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Authorized Rollei service available
Old 07-11-2017   #1
x-ray
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Authorized Rollei service available

A week and a half ago I purchased a very nice Rollei 3.5F from an antique dealer. Cosmetically it had a little mildew on the leather but no dents and the glass was perfect. It had the original case plus two filters and two Rolleinar's.

Another plus was it wasn't used professionally. It had the last roll shot in it which was a roll of Kodacolor X. Kodacolor x I think was discontinued in 1972 so the camera hadn't been used in 45 years. I did process the film in HC110 but to my dismay the images didn't reveal the real assasin of John Kennedy. There were 3 frames shot at a 1960's craft show of ceramics in Oak Ridge TN. Darn! I'm guessing the camera hadn't seen much use.

The shutter didn't work but was trying to fire and the focus was stiff. The good part is I picked it up for $75. I cleaned it up and the case and it looks really good now. No damage was done fortunately. I worked the shutter hoping to free it up but no luck.

I considered the usual techs that everyone recommends but didn't want to wait 6-12months. At Christmas I bought a used Focomat from eBay and it turned out to be in Smyrna Ga which is just a few hours from where I live. I decided to drive down and get it and save shopping. It turned out to be at Camera Service Company in Smyrna. I found out they're an authorized Nikon and Rollei service center.

I shipped the camera to them and received a quote of just under $400 for a total overhaul and CLA. It's not as cheap as I'd liked but in line with the other tech and I'll have it back in 1-2 weeks.

Two good sources to add to the Rollei service list, Camera Service Company in Smyrna Ga and Paul Ebel.

I'll post when it arrives.
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Old 07-11-2017   #2
FujiLove
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For anyone looking to have their Rollei serviced in Europe, I can recommend either Brian Mickleboro or Miles Whitehead in the UK. Brian has serviced Rollei equipment for me in the past, and Miles has fixed Mamiya 7 gear and lenses. Both provide a fantastic service at reasonable cost (much cheaper than the above) and have always turned jobs around within a fortnight for me.
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Old 07-11-2017   #3
f16sunshine
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$400 for a complete overhaul is not bad in this day.
As scarcity goes up so do prices. The scarcity in this case being the knowhow.
I'm thankful these folks are out there and motivated to provide the service.
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Old 07-11-2017   #4
KoNickon
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So you'll have a lightly used 3.5F for under $500 -- seems like a pretty good deal to me!
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Old 07-11-2017   #5
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Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
So you'll have a lightly used 3.5F for under $500 -- seems like a pretty good deal to me!
Yes I'm happy. Also the meter worked too. I'm not sure how accurate it is but I'm expecting them to calibrate it too.

Once in a while new or nearly new cameras come along. I found a new Baby Deardorff, not a 4x5 special but a true 4x5, in an antique store. It appeared to never have had a film holder in it. It came with a case, 5 or 6 new-in-the-wrapping Graflex wooden holders and a new looking 210 Tessar in an Ilex shutter. The odd thing was there were only 500 of these made and the last was in 1945. Why would something like this suddenly appear in an antique store?

For a short time between jobs a friend hired me as a salesman in a camera store back in the early 70's. It was around Christmas and I was filling in at the main store downtown. A priest came into the store and one of the owners waited on him. He had a paper grocery bag with quite a few nice cameras. A woman in the church whose husband had passed away twenty years earlier had given the cameras to the church. The priest wanted something he could understand and use and wanted to trade them on it. I remember there being two Balda cameras and several others. At the bottom of the bag was a beautiful clamshell case marked Leica. The owner of the store opened this beautiful velvet lined case and inside was a like-new Leica IIIF RD ST with a 50 Summicron on it. Inside the camera was a partially shot roll of Kodachrome ASA 10 film.

The story about the cameras was the owner passed away the week he bought the Leica and never completed the roll. Sad!

As to the transaction, The clerk / one of the owners, jumped at the chance to get the cameras. He was a scurvy rat that would fleece his mother out of her last dime. Well, he pulled a bottom-of-the-line Pentax out from under the counter, memory fails as to the model (K1000?), and convinced the Priest to trade everything in the bag plus $135 cash for the Pentax. I do remember the price was list, meaning he got the cameras and took them home and sold the priest a camera at list price. Not sure I could have done that one.
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Old 08-11-2017   #6
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I'm sad to report about the CLA Camera Service Co did on my Rollei. I finally had a chance to really check it out and discovered the latches that hold the focusing hood on weren't under tension and not holding the hood on. When I shipped it off it was working properly. To find out what was wrong I removed the hood and slid the focusing screen frame back and opened the mirror box. I noticed the mirror was covered with 45 years of dirt just as I had shipped it to them. they hadn't touched the mirror at all. Now looking around to try and diagnose the latch problem I noticed two small bronze coiled springs in the bottom of the mirror housing. I dumped them in my hand and set them aside. I went to the internet and found a diagram of that assembly and discovered they were the springs that kept tension on the latches. I first cleaned the mirror and then took a small screw driver and removed the top assembly. I carefully inserted the tiny springs and then reassembled the camera.

Next I checked the lens, There had been quite a bit of residue in it and found it was still there. All the tech had done was clean the outer surfaces.

