Do I have a fake Rolleiflex 3.5F White Face?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by raymond_tai, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. I just bought a Rolleiflex 3.5F White Face from KEH and it is kind of strange. First of all it has two serial numbers - the number on the "White Face" starts with 285 but there is another serial number on the upper plate and it starts with 283. What causes me the most concern is the serial number on the Planar taking lens - it starts with 492 whereas the late 3.5F 4's I have seen on ebay which supposedly is dated earlier than the White Face has the Planars starting in the mid 5xx. It is beginning to look like this camera was assembled from spare parts.
  2. there are often new front panels for sale on ebay but I don't think they have serial numbers on them even though they are white faced. If yours has a serial number on the white face I think it probably means it was taken off a different camera. It is easy to do. I have taken the front off of mine and put it back on. It doesn't necessarily mean that the lenses don't match or even that the lenses are not from the 283 camera original. The front cover is separate from the lenses. That might be the only part that has been changed. If the fstops and shutter speed work right and the focus tests out at different focus distances then it might still be a good user camera. it of course won't be a collector camera though.
  3. If in doubt, send it back. KEH is a great dealer, and an honest one.
  4. I was thinking about returning it but I had bought it to use and the White Face thing really doesn't bother me too much. In KEH fashion it was advertised as EX but the camera looks new.
  5. I have a White Face and the number on the lower part of the plate starts with 285 as does yours. Where is the number located on the upper plate?
  6. It is located on top of the plate marked "Rolleiflex". As I understand it the White Face models have the serial number on the bottom but not on the top plate.
  7. My Whiteface doesn't have a number on the upper plate. The other numbers are for the viewing (11,858,XXX) and taking (12,104,XXX Xenotar). In additition to the 258 + XXX on the face plate.
  8. Before the white face was used they put the serial number up on top.. you can read it as you hold the camera as if to use it. When they went to the white face they started putting the serial number on the face on the bottom. The face is just a cover with a post to release the shutter and a socket for the synch cord and controls that link to the fstop and shutter speed. If you peel back the leather in all four corners you find a screw and around the synch you find a (not sure what you call it) chrome nut that can be unscrewed. If you unscrew all five of those the front plate just lifts off and the lenses remain attached to the camera. Putting it back on is a matter of making sure the fstop and shutter are set right so they link up with the front panel controls. That is how easy it is to swap that front cover.
  9. I should add that I am not suggesting that anyone try the procedure I just described. It is a bit tricky to get the fstop controls and shutter speed controls and the meter control all linked up correctly when you put the face back on. You are likely to find the controls don't work unless you follow the correct procedure. When I did it I was trying to clean out dust from the lenses without having to send the camera to a repairman, so I bought an actual repair manual to see for sure how it was done. It is very simple but it is also very easy to get it wrong.
  10. cpj


    If you are looking for opinions, I think it is pretty obvious that you have a "parts" camera for some unknown reason. Furthermore, you don't know how many other parts have been replaced. KEH ought to be informed and if they sold you the camera for something closed to $1000 you ought to be able to negotiate a considerable discount because of the doubtful history. Many cameras have had parts replaced over the years, but two different serial numbers--and the fact that true "Whiteface" cameras command a "collectible price" ought to result in you getting a much better deal for accepting a "user camera" and not a Whiteface collectible. As I guy who currently owns seven Rolleis, including two Whiteface models, I'd estimate the fair price range for your camera is $550 to $650.
  11. cpj


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