Is the Rollei 35RF dead?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by pete|1, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. Has the horribly over priced Rollei 35 RF been discontinued? What
    became of the lenses they were going to bring out for that camera? I
    hope the new Zeiss ZM lenses are priced more like C/V lenses and not
    like the Rollei lenses.
  2. You can get the same camera for 1/3rd the price. It's just a Bessa R2.
  3. Right now it's a special order item at B&H. I don't know what it cost when it was first released, but now there's only a $50 premium for buying the body & 40/2.8 kit over the body alone ($1199 vs $1150). Still quite an upcharge for a Bessa R2 in chrome, but if you want a slooooow 40mm lens, now might be the time to get it kinda sorta cheap.
  4. What's so "slooooow" about the 40/2.8 Sonnar? If you need a faster lens, get 1. Otherwise, it's no different from choosing the 50/2.8 Elmar over the Summicron. Also, the Rollei lenses are available for a lot less than retail via eBay, etc., you just have to be willing to look . . .
  5. Perhaps next time I should remember the emoticons. Let's just say that none of the proposed or actual Rollei RF lenses are low light speed demons. The 40mm lens is 1 stop slower than the 25-30 year old Leica Summicron & Minolta Rokkor; and it's 2 stops slower than the VC offering. That's a fairly big penalty when each of the latter three lenses sell for $350 or less.
  6. I wasn't offended, Stuart. In fact I generally prefer fast lenses, have the wonderful 40/2 M-Rokkor, & may look into getting the CV 40/1.4 . . . I was just trying to make the point that the 40/2.8 Sonnar isn't really that over-priced in the real world--it can be had for not much over $350 (around $400-450, albeit used & like new) & has modern coatings, etc., in which case it can fairly be compared to the > $400 "speed demon" Elmar, current Summicron, etc.
  7. It indeed is Bessa R2 - but in PLASTIC (!!)<br>
    The recent ZeissIkon announcement seems to mean they realized the futility of selling the same stuff under 2 different names and at a huge hike in the price - and so decided to engineer a kind of better quality body with additional functions (I hope) on the basis of the same Bessa chassis.<br>
    Which new functions? - a better rangefinder and a better exposure indicator, not the stupid 3 LEDs that do not let one know if the exposure is 1, 1.5 or 2 stops off the middlegrey for the surface.
    The rest seems the same - shutter, the viewfinder, AE - as the stuff to go into the Bessa 3Rs.
  8. You can have the wonderful legendary 2,8/40 Sonnar for less - and you get a free Rollei 35 S body that comes whith it. If you want a nice 40mm Leica M lens get a 'Cron.
  9. Pete, I've never seen a Rollei 35RF, so can't comment on it's price and quality. I think it was never available in Germany, my dealer has the complete Rollei Range from Prego to 6008 but no RF.

    And prices for japanese made small format Zeiss lenses never were close to Cosina,I.E. a Planar 45/f2 in G mount for 449 Euro compared to a color Skopar 50/2.5 for 290.
    The german made lenses for medium format are expensive, even compared to Leica standards.

    So I think, the lenses made at CV will maintain the Kyocera/Contax pricelevel as every lens carying the Zeiss and T* badge is individualy tested and made from Schott glass with Zeiss T* coating. The german made lenses will be much more expensive.
    A german Contax Planar 80/f2 is around 2500 Euro compared to a Bronica Zenzanon 80/f2.8 for 997 Euro!
  10. Someone said this RF was a kind of limited run, hence the price. At least it's a film camera, and that is a good sign.
  11. The Rollei RF is discontinued.
  12. It was dead before it was even released. Looks like they couldn't find enough stupid fools, as much as they tried...
  13. Following El Fang remark, I would say that the Zeiss Ikon might have trouble in early life too....

    Leica, Leica, and only Leica....

    although the latest Voiglander R3A and co. are good products. JMHO.
  14. It's amusing to follow the logic that goes into this kind of thread. I'm still trying to figure out what it is.

    Has Cosina become the new standard by which we measure rangefinder lenses? Are Cosina prices the benchmark by which others' prices should be judged? If so, better sell your Leica now & not buy any more. Or is it that the speed of a lens is the only factor in determining the price/quality of a lens?

    Christopher pointed out the comparison with the Leica 50 Elmar - $800 for an f/2.8 standard lens. Overpriced when you can buy a CV Nokton for $460 - & almost 2 stops faster? But we know that the vaguaries of international exchange rates & economies make products coming out of Germany more expensive than they would be if they came out of another part of the world. And it's why Leica does most of its manufacturing in Portugal & some in China. And why Zeiss manufactures the G series in Japan.

    So, let's compare Japanese rangefinder lenses with each other. The Konica Hexanon-M 28/2.8 is still available & it sells for $800. You can buy a Cosina/Voigtlander 28/1.9 for only $450 - and more than a full stop faster. Is the Hexanon-M an overpriced lens? Well, users & reviewers both rave about it.

    Critics refer to the Rollei 35 RF dismissively as a "re-badged Bessa R2" - which the body certainly is. Of course this ignores the fact that the most important part of any camera is its lens(es). The Rollei/Zeiss 40/2.8 is not a re-badged anything. It is a premium Rollei lens, the real deal. Same for the Rollei/Zeiss 80/2.8.

    Rollei decided to make 2 of its premium lenses available in M-mount. This should be a good thing. They decided that their customer base would prefer to mount the lens on a camera that bore the Rollei name for an integrated system. So, they retrofitted a Bessa R2 with new framelines, changed the color, and added some detailing & styling. They offered it as a boutique item at a boutique price. This was a bad thing.

    But the kit now sells for $1200. How does that compare with a Bessa R2, equipped with a similar lens? Using B&H prices, Bessa R2 + 35/2.5 lens = $840. Voigtlander dealers routinely recommend that you replace the factory equipped strap with the deluxe strap for an extra $25 - an item already included in the Rollei. Price now = $865. As a grey market import, the R2 comes with a 1-year store warranty. The Rollei comes with a 2-year factory warranty, i.e. a different level of service & support. Let's look for a comparison. Similarly priced to the Bessa R2, the Nikon FM3A (USA version) in a kit with a standard lens will cost $110 more than the grey market version of exactly the same camera, both with 1-year warranties & out of the same factory in Japan. A different color than the basic offering will cost an extra $20 for a total difference of $130!

    The point is that the charge of being a "re-badged Bessa R2" doesn't compare apples with apples. The premium Zeiss glass with best-in-the-industry coatings, the manufacturer's service & support, & the extended warranty all make this a different offering. IMO, it's too bad that it has been discontinued because it's a nice package at the current price for those who don't need a faster lens, which I suspect most people don't. At the same time, the Bessa R2 alternative remains a bargain.

    To those who insist on Cosina as the industry standard for rangefinder lenses, I offer the following assessment from Erwin Puts, who compliments Cosina for its quality-to-price ratio & then goes on to say: "I've now tested many of the Voigtlander lenses and all show some interesting family characteristics. All have decentring, sometimes degrading the image quality more than should be tolerated for high quality imagery. All have flare, pointing to a coating technique that could be improved. And all have a somewhat dull, flat rendition of details & outlines. This points to glass selection and a certain choice of aberration correction." Improvements in glass, coatings, & assembly all come at a higher price.


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