I was reading RFF forum this moring and saw an good write-up on comparison between 2.8c and 2.8e, as well as xenotar and planar lens.
If you are in the midst of deciding on whether to get a 2.8c or 2.8e, this post would be very helpful.
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus HarrisiiI don’t think this is correct.
I have never seen a 2.8D with the plastic locks. Every image I have ever seen of one has metal types. My own D has these also. It’s not uncommon for Cs to have one or both missing; my own C does not have the PC connector lock. I have wondered how hard it would be to reproduce these but I suspect the cost of tooling up for a high quality replacement of a limited run of items would put people off price wise.
The C is better value for money. It’s also a historically significant model for Rollei.
What are the finest lenses Rollei ever fitted to their TLRs? I don’t want to start a flame war between Tessar/Xenar owners and others, because, honestly, I have never met a Rollei TLR I couldn’t love at first sight–but most would respond that the Xenotar and Planar lenses are the best of the best. Well, both these lenses debuted on the 2.8C model Rolleiflex.
I think the out of focus effects of all the lens and shutter types, from what I have seen, are wonderful, but I do confess I like the way the shutter of the C renders any out of focus highlights as circles, instead of pentagons.
Do you want a built in light meter? I prefer without, personally, and usually incident meter with a hand held meter. The E models have a cover plate for the meter cell if a meter isn’t fitted to a particular camera. One of the things I like about the older models like the B, C & D is that because meters were not fitted, they have a simple “Rolleiflex” plate in front of the viewfinder assembly. I therefore feel that, aesthetically, they are the most beautiful Rolleiflexes. Maybe the D, with those aforementioned chrome metal locks, is the prettiest of all?
Functionally, other differences between the two include the EV system, which is fitted to the D & E model but not the C.
The Synchro Compur shutter fitted to the C is a Compur Rapid type with booster spring for 1/500. There are several implications in practical use as a result of this. Firstly, it’s a reliable shutter. However it’s not possible to select, or de-select, the maximum speed after the camera has been wound and the shutter is cocked. In use it is not a major problem, because the C model was also the first to be fitted with double exposure capability. I have had to train myself not to wind my C on after shooting. If, in the rare instance I need to change on or off of 1/500, I simply stop the lens down to f/22, fire the shutter with the taking lens covered, and use the double exposure release to cock the shutter again after I have re-set it. So there is a work around, but, it is important not to try to adjust on or off 1/500 if it is cocked because it can damage the shutter.
Secondly, and also related to 1/500, you mustn’t set the self timer with 1/500 selected. It will lock the shutter up. Because I do some landscape I will often use the timer to trip the shutter without bumping the camera, so maybe I use a timer more than some. During my first roll with it, I set the timer with 1/500 selected and the timer wouldn’t release, and the shutter wouldn’t trip. I ended up disregarding my own advice, and shifted the shutter speed down to 1/250 (against the not-insubstantial tension from the booster spring) so I could free the shutter. Luckily, I got away with it but it’s not recommended. In any event, unless you need a group portrait in full sun, 1/500 should never be required with timer, but, FYI–it will lock the shutter up.
The last point regarding the C shutter installation is that, it does indeed feature a wonderful ten bladed aperture which keeps the lens opening nearly perfectly round at all stops. However. It also uses the “old” scale of shutter speeds; Ie 1/500; 1/250; 1/100; 1/50; 1/25; 1/10; 1/5; 1/2; 1s; Bulb. The good news is that the shutter can be set to select intermediate speeds Eg. 1/125 or 1/60. According to page 24 of the original owners manual for the C: “Intermediate speeds may be set at any points between 1 sec. and 1/10th sec. and between 1/25th and 1/250th sec.”
The most common lens fitted to the C is the Xenotar. A wonderful lens but sadly coatings are often less than perfect. At least the front cell is a single piece of glass, unlike the 2.8 Planar types, so re-coating isn’t nearly as difficult or, presumably, as expensive as removal is a straightforward affair. You need to check condition closely though, for scratches or coating deterioration.
The last point is that the E model has a nifty sliding depth of field strip inboard of the focus knob linked to the aperture control. So as you adjust the aperture the depth of field range automatically alters. The C has a traditional printed scale showing the numbers of all the stops next to their depth of field. For landscape use I think the old design is actually better suited to hyperfocal focussing because you can see the DOF for all the stops, not just the one that is selected. YMMV.
The most important factor should be condition. Apart from the Rolleimagic models I don’t think there is any such thing as a bad Rollei TLR model (and there are a few die hard who still use the Magics!). I’d love a pre-war model one day, because I believe they all have their own appeal. So by all means look for the preferred model type you want (you can’t really go wrong with any of them) but condition is always key.
brian steinberger09-30-2011, 07:56 PM
I’m very interested in a Rolleiflex TLR. I’m somewhat familiar with the different models but wanted some insight from those who have used each kind, mainly the difference in lenses.
