Pricing a Rolleiflex

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by gary_b|6, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. I am interested in purchasing a Rolleiflex 2.8F with an 80mm Planar lens. I believe that this camera would fit my requirements nicely and it is in my price range of $1000. The problem is that on Ebay I can seem to nail down what the camera should sell for. I did a search in recent completed transactions. The 4 cameras I see seem to be nearly identical yet the prices vary by almost 100%. One camera has a CLA and the seller has a sterling reputation yet did not get one bid at $900. What am I missing?
    [​IMG] ROLLEIFLEX 2.8F 80MM F-2.8 PLANAR, HOOD, SHIP WORLDWIDE View similar active items | Sell one like this 12 Bids Sold $1,530.00 Apr-25 19:48
    [​IMG] ROLLEI ROLLEIFLEX 2.8F TLR W. PLANAR 12/24 CASE CLA NR View similar active items | Sell one like this [​IMG] 21 Bids Sold $1,504.00 Apr-25 11:06
    [​IMG] Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8F Film camera w/80mm 2.8 Planar View similar active items | Sell one like this [​IMG] 0 Bids $900.00 Apr-24 17:00
    [​IMG] Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8F Film Camera Planar Zeiss 1:2.8 View similar active items | Sell one like this Enlarge 5 Bids Sold $869.00 Apr-23 07:31
  2. Hi Gary
    In a nutshell, that's Ebay!
    Sometimes you will get two people involved in a 'bid war' so the price goes really high, other times people just don't pick up on an item - maybe the seller refuses to ship to a specific location (I'm in the UK - a seller that won't ship from, say the USA to the UK isn't of interest to me).
    All you can really do is use Ebay to set a range of prices. If you buy a nice Rollleiflex for $900, well done. Someone else might be prepared to pay $1500 for the same camera - over you're budget.
    Ebay is an auction, so it's up to people to pay what they are prepared to pay rather than the seller to set a specific asking price.
    Cheers, and good luck on your hunt for a Rolleiflex .
  3. Buyers are peculiar on ebay. The best way to get a high price selling something is to start the price ridiculously low on it. That way you get a bunch of people who will put a bargain basement bid on it and start watching the item. They then get competitive and get attached to the camera. If the camera starts with a relatively high minimum bid most people will skip over it in their search for an absolute bargain and then they never go back to it again.
    You might consider that a 2.8E2 with Planar is just as good as an F. You might also consider that a Xenotar is just as good if not better than a Planar and sometimes demands less money.... Though I have watched two white face Xenotars in the 295 series in the last week sell for 3000 and over!!!! I might have to clean mine up and sell it. That is getting to be more than a used FX or GX sells for.
  4. Gary,
    if I were you, I would call the seller of the un-bid 2.8F and ask about it ... Then buy it if pleased for $ 900, send it to Harry Flenor for an overhaul, CLA and a new Maxwell screen, which might set you back $ 400, maybe less ... and enjoy your next 20 years with it. Then CLA again ...
  5. Here I used a E3 Rollei with Xenotar 80mm F2.8 and a stock screen for 3 decades. It cost me 500 bucks used; BUT I tested the actual camera at a camera store with film. Thus I paid about 25 to 35 percent more for a known camera with no problems that I actually tested out myself.
    On ebay it is worse; plus one has the crazy other chap with alot of ammo too!
    Buying from a local store and paying more can be cheaper in the long run it if saves repairs or reduces risk alot.
    I buy a mess of stuff on ebay
  6. To add another data point, Igor's Camera Exchange has one in EX+ that had a recent CLA for $1275.
    In short, I think the $900 range is appropriate for eBay without the added certainty of return or a dealer who is willing to stand behind his sales.
    The ones that went for $1500+ were over market. The one that went for $1530 had a person with a feedback of "8" bidding it up. Dare I claim a shill bidder? The other one seemed to be a more straightforward bidding war. Emotions trump logic more often than people think.
  7. I was recently looking into buying a rolleiflex, and there may be a few factors that determine what a buyer is willing to pay.
    • "working meter" - many sellers will say that the meter is working, but will not go further to assure you that the meter has any manner of accuracy. Many Rolleiflex meters will 'respond to light' but are not accurate or useful, even with the self-administered calibration. And, repairers will usually say they can't do any more than adjust the little screw on the backside.
    • Some sellers are not familiar enough with the item to be assured of its functionality. Some sellers claim they are selling for other parties, or for estates and such. They don't use the cameras and can't assure the condition, nor will they know if the camera has been CLAd.
    • Condition/usage? I saw 'tip' somewhere online.... You should look at the 'ring' around the wind arm to see how much use the camera has seen. There will be paint loss and scrapes around that circular area if it has been used to put lots of film through it.
    • Trustworthiness of Seller? Check the ratings. High number of transactions? Transactions with similar types of gear? Is the seller local? Out of the country?
    • Randomness.
  8. 50 years later, a selenium light meter is essentially petered out, can't move the needle reliably any longer since there is no perpetuum mobile in nature or physics/chemistry.
    So, anyone who tells you a 40 or 60 year old selenium meter is working is just full of it. (Some do, but for how many more months?)
    This being so, the "working meter" on an old 2.8F is absolutely irrelevant. You need a hand held external meter anyway.
    So that is it re. 1960s 2,8Fs or 2.8Es etc. Buy them, use them, CLA them once every 20 years and use a light meter. ENJOY period!
  9. Frank; part of the "full of it" is called experience. Plus having taking the National Camera Course in the 1960's helped; plus actually owning old meters and working on and off in repairs helps too; being an EE helps too.
    My dads GE meters from the 1940 and 1947 still work well.
    A failed selenium can be a cell that produces little current; but often too it is just a corroded cell connection; the fix is a 5 cent pencil eraser. I have done this on several Retina IIIc's; and probably 50+ meters.
    The "physics/chemistry" of many/most all seleniums "meter failures" is mostly due to dumb corrosion; the camera sits in a sock drawer for decades; the cell's back contact and front frame gets corroded and thus the current flow is little.

