Anyone here care to share their opinions of this classic MF film camera? Do you still use it? Would you recommend it?
Anyone here care to share their opinions of this classic MF film camera? Do you still use it? Would you recommend it?
I´ve owned and used a couple of them. The last one, a 2.8E with 2.8/80 Planar, still rests in my glass case. I really loved that camera; far preferred it to my Hasselblad with (nominally) the same lens: it was smaller, quieter, and allowed uninterrupted viewing during, and after, exposure.
Just a moment ago, I was reading Sigma´s brochure about the new Sigma DP2, and it made me think of my old Rollei: a decently small camera with a fixed "normal" lens that could do almost anything, backed by a large negative/sensor that gave excellent resolution and quality. With the Sigma, I´ve no experience, but the Rollei certainly delivered all that. If I ever return to film from digital, the Rollei will be the first of my cameras to get loaded.
OK, you´ve made me nostalgic; now I´ll try to give a few URL´s for more info.
Start with this one: http://photo.net/equipment/rollei/tlr
and this: http://www.siufai.dds.nl/Rollei_History.htm
and this: http://www.cosmonet.org/camera/rollei_e.htm
and this: http://www.rolleiclub.com/
just to get some sense of directions
Then Google along....
If I would recommend it? You bet!
Thank you Per! You are feeding my new found frenzy. Rollei owners seem to share a similar passion to Leica owners.
I've been contemplating a return to film and in this uncertain economy, the Rollei presents an economical path. Now if I can just muster the courage to go back and commit to film again!
Thanks for the links, I'll continue to read up on them.
p.s. Interested in selling yours?
I've owned a Rolleiflex for years - they are amazing cameras - such a simple, clever, well executed idea. I currently have a 2.8F with the Xenotar - I think it's my favorite configuration ever, although the last GX and FX models had very accurate and handy metering (LEDs at the base of the viewing screen). There are a bunch of goodies which have been made for them over the years - the Rolleinars make them excellent portrait cameras.
Have you tried eBay and Keh Camera Brokers? I believe that Harry Fleenor and Krikor Maralian, whom are both excellent repairmen of the Rollei mechanical cameras, sells TLR from time to time. Another excellent repairman and seller is Jimmy Koh of Koh Camera.
I have 2.8D Planar, 2.8E3 Xenotar, and 2.8F Planar. The Rolleiflex T is also another good camera that I use too as my light weight MF when I travel overseas.
Thanks gents! You're feeding my excitement. A little research on other forums confirms what you've said. And I have a call into a repairman/seller in NJ to see what he has available. eBay scares me for a product like this. There are so many models out there and some are quite old. I think buying from a trusted name will make me feel a bit more secure in my decision. Wish me luck!
Oh, and if anyone else (besides Per) has one they're willing to part with, you know where to find me.
Anyone have any scanner suggestions if I go the Rollei route? I just have a Nikon V and it won't scan anything but 35mm. I need to stay on a budget, please!
Oh, I hope Tim doesn't mind me popping into the thread. I know he is interested in the answer, too.
A scanner for anything bigger then a 35mm would be a personal choice in regards to what you want as a final end result.
It depends on how large you want the final image to be. More like the final end result for THAT use. Now if you have future plans for RE-Purposing that final scanned image, how would you approach that?
I have research the currently available consumer and professional scanners available. I choose to use a Kodak/Creo Eversmart flatbed scanner. These tend to weight at least 165 to 176 lbs. The other consumer grade scanners for MF are the Imacon series, Epson V-750 & the Nikon LS9000 Cool Scan. They are current scanners still being made. The professional scanners tend to be drum scanners and professional flatbed scanner such as the Kodak/Creo Eversmart and IQ line.
Here are Website links where you can research and ask questions:
Large Format Photography Forum
Scan Hi-End Forum on Yahoo!
Leafscan Scanner Forum on Yahoo!
WETMOUNTING · Fluid Mounting / Wet Mounting for Scanners on Yahoo!
I am quite sure that that are many others, but from these mentioned sites, you would be able to determine what your needs are to find the correct scanner for your work.
FWIW, during my "transition period" from film to digital, I scanned my medium format negs on an Epson flatbed. Perfectly doable, but didn´t come near to the true potential of the negs.
Resolution as such was OK, but the dynamic range was not, so the highlights were bad (I was a Zone System adherent, so this really hurt..). Also, there was a phenomenon known as "grain aliassing" (Google it; far too complicaded for me to try to explain...) that often resulted in apparent grain much bigger than the real film grain.
I´d say these difficulties were the last nails in the coffin for my silver film use... Looked like either keeping my wet darkroom for enlarging, or pay through the nose for a really good scanner. The third alternative was to go all digital, of course.
But, for anybody ready to use traditional methods all the way, a Rollei is a wonderful tool. If the world ever runs out of silicon....
