By Paul Chin (paul1513); self created; block diagrams of the Zeiss Tele- and Wide-Angle Mutar afocal photographic lens attachments for Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex cameras.
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? keh.com doesn’t have any and ebay prices are erratic with these things.
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.
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.
roel 6×6 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.
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.
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As with lessor known Japanese rangefinders, I also have an interest in Japanese TLRs from the 1950′s. The Yashica and Minolta’s are the most common and famous, but there are scores of others, many somewhat obscure, and many of good quality. The Kalloflex is among these. It is a product of Kowa and appeared in about 1954 and was sold through about 1957. Kowa went on to make medium format history more than a decade later with the excellent Kowa 6, 66 SLR system, a competitor to the Hasselblad and Bronica systems.
This vintage Japanese TLR is distinguished from many of its fellows by a four element taking lens, crank wind, and very serious build quality (it’s a heavy little beast). Four elements is a good indicator of optical quality, as many of its brethren were three element astigmat designs – not necessarily poor optically, but not capable of a critical degree of correction at open apertures. The collectors have discovered this camera now, and good ones seem to sell for at least $200 on the old auction site.
With Google one can find some short articles on the Kalloflex and a manual on the Butkus site. The 75mm F3.5 Prominar lens is said to be very sharp and I concur. My copy is in great condition and the camera is a real pleasure to useand it feels very solid, unlike some other early Japanese TLR’s (although I still like most all of them). The Kalloflex uses Bay-1 accessories like many Rollei models, which is very handy.
We often think of cameras like the Kalloflex as being inexpensive these days, but in 1957 it listed for $120 USD, which is $920 in 2010. Thus quality is expected! By reference the Yashica Mat listed for $75, or about $575 USD in 2010. One would expect better performance and construction quality from a Kalloflex compared to a Yashica Mat, and I think this is the case. This is not to criticize the Yashica Mat (a worthy TLR if there ever was one), but more to emphasize the point that the Kalloflex as was a darn serious camera engineering effort for the time.
The Kalloflex has one interesting quirk, that was not obvious to me until I read the manual more carefully: If one is to use the 1/500′th shutter speed setting, it must be set before advancing the film. I have been told by others that this was a common trait on Seikosha-Citizen shutters at the time.
As with lessor known Japanese rangefinders, I also have an interest in Japanese TLRs from the 1950’s. The Yashica and Minolta’s are the most common and famous, but there are scores of others, many somewhat obscure, and many of good quality. The Kalloflex is among these. It is a product of Kowa and appeared in about 1954 and was sold through about 1957. Kowa went on to make medium format history more than a decade later with the excellent Kowa 6, 66 SLR system, a competitor to the Hasselblad and Bronica systems.
This vintage Japanese TLR is distinguished from many of its fellows by a four element taking lens, crank wind, and very serious build quality (it’s a heavy little beast). Four elements is a good indicator of optical quality, as many of its brethren were three element astigmat designs – not necessarily poor optically, but not capable of a critical degree of…
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