Advice re. Rolleiflex 3.5 or 2.8

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by gavin_w, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Hi there -

    Just a quick question - I have a choice of a Rolleiflex 3.5 or 2.8,
    but I don`t know exactly which models they are yet (E, F or
    whatever). All other things being equal, which is more highly
    regarded? Is the 3.5 planar/xenotar any better than the 2.8, or
    should I just opt for the faster lens? Any other important
    differences between the cameras? I`ve found it difficult to find
    info on the net.

    Many thanks,
  2. > Is the 3.5 planar/xenotar any better than the 2.8...<br>
    > I`ve found it difficult to find info on the net.<br>
    are you kidding?
  3. cpj


    Go to the Index on this Forum at the right hand side and look under ROLLEIFLEX. You will
    find more discussion items than in any other category--about 1,500. There must be 500
    of these discussing the Xenotar/Planar debate as well as the 3.5 vs 2.8.

    Briefly, the lenses are equal unless you are making 30 x 40 inch prints and then one is
    better than the other. (Out of every 100 Rollei photographers 50 will tell you the Planar is
    better and the balance will swear by the Xenotar. Same holds true for the difference
    between the 3.5 and the 2.8 as far as lens quality.)

    The 2.8 camera is just enough bigger and bulkier that unless you are going to be shooting
    70% of your photos in low, low light and feel you absolutely need the 2.8, you will carry
    the 3.5 if given the choice. I currently have two 2.8's and two 3.5's (because of the 50/50
    rule) and I find the 3.5 much more convenient.

    I have owned Rolleis since 1960--and even still have the one I bought back then--and I've
    had bright Maxwell viewing screens installed in all of them. I never use the meters in the
    ones that have them, always preferring to hand meter if necessary.

    The lenses and the cameras are among the best ever made. (Period.) They ARE the best for
    any twin lens reflex camera ever mass produced.

    Take your pick.

    Spend the rest of the day reading the Rollei posts on this Forum.
  4. I'd suggest buying the best camera you can find at a good price. With a 50 year old camera condition is the most important consideration--that is to say MECHANICAL and OPTICAL condition--cosmetics are a matter of asthetic choice. The 2/3rds of a stop difference in speed is secondary as is the presense of a Schneider or Zeiss lens. FWIW I do about 3/4th of my work with a 2.8E (Xenotar) that I bought used in 1962. It's my favorite camera, but I'd probably say the same if I had bought one of the other Planar or Xenotar models.

    It may be slightly easier to find BAY III (2.8)accessories than BAY II (3.5) but that is also a secondary consideration IMO.
  5. Thanks for the advice guys. Just to explain the situation a little more, tomorrow I`ll be going into a shop to exchange a camera for one of two Rolleiflexes. I only know that one is a 3.5 and the other a 2.8, so I`ll have to make a decision on the spot as to which to take. I`m trying to learn all I can about all the models and what to look for but I`ve struggled to find any concise comparative information. Based on your advice and what I`ve read though, I guess I should take the one that is in best optical and mechanical shape regardless of model.
    Thanks again for the opinions, Gavin.

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