I currently own and use a Rolleiflex 2.8F Xenotar. I also love (and stupidly sold) the 3.5E2 Xenotar for it's lack of meter and slightly smaller size.
If you go to my site and look under "travel", most of the b&w square were done with Rolleiflex cameras. I love it for traveling - most people have no idea what you are up to. The image quality equals if not rivals that of most modern alternatives. It draws like no other camera.
IMO everybody should shoot with a Rollei TLR at least once in their life. Alas, I don't use it as often as I used to, but plan on continuing a series of street portraits in Vietnam next time I go.
Do you have an idea as to what model (fixed focusing hood or removable focusing hood) and which version you are looking to get (2.8 or 3.5)?
Lens preferences of Carl Zeiss or Schneider?
Are you looking for a Super Nice camera to use once in awhile or a user of a camera?
That will help you set a price range and to target exactly which model/version you are seeking.
Have used many in y student days ,would love a new one but at 3300pounds out of my zone but if you can afford it Tim I dont think youll lose on it in the future.Im looking for a "baby rollieflex" in good condition which wil fit in a coat pocket and is one of the most charming cameras Ive ever played with,it takes 127 film which is still available.
Last edited by nei1; 4th March 2009 at 23:05.
After just a couple of days of research, I had landed on a general idea that I wanted a 2.8F. And yes, I want this to be a camera I can use and count on. Nice condition as far as looks go is not as important, but an accurate shutter and a lens that's adjusted to specs is kind of key. Turns out that the 2.8F is considered by many to be the "top-of-the-line." Story of my life. And, in spite of what folks say about how many are available, I'm not finding all that many myself.
At this point, I'd consider C, D, E(E3), or T models with a preference for the Planar and ideally a 2.8. I'm not interested in the GX or FX models or ones that are rare or special editions. There are lots of collectors out there and prices for those tend to be more than I'm willing to pay for a camera that's likely to get used and not just perched on a shelf.
This is yet another deep world built on years of manufactured models with the confusing combination of user ratings and specs that goes along with it. The good news is that unless I end up with a total dog that's badly in need of service, almost any of them will perform well. At least that's what I'm hearing from the Rollei lovers. Sheesh, I thought Leica was a deep morass!
Funny that you should mention going the 2.8 route over the 3.5.
For years, I read and heard from many old time users that the 3.5 was sharper then the 2.8 and was just as good if not better.
For me, it was always a choice as a kid. My uncle was a camera buff who introduce me to the world of Zeiss Optics through his Hasselblad 1000F & 500C, Rolleiflex 2.8C, and Contaflex 35mm.
I'm not sure if you were aware of the constant improvement of the optics going from the 2.8C up to the 2.8E2.
The 2.8E3 (Rare) were made after the initial 2.8F. Starting from the 2.8F, I found that color signature was different then the earlier 2.8. The 2.8F and forward models, were sharper and had more color contrast and brillance over the older models.
Granted the older models had a very unique look to its image. The bokeh and color rendition had that 1950's Retro Look. If possible, try to start out with at least the 2.8D, as it did not have the plastic locking tabs on the EVS and shutter speed button. From the 2.8D to the 2.8E3, these cameras were quite similar to each other with the exception of the later removable waist level finder. I would guess that the 3.5 models were similar in its progression of improvement like the 2.8 models.
I base it on your statement that you would rather have a 2.8 Planar over a 3.5 Planar? You can always try the Rolleiflex T ( I have that I will send it to Harry Fleenor). I read that the optics used a rare lanthanum glass in its optics.
Here is an article about it from another website that I think you would find
Serial # 2100000-2199999 from 1958-66. About 99000? made. Grey and black versions. 75mm Tessar 3.5 lens or Opton 75/3.5 lens. Meter optional. Synchro-Compur MXV shutter 1/500 to 1, B. Rollei expert Alex Pearlman remarks that the Tessar on the Rolleiflex T utilizes Lanthanum glass for improved resolution and color correction. Detachable hood, improved focus screen. Heidosmat 75mm F2.8 viewing lens. Bay I.
Thanks for the info Evanjoe610!
I am such a novice with these cameras that my preference for the 2.8 was based strictly on the slightly faster lens and without any real knowledge of the quality.
I do get a lot of suggestions for the T. I'm just not finding them out there for sale. My situation is complicated by the fact that I need to have a good working model by the end of this month, so no time to buy and have CLA'd.
Most of the well-known names handling Rolleiflex have a few for sale, but they're either rare collectables and expensive, or the GX/FX model which I really don't want. I've got a few different avenues of inquiry open, but so far nothing has presented itself as the "one" for me.
