Discussion on Rolleiflex: 2.8 or 3.5? C/D or E/F?

Michael_Sergio_Barnes says:

I got a Rolleiflex 3.5T and just recently an MX-EVS and a Rolleinar/filter set. These cameras are addicting. I’m now wanting a Planar/Xenotar lens but I’m unsure on which models to pursue. I know condition is most important but the 3.5E/F seems to be the most popular models on the internet. Some say that they were built better than the C/D but others say that they were built just as well. I’m not sure.

1. Are there any reasons to not pursue the C/D cameras? I heard that one of those, forgot which model, is known as the bokeh king because the number of aperture blades.
2. Is the f3.5 just as sharp as the f2.8 at wide apertures?
3. What’s the going price for Bay II and Bay III Rolleinar I’s? doesn’t have any and ebay prices are erratic with these things.



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ddandan  Pro User  says:

1) Condition is key on any of these. By the time of the C, rollei had pretty well settled on most of the mechanicals. The C has those plastic rings around the shutter release and flash port, which really annoy some people. As you get into the later models, there are more and more interlocks and mechanical systems. Like the depth of field indicator on the late Es (or all Es?) and the coupled meter on Fs (or only some metered Fs?).

The 2.8C has the 10-bladed Synchro-Compur shutter. D and later have 5-bladed apertures. I am not certain about the 3.5C’s aperture, but they are pretty rare anyway.

Another issue is meter or not on later models. I find the extra bump for the meter annoying, but many people prefer the meter cameras. Selenium meters are often not working, though, and the plastic cover for the needle is often cracked.

By the way, the 2.8s are 80mm, the 3.5s are 75mm. Small difference, but it is a difference.

2) For all intents and purposes, yes. Sample variation and alignment (i.e., condition!) mean more than any design differences.


The main advantage to the Es and Fs is that they will be easier to resell. Other than that, get the one in the best condition with clean lenses.

To warn you, though, the lenses kick some serious a**. I have a 2.8C Xenotar and it has spoiled me. Most every other lens I use looks soft now.

Another place on the web that has a large number of Rollieflex people. Search through the forum, as this type of question comes up every month or so it seems. It also has a sales forum, with real people with real reputations, so it is much safer than ebay and such.
Originally posted 7 months ago. (permalink)
ddandan edited this topic 7 months ago. 

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brandon_montz says:

For the cost of a truly minty 2.8F you could buy two, maybe three D series. I purchased a 2.8D in mint condition for $800 a year ago. I have the Xenotar lens and I can’t see any real difference between it and the Planar.

Just beware that you will have to invest in separate filter types for both.
Posted 7 months ago. (permalink)

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roel 6×6  Pro User  says:

The image quality of the 2.8F is ever so slightly better than the 3.5F, but at a whopping perhaps not justified price difference. For filters and such your MX will be easiest and cheapest to find those for, Bay ll and Bay lll filters command stupid prices. Mechanically the T is the weakest of all the Rolleiflexes but you already have that one.
Posted 7 months ago. (permalink)

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Twinlensed says:

Well, I have always thought that the six element Planar f3.5 was the sharpest lens on the R-flexes by a very small margin. The difference between 3.5 and 2.8 versions and between Planar and Xenotar is minimal.

There are quite many things that can go wrong on an old Rolleiflex, and if you cannot check the camera yourself, I would recommend buying it from a respectable dealer.
Originally posted 7 months ago. (permalink)
Twinlensed edited this topic 7 months ago. 


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