To their credit the counter was fixed and the shutter works great but the overall job was less than I expected for the $400 they charged.
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Old 08-11-2017   #7
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I'm sad to report about the CLA Camera Service Co did on my Rollei. I finally had a chance to really check it out and discovered the latches that hold the focusing hood on weren't under tension and not holding the hood on. When I shipped it off it was working properly. To find out what was wrong I removed the hood and slid the focusing screen frame back and opened the mirror box. I noticed the mirror was covered with 45 years of dirt just as I had shipped it to them. they hadn't touched the mirror at all. Now looking around to try and diagnose the latch problem I noticed two small bronze coiled springs in the bottom of the mirror housing. I dumped them in my hand and set them aside. I went to the internet and found a diagram of that assembly and discovered they were the springs that kept tension on the latches. I first cleaned the mirror and then took a small screw driver and removed the top assembly. I carefully inserted the tiny springs and then reassembled the camera.

Next I checked the lens, There had been quite a bit of residue in it and found it was still there. All the tech had done was clean the outer surfaces.

To their credit the counter was fixed and the shutter works great but the overall job was less than I expected for the $400 they charged.
Sorry to hear the experience was less than overwhelmingly positive. You've already sorted the mirror, but if you have access to a lens spanner or can contrive a tool for the notches at the front, you can unscrew the front group easily enough to clean the rear surface. With the shutter set to Bulb and f/3.5, using the shutter release lock, with a little care you may also clean the front surface of the rear group through the shutter without having to extract the rear mount from the shutter also. Otherwise it sounds like you now have a great 3.5F for a bargain price overall—although I don't think the repair costs were a bargain by any stretch of the imagination...
Cheers,
Brett
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Old 08-11-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Sorry to hear the experience was less than overwhelmingly positive. You've already sorted the mirror, but if you have access to a lens spanner or can contrive a tool for the notches at the front, you can unscrew the front group easily enough to clean the rear surface. With the shutter set to Bulb and f/3.5, using the shutter release lock, with a little care you may also clean the front surface of the rear group through the shutter without having to extract the rear mount from the shutter also. Otherwise it sounds like you now have a great 3.5F for a bargain price overall—although I don't think the repair costs were a bargain by any stretch of the imagination...
Cheers,
Brett
There aren't any notches in the front ring but I've used a rubber stopper before to remove the cells. Once I get them out I shouldn't have any problem removing the front element and cleaning it. I've done this on a Xenar Rolleicord and not too worried about doing it on the Planar. If I need to I can send it to Paul Ebel.

I felt the price was good if they'd done what they were asked to do but for what they actually did it was a ripoff.
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Old 08-11-2017   #9
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Sorry to hear about your experience, and yeah, you got ripped off.

This is the reason that places like Fleenor have a 6 month wait. My full CLA was I think $350 for my 2.8E.
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Old 08-11-2017   #10
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Cameraworks in Latham NY has done a nice job on Rolleis for me.
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Old 08-11-2017   #11
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I used to use Jimmy Koh with my SL66's but he retired. Jimmy was head of Bronica service and believe he was Rollei factory trained.

I decided since I spent that much money I'm going to send it back down to get it completed. I've spoken with them and they're going to do it right this time. They're promising it back within the week and picking up the shipping.

The work they did was fine but the problem was they skipped over things I requested done. They're certainly capable of doing it right but I'm guessing the tech was in a hurry.

Let's see what happens.

Thanks for all your support!
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Old 08-11-2017   #12
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Smart move sending it back.
You might consider including a link to this thread.

Hopefully they get it right.
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Old 08-11-2017   #13
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Please keep us informed on how they do the second time. I just shipped off my Rolleicord Vb to Harry Fleenor for an overhaul and installation of a Maxwell screen. I will get the camera back in 4.5 mos. Pretty expensive, but I really like the camera and plan on using it as my travel TLR. I keep hoping to find a good serviceman for less $$$ though.
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Old 08-11-2017   #14
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What work they did they did an excellent job on. the problem was they skipped over half of what I wanted done and didn't reassemble the upper frame properly that had the hood locks in it. I figure I live close enough to go down and stand over them if I need to. I'm less than three hours away.

To their credit they were very nice about it and sent a shipping label and promised to do it right this time and have it back within the week. I'll revise my comments if they get it right and will give them another chance on my F100 meter. If not I'll send a link as Andy suggested.

Steve, the Vb is a great camera. Everything from the V up was super. My brother has our dad's V that he bought in 55. I had a 55 vintage V as well. I shot a lot of nice work on jobs with our dad's V. They're so light and compact and the Xenar is excellent.
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Old 08-11-2017   #15
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I am enjoying reading this thread.

I suggest (one might say, IMHO} there are a number of levels to which an (undamaged, merely old) camera can be "serviced", "CLA'd", or brought up to "spec".

An undamaged camera, a Rollei TLR,let us say in the present example, well treated, but that has spent a decade or two in a dresser drawer, will need a bit of attention before it is a reliable actor/partner/instrument/(your noun goes here) in the field. The lubricants on the moving parts will have become gummy and many of the optical surfaces (read viewfinder optics as well) will have accumulated haze/fog/mist (how does that stuff get in there, one might ask).

A straightforward cleaning by a competent camera shop will clean and replace the shutter lubricants, remove the haze from the viewfinder, and provide new lubricant to moving parts. Cost - $150-200 in an honest, competent shop (my favorite is Cameraworks in Latham, NY). The camera returned to you will be a jewel that will serve you well for years.

Then there are the shops/artisans/true craftsmen that virtually reconstruct the camera, tearing it down completely, and returning it to the user in an "is as almost never used state". If you can afford this level of service (at a cost greater than I've mentioned above}, go for it. The camera will be perfect in every way.

My point here is that a clean camera that requires only a proper/thorough shutter cleaning/relubrication and removal of muck from the viewfinder optics can be brought to full functionality for something less than the cost and time delay required by a celebrity camera shop.

Good light to all.
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