I suggested the Rolleiflex 3.5T model as a good and more modern way to approach a Rolleiflex. The 2.8s and anything from 3.5E2,E3 and F would cost you an arm and a leg. I guess that not being in the market for another Rolleiflex, I would not be the best person regarding prices. I checked eBay and see that the prices are a bt high and not so many TLRs as previously.
Another choice for an inexpensive way into the Rolleiflex TLR world is an MX.
The Rolleiflex MX is a similar camera as the Rolleiflex T, just made earlier.
It would have the same similar characteristics as the T's optic which is a Tessar 3.5.
I'm not sure what your budget is, but did you check Koh's Camera & LeCamera? Just not sure if it is guarantee NOT to require a CLA. You could always ask...
If I come across any leads, I will PM you if that is the best way.
I have had a Rolleiflex GX, which I sold because it was no better than a Rolleiflex C that I still have, but my favourite Rollei is my Rolleicord V (with a maxwell screen): it is smaller, lighter, just as well built and optically as proficient as the 'flexes (I don't enlarge beyond 12x12"), and a good deal cheaper.
i have a rolleicord #1,195,684, 3.5 Schneider, Model III, 1920-1953. with leather case, (case a bit rough)
in working order, not too bad cosmetically. you could have it for $100.
also a rolleiflex 3.5F, T2225647, 3.5 Tessar, 3.5F Model 1, 1958-1960 in excellent shape, with lens hood! this one is $500
Wooohoooo Tim ..... Lovely Offer Jim
To Light & Love
helen: don't you want the rolliecord?
man...dug out my rollei's cleaned them up a bit...got all wistful. but now Tim needs something else.
now i just need to find some Tri-x 120
Maybe that's not such a bad thing. We may have the beginnings of a movement here!
I'm still in pursuit (sorry it wasn't a perfect fit JLM) and lining up the other ducks... I found darkroom space I can rent (very hard to find out here in the puckerbrush). I'm pretty excited about my re-entry to film.
Don't get a T (tessar). An F isn't that much more (the price of a new 35mm prime lens) and you'll be shooting with much better glass. And don't discount the Xenotar over the Planar. Many feel that the Xenotar is actually the better lens, plus you'll typically save about 30%. Always worked for me.
And budget in a bright screen. Makes it a very modern camera.
Thanks for the advice charlesphoto. I am planning to have a Maxwell screen installed at some point (assuming deal for the 2.8F goes through). Do you have a preferred repair guy?
I highly recommend the Rolleiflex 3.5F, with either Planar or Xenotar lens. Personally, I prefer the 75mm focal length than the 80mm, although 75mm is not that much wider. I have been using an 3.5F, with Zeiss lens, for over 15 years now. It is one of my favorite cameras. Very easy and fun to use and it has an almost 'silent' shutter. The 75/3,5 Zeiss Planar lens is extremely sharp. You should be able to find a copy between $600-$800. Also, a bright screen will help a great deal. I have been using my 3.5F more and more last year - really go back to film!
Regarding the scanner, I have been using the Nikon 9000ED since it came out. I am very happy with it. To get the best scanning results, the glass film carriers, which Nikon makes two, should be considered. Since I mount most of my slides in Gape glass mounts for projection, I have not had a need to use the Nikon's glass carriers. Nikon does provide a film carrier for mounted MF slides.
Thanks Ocean! I think if I wasn't under a certain amount of time pressure I'd do some more research and some more shopping. But unless the offer I've made on the 2.8F is rejected, that will be the one. And since I'm not one to buy and sell a lot, it's likely to be the only one!
You will enjoy using the 2.8F. I highly recommend that you install a Maxwell screen at some point.
Yes, I find the maxwell screen essential. Even with a maxwell screen, my 3.5E is still quite dim and requires the magnifier to focus. Mine is not in the greatest condition (it was an ebay bargain), but Nippon Photo Clinic brought it back to working condition. To be honest, I don't use it very much. I like the look, but I prefer either using the hasseblad or mamiya. It is definitely small and has a nice lens (to be honest, it's nicer in bokeh than it is in resolution), but I find it awkward to use and the results are not up to the mamiya or FE glass. I view it more as a novelty. Anyway, not trying to ruffle any feathers, I just wanted to add a mildly dissenting view to keep things balanced!
I have it mind to get the Maxwell installed, I've only heard great things about it.
And I understand a dissenting view. I may even come to share it. But for now my excitement is high. I like the silent shutter and the simplicity of owning a one-lens-only rig. I think a certain amount of conditioning and pigeon-holing is going on for me regarding the Hasselblad. I only ever seemed to use it in the studio, and then on a tripod. I hated the mirror slap and blackout. It was a beautiful thing though. A precision instrument built like a tank and I gave it serious consideration recently before deciding on the Rollei. In the end, the Rollei provides me with an elegant return to film. The one camera that appealed to me enough to jump back through the associated hoops.
Time will tell.
