Inherited Rolleiflex. What is it?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by danny_wilson, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Hello All,
    Can any of you tell me a little more about this inherited Rolleiflex? I know that it is a Zeiss Planar 75mm lens f/3.5 and the shutter is the the "Synchro-Compur" style. What is the history of this model? Where does it fall in Rollei's line? Do people generally consider it to be a great Rollei product, or a is it a less renown model? I can't wait to put some film through it, but before I do, I want to make sure that I am not dealing with a priceless relic :)
  2. If I'm reading the serial number correctly, this appears to be Type 1, 3.F model. It is an excellent example of the later models and a highly respected image maker. If it is a Type 1, it was made from 1959 to 1960. They sold for $269.50 when new but are worth a lot more than that now. I would place this at the top tier of the user Rollei TLR's and you will be very, very pleased with the results. I used one a lot when I had small kids as the viewing angle worked so well for that duty but once you get a feel for the reverse orientation, you won't think too much about it. For more action-oriented use, the sports finder can be effective (the window that props open on the top assembly).
  3. The Rolleiflex/cord has got to be one of the most well-documented series of cameras out there. Just google "rolleiflex models" or "rolleiflex serial numbers". Like this.
  4. Thanks, Craig and Rodeo! The SN is 2283810. Rodeo's site tells me this is a Rolleiflex 3.5F Model 3. Are there any interesting insights you have about this model? Does it have any quirks?
  5. You got a great gift. Hopefully the shutter is not sticky and the controls turn easily and the lens is not hazy. You can test all that without putting film in it. Just crank the handle around forward and then return it to the top and click the shutter. Turn the dials on the front for shutter speed and aperture. Set the shutter speed to a green number and hold the shutter button down while you set the shutter lock to the locked position. This will hold the shutter open so you can open the back of the camera and look through the lens to see if it has any problems... like haze or scratches or fungus.'
    When you get around to putting a roll of 120 film in it you must be sure to thread the leader under the first roller and over the others.
  6. If I had the choice between judging by a hairbrained serial number table or by a camera's features, I'd go by the features.
    EV-coupling knob at the f-stop dial (mandatory for 3,5F first model) present? (no)
    Positon of self timer lever like 3,5F second model? (no, looks like 3rd model)
  7. That serial number would indeed make this a type 3. This differed from the type 2 in that the 3 could be used with the Rolleimarin 4 underwater housing. The type 3 did not have the 220 provision (but very many were modified later) while the type 4 came factory installed with the 220 counter. They have the pressure plate release pin but so did the type 2 and 4. Be patient and learn to use it. You will be rewarded with very fine images!
  8. Thank you all for such great info. I have not shot film in a long time, and even then it was 35mm B&W. So, I have a few questions about the nuts and bolts of shooting film in 2012:
    1. What is your favorite source of 120 B&W and color film?
    2. Who processes your film (my darkroom resources are no longer around)? I am ok paying a little more for good process/service.
    3. Do you know of any processors who include good-quality high-res scans?
    4. Any other advice for someone who has never shot medium format or a TLR?
    1. Any other advice for someone who has never shot medium format or a TLR?
    If you have never used a waist level finder before, the reverse image may make the first few rolls a bit of a challenge. I certainly had a bit of a headache after my first roll in a TLR! The light meter on this camera probably is not very accurate, if it works at all.
    After a while you won't even notice it. This is a great camera, and will produce wonderful images hand held. Pretty straight forward after a little bit of use.
  9. Where to get film kind of depends on how much you want and where you are. If you call around the local camera shops they will tell you were you can buy some film... if you only want a couple of rolls. If you want to by a larger batch of film to save money and justify shipping cost, B&H photo is generally the cheapest. They are in New York.
    A professional processing lab should be able to give you a variety of scan qualities to work with.
    The photo lab black and white processes are pretty dodgy a lot of the time so if you want to shoot black and white you might try using the stuff that works in a color process.
  10. Also looking at your picture I see the little knob at the top on the left side as you look at the face of the camera is cocked.
    THat is a self timer and when you cock it by pulling it down to the left, when you trip the shutter button the timer will start going and if it is working correctly in about 10 seconds the shutter will trip. That same knob is also used to set the camera correctly for flash. On the lightning bolt it is set for regular modern electronic flash, on the light bulb it is set for flash bulbs... you probably don't want that setting.
    You might try finding an on line manual or go to ebay and buy one.
  11. Enjoy your new camera! I have two Rolleiflexs, both from around 1952. They work great.
    The light meters are known to develop problems over the years. Have it checked. Your camera will need service at some point. Exercise the shutter at least 100 times before you run film through it.
    I had Harry Fleenor service both my Rollieflexes and put in modern bright Maxwell screens. Well worth the cost! Harry is the best in the USA IMHO for servicing these cameras.
  12. dlw


    Congratulations on your new camera, I think you'll find Rolleiflex's kick ass. Since you've never used one before, a quick bit of advise. When you load the camera, run the film between the first rollers, then over the rest. If you don't, you'll just wind the film all the way through. The rollers measure the thickness of the film and will prevent winding past the first frame. Also, buy a handheld meter and use it instead of the built-in one. Your results will be better. Have fun. Cheers.
  13. I have one just like that and the Planar lens is one of the best I've used in any format. That camera will amaze you with its images.
  14. favorite source of 120 B&W and color film?
    - local photostore [keeble and schucat, palo alto], freestyle, b&h, adorama
    Who processes your film?
    - I do, using a tank. 120 processing is becoming scarce, and I can do it as good or better than any service for cheaper.
    Do you know of any processors who include good-quality high-res scans?
    not really, and depending on how you define quality, it could get expensive. You can get pretty good scans with say, an Epson flatbed [V700 or 4990] - not as good as a drum scanner - but not as expensive or technical either.
    A Rollei is a great camera: shoot lots of film [get some kodak t-max before it goes away], process and scan it yourself, don't look at the want ads or else you might find yourself trolling for enlargers, a medium format silver print can be amazing :)
  15. Hi All,

    Thanks for the great info. There seems to be some issues with my camera. When I depress my shutter button, the shutter opens, but not for the time set by the exposure-time adjustment knob. I don't know if it is "sticking" or what, but sometimes I hear a really subtle ticking while the shutter is open. Who do you think is the best shop to send this piece to for some TLC?

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