    A connection that is not great can make a meter read correct in low light and read low in direct full sunlight. The same "pour connection thing" goes with 50 year old cars too; a poor battery connection can make the car radio still work or dome light; but the car cannot crank. If one wants to be a con artist; you sell the old guy a new starter and battery for his 1955 chevy when the issue was just a 2 buck battery clamp.

    The same type of "high tech" failure happens with cars and flashlights too; a battery cable gets poor or corroded after 50 years; the contacts on a flashlight get corroded after 50 years; thus one uses sandpaper; a wire brush or an eraser.

    ****The stance as a camera repairman has to be the customer is always right; plus many meter cells require a hell of alot of labor to get to. So if the fix really was just an eraser stroke or two; you let the lay customer BELIEVE it was the cell; so his/her ego is not hurt.

    Cells die with alot of light exposure or they get wet or cracked. Some cells due die; but it is usually no the most common case.

    What really has happened is in 50 years is not that most meters have petered out; more like the "body of knowledge has petered out about repairs" and simple stuff like fixing a meter or flashlight or car.
    Repairing things is out of vogue compared to past eras; the body of knowledge is less; the number of folks who repair things is less.

    (1)A dropped camera can have a jumped or broken meter movement.

    (2)A camera that got wet or went underwater or sat on a sunny storefront for years can have a weak or dead meter
    ***(3) A stored in a sockdrawer meter often just has a poor corroded contact and only requires a pencil eraser to fix; plus alot of labor to get to the cell with many cameras. Letting the customer "feel good" that it is the cell helps one in billing since it is all labor and repairs are looked down as a profession. Folks do not like to hear that one spent 1 hour to debug a 1955 car or camera and the fix was just some sandpaper or an eraser; it makes the customer look stupid. Folks do not like to pay for simple fixes.
  10. OK, Kelly,
    so how does one get to those corroded conectors on a Rollei 2.8F? Can you tell, instruct, make a video?
    Before this knowledge "peters out" from our collective knowledge base.
    Please, pretty please...
  11. You have to spend a massive amount of time to get to most cells compared to the erasing!
    My connector I mean the brass contact on the back; the front rectangular frame on the cell.
    Thus from a repair standpoint if the cell turns out to still be functional; one spent all this time to get to the conductive frame that holds the cell.
    An analogy might be a heater core on a car; some are easy to get to; others require taking apart a lot of the dash. At least with cars if the leak is only a loose hose clamp one usually puts in a new heater core; with a cell they might not be available anymore.
    To get to many connections of a cell; ie the frame and rear spring contact takes time. It varies like with cars and water pumps and heater cores; some easy; some a mess.
    The point I am trying top make a bad meter is not always the cell
  12. Unless you are planning to shoot at f2.8 often, why not consider the f3.5 variant? The lens is just as sharp, if not a bit sharper. I usually try to shoot at f8 or f11 with my Rolleiflex to maximize image quality.
  13. In wedding work some of liked the F3.5 75mm because is was a tad wider in angular coverage and a tad lighter too

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