If your offer on a 2.8F doesn't work out, I have a 3.5F just back from Harry Fleenor that I might be willing to part with. I haven't even totaled up what I've got in it, but that wouldn't take long to do.
It's an interesting camera. It was made in 1961, is metered and has the prism viewer which gives an upright and non reversed image. Harry did a complete overhaul complete with with all the subtle adjustments to bring it to factory specs (he worked for Rollei, bought out all their calibrating equipment when they closed down operations in the USA and has had over 40 years of experience with their cameras. He installed a Maxwell screen and replaced all the leather, too. He says the lens on this one is particularly fine. I also have the not easily found leather case that's made for the camera with the prism finder mounted and it's in excellent shape as well. I do not, however, have the more usual alternative folding finder, only the prism finder, but those aren't hard to come by.
I haven't yet put even one roll of film through it but find myself with more on my plate than I can completely handle right now, and so am reluctantly willing to consider its sale.
All the best,
That sounds terrific! My deal is still pending since the owner is obligated to give a first refusal to an interested party who began negotiations before I arrived on the scene. So I may still lose it. Meanwhile, I've been looking for alternatives. Yours sounds great. If you have the energy and want to calculate a price, please send it to me via PM here on the forum.
found differing callouts based on the serial number. the first data was from siufai site, the below from the rollei club: the ser# makes it to be the K8 T3, made from 1966-1976
"Rolleiflex T, Models 1 -3
1. Model K8 T1
October 1958 - June 1961, 56,000 pieces with gray leather
Serials: T2.100.00 - T2.155.999
1A. Model K8 T24*
June 1961, only 250 pieces, gray
Serials: T2.156.000 - T2.156.249
3. Model K8 T2
July 1961 - July 1966, 43.000 pieces, black leather
Serials: T2.157.000 - T2.199.999
4. Model K8 T3**
July 1966 - August 1976, 28,000 pieces, black leather
Serials: T2.200.000 - T2.320.449
Tessar 3,5/75mm, for eastern Europe: Opton Te 3,4/75mm, both by Zeiss Oberkochen, Bayonet 1
Zeiss Heidosmat 2,8/75mm, Bayonet 1
Synchro Compur MXV, 1 - 1/500 sec., B, X-sync., self timer.
Film: 120 for 12 exp. 6x6, also (from # 2.151.000 only) 16 exp. 4.5x6 or 4x4 and 35mm adapter Rolleikin 2. Special order: taking 220 film for 12 or 24 exposures.
Film Transportation: winding lever, film marker in film chamber, exposure counter for exposures 1-12. Blank film pressure plate.
Can come with or without built on exposure metering.
Weight: 1,020 grams.
Can not be used with Rolleimarin.
*Model K8 T24: Special order, only prepared for exposure metering, 12 or 24 exposures 6x6.
**Model K8 T3: Synchro Compur VX shutter 1 - 1/500 sec., B, X-sync., self timer."
Tim,Cindy, http://www.antiquecameras.net/rolleiflexbuyingtip.html ,dont know if youve already bought but this is a good tip that might help.
Thanks nei1, good resource.
To close the loop on this thread, I've just finalized a deal on a Rolleiflex 2.8F. The camera is pristine and I couldn't be more excited. While it wasn't the least expensive sample I found, the cost pales in comparison to any of the digital MF systems that had begun to tempt me. Therefore, I have rationalized this as an example of thrift in our "new" economy.
It worked with my wife, see no reason to think it can't work for you too! And by the way Cindy, don't you have a little something to share too?
Yes, I must confess! I have a F2.8 on the way (pic below from seller), too. It is not a shelf-queen like Tim's, but I'm looking forward to putting my user through her paces. I'll have to get my scanner situation sorted before I can post.
Thanks to everyone who posted the good info and links on this thread....much appreciated.
Congratulations to both Tim and Cindy,
Both cameras are a beauty to behold and you would be more then please to work with such a fine mechanical camera. I personally like the 2.8s over the 3.5. Many photographers had said that the 3.5 is sharper and that is true. However in dim lighting condition,the final end result will show the smooth bokeh of the 2.8.
Look for the many accessories for these cameras such as the Rolleipol (polarizer filter), pistol grip with quick release, scissor strap, meter cover (if your is still active and somewhat accurate),rolleinar (closeup lenses for portraits) and the Rollei filters. B+W and Heliopan makes filters for the entire Bay 1 to Bay 4 filters for the Rolleiflex TLR. The polarizer filter are available, but are very expensive.
Good luck and happy shooting.
you will love these babies. it is such a treat to dive into that ground glass, makes any other camera look like a peep show. that soft shutter click is super.
now go out and get some 2-1/4 tanks and film rolls, HC-110 and tri-x. you may need a practice film roll until you get used to loading onto the reel in a changing bag
maybe i'll post a pic of my 3.5 with its cute hood...