My main options are:
The Rolleiflex 3.5 with either Xenotar, Tessar, or Planar
The Rolleiflex 2.8 with Planar and Xenotar
Am I missing any?
I’m leaning towards a 3.5 version since it will be cheaper. Can anyone please explain the differences between the Tessar, Xenotar, and Planar lenses?
Also, which models have an in camera meter?
Basically I think it’s just the difference in lenses I’m wondering about. I’m a sucker for sharp lenses, but a lens with character would be fun for what I want to do with this camera too. Which lens of the 3 has the most “character?”
I have a 3.5 F and a Rollei T with the Tessar and really can’t see any difference between the two at middling apertures. If the choice was between a really clean T and a very used 3.5F I would certainly go for the T.
As for the Planar versus Xenotar, don’t beleive all the hype around the Planar because the Xenotar is just as good. If you can find an affordable 3.5, don’t sweat on which lens it has. BTW, there seems to be more of the Xenotar equipped Rolleis in the US for some reason.
The 2.8 Rollei really just gives you an extra stop over the 3.5 and usually comes at a premium which is a bit hard to justify….it looks really great though!
And my recommendation would be a clean 3.5F. Rollei’s rock!
One thing you really might want to think about is changing out the screen for a maxwell. Much brighter. Very nice. Expensive, but nice.
Another thing is the never-ready cases many flexes came in. I’ve never used mine. Don’t find them useful and they strike me as an invitation to fungus. Anyone else think this?
The 3.5s, either Tessar-type or Planar-type, are lighter than the 2.8 Planar-types.
The best bang for the buck is probably a meterless Planar/Xenotar 3.5E, ‘type 2’ (before the removable focus hood). $500-800 maybe in prime condition, and you will never look back. The rolleiflex T’s Tessar lens has a rep for being a step up from previous tessar versions, but the T has some design issues that bother some people.
I’ve noticed that this forum really doesn’t discuss TLRs much. A place with repeated discussions of Rolleiflexes is the TLR forum at Rangefinder Forum-
Between 1952 and 1960 or so, Rollei turned out constant variations of models with ever changing little tweaks and features. For example, the ‘E’ series has maybe 10 variations when you deal with the type 1, 2, and 3 (plus a sub-variation of 2, I think) with and without meters and with 2.8 Xenotars and Planars and 3.5 Planars and Xenotars.
I have a 2.8C Xenotar because it has a 10-bladed aperture, but I recognize that my interest in 10 blades means things to me that it doesn’t to others. I moved to this from a Xenar (and Minolta Autocord) because I was shooting wide open more and more and wanted better sharpness to the edges. For other people, this quality is either not important or counter to how they want their images to look.
The biggest potential problem I have heard of is the EV dials that cannot be uncoupled on some models (well, on some *variations* of some models). Beyond that, I would decide if you prefer Tessar/Xenar to Planar/Xenotar for basic look, especially at wider apertures. then how much you want to spend.
And remember, you are looking at cameras over 50 years old. Get something recently overhauled or be prepared to pay for an overhaul.
You know already that a TLR and you get along? Rolleis are nice but they aren’t magic; they are still TLRs with all the quirks and limitations.
for what it’s worth…. the sharpest medium format negatives I have ever made have been with my beloved “Rolleiflex T” that has a Ziess 75mm f3.5 Tessar Lens which I believe is single coated. I usually shoot it at f11 or f16. This is compared with negs made using Bronica SQ and Mamiya RB equipment ( I ALWAYS used the mirror up function with these so it should not be the SLR mirror factor). And I mean the best of the Rollei negatives are NOTICEABLY sharper using an 8x loupe.
I have a feeling you can’t go wrong with a Rolleiflex. =P Have fun!
The construction of the T is as sturdy as the others but are less expensive usually for camparable conditioned cameras and since most ‘Fexes today need a cleaing there is more in the budget for that or accessories.
As for the meter in camera, while it is sought after, I prefer not to have it. It is faster than a handheld meter when it is strung on your neck and taking snapshots. but I prefer the handheld meters leaving me an option of an averaging or spot, reflective or incident. I tend to use a tripod so metering, then mounting it on the tripod and hitting the shutter and then dismounting it for another reading, etc. is too time conuming. Also, most of the selenium meters today need either repair or at least calibration and there are few techs it seems to do this.
Some of the Tessar’s were CZJ as well, and that includes some of the Optons which had to pass West German quality controls.