenotar.
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Old 12-27-2014   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
Some users swear by the cult status of the 2.8C Xenotar with twelve aperture blades or so. I prefer the simplicity of the 2.8D with its sharp Olanar taking lens. I have had mine sonce 25 years now.
10 aperture blades, not 12.

I'm with many others, the E2 Xenotar 3.5 is a sweet camera.
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Old 12-27-2014   #20
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Yup, but it. Leave some money for film of course

If you find the flexes heavy, try a rolleicord.

Love my rolleicords and their xenar lenses. Perfect for portraits
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Old 12-27-2014   #21
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Here are some random thoughts, based on my collection of 40+ Rollei TLRs

3.5F. Lovely camera, but that coupled meter worries me - expensive to repair

3.5E. Lovely camera, cheaper and less complicated than the 3.5F

2.8F. Lovely camera. Too expensive, but once you buy a Rolleiflex you won't sleep at night until you get a 2.8F

2.8E. Lovely camera. The thinking person's cheaper alternative to the 2.8F

T. Lovely camera, especially in grey, but stories of those speed/aperture bands being a nightmare to replace worry me.

Automat. Lovely camera, but almost as old as I am.

Rolleicord Art Deco. Even older than I am, but lovely. How could anybody not want to own one?

Rolleicord Vb. Lovely camera. Simple, reliable.

Rolleimagic. Nasty
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Old 12-27-2014   #22
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Rolleiflex 3.5F (Planar type 3-4 or Xenotar)
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Old 12-27-2014   #23
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Quote:
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10 aperture blades, not 12.

I'm with many others, the E2 Xenotar 3.5 is a sweet camera.
This is why I added the words "or so"
Yes, you are correct. This model has ten blades.
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Old 12-27-2014   #24
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Here are a few thoughts based on owning a number of Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords, with all of the lenses offered in the standard models.
First, I would agree with the chorus here that the 3.5E, if in top shape (ie, not needing a CLA), is a nice deal and the best camera you are likely to get in the $500-550 range. I would note that this one appears to be a 3.5E, Type 2, which is different from the later 3.5E2. The latter has the removable finder, which makes changing the focus screen an easy job, usually not requiring resetting of the fcus. The 3.5E has the older fixed waist-level finder. You may very well find that you want to get a brighter screen than what typically went with the E models.
The Rolleiflex T is a nice camera, and the late version Tessar in that camera is the sharpest of its type that I used (ie, compared to the older Tessar of the MX-EVS and the Xenar of the Rolleicords). I had one overhauled by Krimar, and it was a really sweet camera. But he did tell me that if the shutter or aperture linkage bands broke, there were no replacements available. So I would want to make sure that those linkages work perfectly in any T I consider buying.
The Rolleicord Vb has the advantages of simplicity and somewhat lower cost compared to the Rolleiflexes. There is really very little to go wrong with these. If you get one, I would recommend trying to find the shutter release extension that sometimes came on these models. You might be able to find that extension on fleabay; it will definitely improve the ergonomics of firing the shutter on a Cord. For me, as nice a camera as a Rolleicord Vb was, once I had gotten used to the handling of a Flex, it was hard to go back to the Cord. YMMV.

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Old 12-27-2014   #25
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The Rolleiflex images are very special too me. I could look at such images for hours.
Maybe I should go back to my Rollei cameras.


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Old 12-27-2014   #26
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2.8D







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Old 12-27-2014   #27
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Tele Rollei





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Old 12-27-2014   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Find the best Rolleicord V or Va that you can, depending on whether or not you have a preference for left (Va) or right (V) side focus knob. As a starter Rollei you really cannot go wrong with a well cared for example of either.
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Curious as to why not a Vb. ....
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Old 12-27-2014   #29
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Those pictures are awesome, Raid.

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Old 12-27-2014   #30
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Rollei model t
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Old 12-27-2014   #31
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Those pictures are awesome, Raid.

Thanks.
I may go back to using MF film cameras.
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Old 12-27-2014   #32
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Those pictures are awesome, Raid.

Yes! Wonderful Raid!
Beautiful squares from your Rolleis
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Old 12-27-2014   #33
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Curious as to why not a Vb. ....
It's simple, really.

Unless you must have the ability to mount a prism, the Vb is quite simply over priced compared to the Va. Whenever the subject of getting a Rolleicord is raised, the lemmings invariably jump in to tell prospective buyers to "get a Vb!". Look, I have a Vb myself that I acquired reasonably cheaply a few years ago before prices went a bit silly, and, like the V & Va Rolleicord models, it is really a delightful camera, competent in every way. But it won't take better pictures than a Va which has the same specification 75mm f/3.5 Schneider Xenar lens, costs less, and is just as well made. If you are content (or even, prefer) to focus with your right hand, a Rolleicord V is that much cheaper again, and is also a marvellous camera. I have V, Va & Vb examples of the Rolleicord on hand at present, and they are all superb medium format cameras, although I confess my favourite is probably the V, as I find the soft EV coupling of the levers just a little easier to live with than the more insistent linking of the Va & Vb that needs the lever to be depressed to set the exposure. But I'm no fan of EV couplings at any time in any camera...

It always comes down to condition with these cameras nowadays, and price of course. Anybody who could choose between a so-so Vb and a schmicko Va at the same price, would be nuts to take the former. It's use, and care, that affect these cameras more than years spent on planet Earth. Just buy the best example you come across as a decent price. If that should happen to be a Vb, good for you. The reasons I mentioned the two specific models that I did was because, for the OP's budget, the safest way to acquire a really nice Rollei TLR is, without doubt, to source an excellent condition Rolleicord, as opposed to, Eg. a so-so E or F model Rolleiflex, that is likely to need some TLC (and will cost more when it gets it, than a Cord). The best Rolleicord Vbs regularly exceed the $500 threshold on eBay these days (and not just asking price, either, they actually sell for more than that--much more in some cases). Not that they cannot be found cheaper, they can, of course, but it's easier to procure a really sound V or Va for the OP's budget...
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Old 12-27-2014   #34
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Yes! Wonderful Raid!
Beautiful squares from your Rolleis
Thank you. I feel that using a Rollei pushes me to compose well as there are only 12 negatives per 120 roll of film.
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Old 12-27-2014   #35
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Thanks for that, Brett, I guess I have a V...
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Old 12-28-2014   #36
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Thank you. I feel that using a Rollei pushes me to compose well as there are only 12 negatives per 220 roll of film.
There must be something wrong with the film transport. You should be getting 24.
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Old 12-28-2014   #37
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There must be something wrong with the film transport. You should be getting 24.
I meant to type ...120 film.
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Old 12-28-2014   #38
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Anyone know if the Rollei's from Igor are CLA'd or if one needs to factor in the cost of a CLA on top of the purchase price?
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Old 12-28-2014   #39
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Some users swear by the cult status of the 2.8C Xenotar with twelve aperture blades or so.
Member of the 2.8 C Xenotar cult... and, well, it works for me.



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Old 12-28-2014   #40
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The word "mint" should be disregarded. It's used all-too-often to describe an item that doesn't have any visible marks. There are very few cameras that are "mint" - even the ones that are sold here and elsewhere.

If someone describes something as "mint" and then adds that they don't know much about it, you should expect a camera that might or might not work and probably will require some service before it can be used.
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