Replacement screen for Rolleicord V?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by sam_w, Feb 16, 2000.

  1. I have acquired a Rolleicord V TLR in superb condition. The only
    problem I have with it is its very, very dark viewscreen. I have two

    1) What are my options for a brighter replacement screen? I've read a
    lot in the archives about screens for Rolleiflexes but not 'cords.
    I've also heard something about cutting down a Mamiya RB screen. What
    are my options? Also, how do I go about replacing my screen, given
    that the viewfinder of the Rolleicord is fixed?

    2) Is it likely that my view could be improved by having the camera
    CLA'd? I've heard that grime can dim the view, but I doubt I have a
    dirty mirror because the camera appears genuinely un-used. Is it
    worth it?
  2. 1) I have cut down an RB screen to fit in my Rolleiflex
    3.5E. Installing it is not too hard: 4 screws to remove
    viewfinder cover then 2 clips to remove screen. The RB
    screen I got is a vast improvement but won't be as bright
    as a true brightscreen (it is just a finelined fresnel
    moulded on the opposite side of a fine ground glass {plastic
    actually}). Lastly, it is different thickness than the
    original screen in my camera, so you will need to get the
    focus recalibrated. (Assuming the screen is held in the
    same way on your 'cord)
    One last point, the RB screen being one piece gives you
    two options for installation. Ground side down puts the
    ground surface closest to the original position. But then
    the fresnel side is above the ground surface so the fresnel
    rings are somewhat visible when using the magnifier.
    With the ground side up the ground surface is far (48 thou
    in my camera) away from the original position. But this
    shouldn't be a problem if you get the focus recalibrated.
    In this orientation the fresnel rings are below the ground
    surface and are thus invisible even when using the
    BTW I still haven't sent my camera in for a CLA (slow shutter
    speeds gummed up) so I haven't shot any film with the
    camera. But from looking thru the viewfinder I'd say it
    is a big improvement and should work well.
    2) Open the viewfinder cover and light the camera from
    above. Look into the lens at the mirror. If it looks hazy
    a cleaning may help. Otherwise it won't make much difference.
    Certainly a bright center and dim corners isn't the
    fault of the mirror.
    Good luck - Greg E.
  3. The old Rollei glass focussing screen is very dim unless you are outside in fairly bright light. A good cleaning of the mirror will do very little to improve the brightness of the screen, no matter how dirty the camera mirror is.

    Aftermarket focussing screens are available. I bought a Maxwell Optics screen for my Rolleiflex 3.5MX and it made a substantial difference. The screen hood is removable on all the Rollei's but the older models require the removal of 4 screws to get the hood off. There are spring steel clips that need removing to get the old screen out of the hood. If you are not comfortable doing this, take the camera to a reputable professional for installation of a new screen, or Maxwell optics will do it for you if you send the camera to them. I wouldn't bother trying to cut down a screen from another camera as fresnel screens are extremely delicate and scratch easily.

    A CLA wouldn't be a bad idea independent of the screen, as the slower speeds on the Compur shutter tend to drag a little on these old cameras.
  4. Maxwell Precision Optics is your best bet. Bill Maxwell does
    wonderful work.
  5. I have a Rolleicord Vb, which has the same viewing lens. I had the same problem with focusing with the dark screen, made me think initially the lens was soft. I had Harry Fleenor (of Oceanside Camera repair, I live close by) replace it with a Maxwell Optics screen. Mine was the split prism with the microprism collar, other styles are available. Harry was nice enough to let me see the difference of the screen before I bought it. A world of a difference, made it much easier to focus and felt like I upgraded my camera to modern standards. My next roll of film came out consistently sharper. I hesitated initially due to the cost of the screen ($130) vs. the cost of the camera. I would have replaced it much sooner, if I did it over again.
  6. The Maxwell screen and others sound like they are very
    good. But the RB screen option is much less expensive
    so you may want to consider it. I paid $10 US for mine
    on ebay but it was a great price because the cover glass
    was missing (which I didn't need). Normally an RB screen
    will cost $20 or $25 from ebay or KEH etc.
    I managed to cut down my screen without any significant
    scratches by covering it with masking tape during the
    process. Your milage may vary.
  7. I bought a Rolleicord V at a camera show. It worked fine, but the
    viewing screen was very dark. I got a Beattie Intenscreen for Rollei
    TLR 56x for $119.95 (133.95 with shipping) from B&H and installed it my self with a very, very small screwdriver. The waist-level viewer module comes off when the four very small screws are removed. It made a world of difference!
  8. I have tried both the Beatie and Maxwell screen's, and the one from Maxwell has much higher contrast, aand more even illumination over the whole finder. On the Rolleicords, the problem of changing the screen is not the 4 screws, however, it is the fact that the glass original screen is very thin, and the thicker plastic screens have to sometimes be shimmed in order to assure correctly calibrated focusing with the film plane. The Beatie screen I tried was way off and did not focus to infinity. Bill Maxwell recommends sending in the Rolleicords and letting them install and calibrate the focus for a nominal fee. I now have one of his screens in a 3.5 F Flex, and I can not tell you how much easier it is to get a perfect focus now, especially in low light.
  9. Another vote here for Bill Maxwell. If you send him your Rollei, he will charge about $175 to do a thorough CLA and install a new screen. Your camera will be next to new when you get it back.

    His screens, IMO, are even better than the Hasselblad AcuteMatte. In fact, I replaced the AcuteMatte screens in both my H'blad bodies with Maxwell screens and am very well pleased.

    Here's his address: Maxwell Precision Optics, 3158 Caintel Court, Decatur, GA 30033. Phone: 770-939-6644.
  10. I have a Maxwell screen that came with a Rollei D I recently purchased and it IS good. Does anyone know how to keep them clean
    since they are very delicate?
  11. I recently purchased a Maxwell focusing screen. I chose the version without the split-screen focusing aid. Since I don't have much experience with Rollei cameras and their focusing screens in general, this is strictly my subjective opinion. In short, I was amazed at the difference in the overall brightness of the Maxwell screen vs. the original Rollei screen. Honestly, the view in the WLF seemed brighter than the room actually was. This thing just sucks light up. Bill is an Optical Physicist by trade and a very knowledgable guy. Talking with him is a hoot. Again, this is just my opinion, but, I would not hesitate to have Bill Maxwell do a CLA and replace the focusing screen in the process. I don't know what you paid for your Rolleicord V and I don't know how deep you want to get into it. I plan on sending Bill my 2.8 F for CLA sometime within the next couple of years. Your mileage may vary.

  12. I have the same camera but not using it due to the lens is dirty inside. Can CLA will take care of this problem too? I've taken couple of B&W shots and they came out great when stopped down to f/8 and below. Another problem is that the slow shutter seems much slower; 1 sec shutter speed is actually like 3 sec :) Would this matter to higher speeds too?
  13. Jason,

    The repairmand should be able to clean the lens
    during a CLA, unless it has fungus. In that case
    cleaning may improve it but likely the coatings or
    glass are etched.

    The slow speeds use a different timing mechanism
    than the faster ones. So it may be possible for the
    top speeds to be pretty accurate and the low one be
    way off. A CLA should improve the speeds.
  14. I haven't tried this (I have Beatties in my Rolleis, fortunately it's not catching) but have heard that office supply stores sell fresnel magnifiers in sizes that can be cut down to focusing size for two or three Dollars. Supposed to yield a cheap stop or two improvement and easy to install as it's over the existing screen and doesn't require a focusing adjustment.

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