Rolleicord V vs. Minolta Autocord

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by icuneko, May 5, 2005.

  1. I used to have a beat-up, early model Minolta Autocord. The front
    lens element had scratches on it. Still, it took very good photos. I
    was surprised. Last weekend I came across an Ex+ Rolleicord V (c.
    1955 by its serial number) that must have been in someone's attic or
    closet for
    decades. The lens is pristine, shutter speeds sound OK. Question: Is
    the lens quality of the Rollei comparable to that of the Minolta? I
    know they are both Tessar-type designs.
  2. The 75mm Rokkor f3.5 is an excellent lens; Minolta even had a TLR model before WW2 too.
  3. I've read somewhere that Rokkor lenses (Minolta) are consistently sharp at all apertures, while Tessars at Rolleis are designed to be softer when wide open (presumably for portrait photography). The overall quality is supposed to be close (some people will even say that Rokkors are better).

    But hey, you have both cameras available, so why don't you run some test and tell us the results? :)
  4. actaully the rollei cord is not a tessar it is a triotar and thereore with less correction. the rear cell of the triotar is a single element.
    i have heard time-and-time again that the minolta *tessar* is better than the triotar and often better than a zeiss tessar in 75mm. is the minolta a 75mm or 80mm?
  5. I no longer own the Minolta. The Rolleicord is sitting in a shop, for sale. Rolleicords offered both the 3-element Triotar and the 4-element
    Xenar. This one is the latter. The Minolta has a 75mm lens.
  6. I've just bought a Rolleicord with the four part lens. On testing, it is very sharp centrally even wide open, but needs to stop down to f8 before it is very sharp at the edges. An amazing lens though, which is a match for any of my bronica sqa lenses. Not bad for a 50year old lens, and amazing value for money.
  7. I have an Autocord and am always impressed with the quality of the results. There's a certain ?3D? quality to the Rokkor (using a decription often used with Leica lenses). I have also used a Rolleiflex T with Tessar and from f5.6 on down, mine was bitingly sharp. The Rokkor and Tessar are both high quality lenses that I wouldn't hesitate to use.
  8. I have an Autocord CDSIII that has a 75mm lense. It's a wonderful lense, and the camera is very nice to use. I doubt you would feel disappointed.

  9. I have never seen a Rolleicord Iv or V model with a 3 element lens. My IV model has a 4 element Xenar; which this xenar is a Tessar lens design. Mine is a very sharp lens; about the same as my Xenotar in my E3 Flex in the central core; but the Xenar on my has softer far corners. In shooting portraits of one or two folks; only the central region is used. Here often I could'nt tell the difference between the IV and E3. Thus I but a notch in the film gate of the IV and blackened it; as to tie the negatives to which camera. <BR><BR>For a large group of folks; a sterle industrial aerial; or shots of buildings and machinery; I like the E3 which on mine has tack sharp corners<BR><BR>I worked my way thru college using a IV and Xenar. Now decades later I hear that they are impossible to focus; and have poor lenses :)
  10. Autocord!!!

    You got a good thing going. Keep it that way.
  11. If the price is right, go for it! Everyone should have a TLR in their kit. The Xenar is an excellent lens. The only bad thing is that soon you'll want a 'flex with a Xenotar or Planar.
  12. I don't think you'll be disappointed with the Xenar lens. Looking at one of my negs under the
    loupe, I can just make out the words INLAND REVENUE on a sign which is exactly 1mm long.

    I'm an admirer of the Autocord too, but in the few months that I've had it my beaten-up
    Rolleicord Va has proved to be more reliable mechanically than my near-immaculate Autocord.
  13. All of the TLRs with Tessar lens formula optics are very good, whether Rollei, Minolta, Yashica, or Ricoh, and no doubt others are good as well. I've seen slower max aperture Tessar lenses that were fairly sharp center to corner wide open (up to about f/4.5 wide open), but the f/3.5 and f/2.8 Tessar lenses have some residual spherical aberration that renders the periphery of the image a tad soft. This goes away completely as the lens is stopped down. If you want shallow depth of field, such as in a portrait, this softness wide open improves the bokeh of the lens, leading to soft, creamy out of focus areas. Thus it is not always a disadvantage. You might be able to image a 2-dimensional subject with acceptable sharpness by f/5.6 or maybe even f/4.5 (you'll need to test it), but usually these cameras hit their "sweet spot" of center-to-corner sharpness of the focal plane around f/8.
    Although the Rolleicord was not built to the ruggedness of a Rolleiflex TLR, the Rolleiflex TLR is built to standards of robustness that far exceed most cameras, and Rolleicords are still very well made cameras. I think the main advantage of a Rolleicord over a Japanese TLR, particularly a later model like the IV or V models, is that they are likely more robust, but not by a lot. Autocords are famous for not having a particularly beefy wind lever that can break off, and I just purchased and had to return a YashicaMat that had a weakened linkage between the wind mechanism and shutter cocking facility causing it to fail during my test roll.
    A couple of other TLRs that are reputed to be very good optically, but uncommon and hoarded by collectors are the Olympusflex 75/3.5 Zuiko, and the those Airesflex TLRs that had lenses made either by Olympus or Nikon. They were also marketed under the Sears Tower label, and the lens was labeled either Zuiko or Nikkor, if it was made by Olympus or Nikon respectively. As far as I know, these were always Tessar type lenses, but I've never seen or handled one.
    Some folks like the Zeiss Ikoflex cameras, although the film transport on the ones I've seen is primitive, with a red safelight window to identify frame position. They are most suitable for B&W as a result.
  14. I also have a later-model Ikoflex - no red window. It sports a real counter! All the same, the ergonomics are not great. The Zeiss Opton lense is stellar, though. And they are cheap - I paid $55 for my Ikoflex. THe shutter speeds are reasonable, but the focus is stiff. One day I'll send it for a CLA or sell the camera.

  15. "... with a red safelight window to identify frame position. They are most suitable for B&W as a result"

    Yes, my Ikoflex IIa, has the red window with a shutter to set the #1 frame and after that, it is done automatically with a frame counter. I just finished a roll of "slides"; I din't see any light leak and besides, what is the difference between B&W film as oposed to color film concerning light leak?

    The camera is very well made mechanically and optically wise, but tricky concerning the automatic feeding. A new owner, needs to read the manual before dismissing the camera as junk.

    I exposed a roll of Ilford 3.200 in my 1934 6x9 Super Ikonta C with two shuterless red windows and did not experience any light leak, and beautiful "slides" too!
  16. I didn't dismiss the ikoflex I once had as junk, but I did sell it on account of film loading to position the first frame being a bit quirky. Perhaps I should have spent more time getting testing it, but I felt at the time that shooting faster speed color films might be a problem. I'm glad to hear that isn't the case.
  17. The Ikoflexes are quirky and do take some getting used to. I do find that my Autocord is the camera that I throw in my bag most often.


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