So Rolleiflexes...

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by cigrainger, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    As you guys know, I've been on a hunt for a medium format camera. I had the chance to play with an old Rolleiflex (3.5 Planar I think) a few days ago, and wow, I got the TLR bug. It feels like one of the perfect street photography cameras due to the combination of a waist-level finder and separate viewing lens. I think people take vintage cameras like a Rollei less seriously and don't realize that when you're looking down and fiddling with it you could be taking their picture. I think they think you're trying to figure out how to work the thing!

    Anyway, I was thinking about getting maybe a 2.8, either Planar or Xenotar, and an average meter to wear around my neck.

    I've heard they provide some of the best optics/image quality, and from my short chance to play with one, they feel like a pleasure to use.

    Any recommendations? Experiences? More information? I'm thinking about getting one from KEH in BGN condition.
     
  2. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    mmmm . . . yeah i bought a mamiya slr, and sometimes wish i had a waist level finder.

    true people will be so much less apprehensive or you . . . unless they see you looking down into it maybe.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    My first serious camea was a rollicord. I made a lot of money with that 75 buck camera.

    I don't know people will most likely be curious and might even ask you about it. I find that people either are fascinated and glad to pose for my antique cameras or ignore me completely as some kind of madman.
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Are you still in the US? If not I'm curious about why buy from KEH. None of my business of course, just wondering.

    While most film gear is massively dropping in price, the Rolleis (or the ones I've seen) tend to keep a relatively high price. If you're looking for something similar but for less then the most common suggestion is a Yashica (specifically a Yashicamat), however because they have a reputation as a good value TLR their prices actually stay fairly high... I can certainly recommend a Minolta Autocord, which has a great lens, but many other Japanese optics companies also produced good TLRs. A particularly good option is the Mamiyaflex series, which offer interchangeable lenses (though at a cost in both weight and price). I'm not trying to put you off a Rollei of course, just giving some alternatives which may be significantly cheaper.

    By the way you may be right about the TLR being a good street photography camera... but personally I almost always use mine with a tripod and spend a fair bit of time setting up the shot. People may just think you're trying to figure out how to work it - possibly because you are ;)... by which I mean that if you are used to shooting with an SLR, rangefinder etc then it can take a while getting used to the reversed image on a TLR's waist-level finder. Of course you may be quicker at adapting than me, but that's just my experience.

    As for recommendations, well there's a couple above but in general I can only give the following recommendation: Get a TLR. Even if it's only for the 6x6cm square negatives.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    about the cheapest of the tlrs I would recommend is the ricohflex. I owned one years ago and it was quite satisfactory. I recently bought one of those beautyflex things same as the graflex 22 and it was pretty awful. I had to pretty much rebuild it before I oculd use it and then found the lens was too soft to do anything but maybe portraits for which a tlr isn't my first choice.
     
  6. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info guys. I am still in the states right now, and will be a few more weeks. It's definitely cheaper to buy over here than in the UK.

    I've not heard the best things about the Yashicamats, but is the Rolleiflex T a good value? I see you can typically get one for a bit less than the non-metered Planars/Xenotars. I've always heard the Tessars are incredible lenses, no? I mean, you get one less half stop but hrmm. Oh, and how do you guys feel about the Mamiya C330s? I've heard they're wayyyy heavier but still nice to use, and the interchangeable lenses are supposed to be great.

    As for the use of the camera, I definitely would be using it for more than just street photography. I want to be able to do landscape photography as well, cityscape, that kind of stuff. I'd be using it with a tripod a lot. I just figured it would serve well in both situations.

    I hope I can get used to the reversed image quickly.
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I had the mamiya 220 which is the same camera more or less and I loved it. yes it's heavy but thats actually a good thing. Dampens camers shake.
     
  8. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    I've been using a Yaschica A and it's worked well. However, I prefer to work with a wide angle lens and I've considered a mamiya tlr or a kiev.
     
  9. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I think i must have owned half the camera in the world over my thirty years in behind the lens. I had a 6c which was a knock off of the pentagon 6. Was a mamouth 6x6 on a giant 35mm inspired body. It actually worked quite well for the short amount of time I used it.

    I have heard more negatives about the 88 than the 6c
     
  10. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    There's a lot more to go wrong with the 80 and 88 mainly because it has changable backs. The mechanics are more complicated than the 60 or 645. Then again, I have heard of similar problems with Hassleblad. In the meanwhile, I'll save for the kiev 60 kit from kievusa.
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Yep :grumpy:

    I don't know what you heard but I certainly wouldn't agree - the Yashica Mats are well built and have very good lenses (the Yashinons anyway)... there is one criticism I can think of, namely that their price is kept up because everyone knows about them.

    Yes and yes :) they would not be my choice for a camera to carry around and use handheld. But assuming I was using a tripod I personally would choose a Mamiya kit over most of the alternatives.
     
  12. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the info guys. As is I think I'm going to get a no meter 2.8 E Planar off KEH in BGN condition. I've heard nothing but the best about KEH and nothing but the best about the 2.8 Planar lenses. From my understanding they're supposed to be the "best" non-metered Rolleiflexes (I put best in quotations because it's obviously subjective). I figure I have the money right now so why not get the best one possible and keep it forever. :D
     

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