Rolleiflex 2.8E vs 3.5F

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by manoj_ramanchira, Nov 20, 2021.

  1. Dear All,

    I've an opportunity to buy e Rolleiflex 2.8E or 3.5F ( Not both !!! ). The cosmetic conditions & the the price of both the cameras are more or less same. Now I can't physically see it to inspect. My question is, which is more desirable between these two? Though I prefer to get a 2.8F but that's out of my budget. So which one do you recommend? Thanks
  2. You can't go wrong with either of them. They are both great cameras.
  3. As stated these are both superb cameras (I have a 3.5F). The F/2.8 versions are more expensive largely as status symbols rather than because of any real world difference between F/2.8 and F/3.5, with modern faster films. The 3.5F has a removable hood and so could be used with the prism finder. I think some early 2.8E's had a fixed hood.

    The functional condition is more important (to me at least) than cosmetics, and particularly, the condition of the taking lens, they can suffer from balsam separation plus all the other potential issues with old lenses.
    robert_bowring likes this.
  4. Thanks for your responses.

    Let's have this hypothetical question. If everthing being equal ( functional condition, opical condition, cosmetic condition & price ), which one do you buy? 2.8E or 3.5F?
    I asked this question, because I want to take an actual decision here to find the relative value, ability to resell if needed at a later stage without losing much & the overall usability,features and function..
  5. To answer your question with a degree of authority, a good working knowledge of both cameras would be needed. Also a good awareness of their costs in whatever markets are available to you. And a crystal ball to predict the pricing trends in the future. I don't have any of these, and I'd be surprised if any other members do either. I would prefer the 3.5F purely because I have one and know it pretty well.
  6. AJG


    I have a 2.8 D and 3.5 E. I much prefer the balance of the 3.5 E for handheld work since the 2.8 D feels front heavy due to the heavier lens and longer focal length. YMMV. That said, both are excellent cameras. I have no idea which one would hold its value better if you decide to sell it, but I suspect that either one in excellent cosmetic and operating condition would do well for that.
    robert_bowring likes this.
  7. I'd personally probably go for the f/2.8 just for a potential value as a shelf queen later on, but I can't image that the actual "use value" is different unless you need a tiny bit more photons for lower light.:rolleyes:
    robert_bowring likes this.
  8. There are more differences than f-stop.
    Focal length, for instance: 75 v. 80 mm.
    The Rolleiclub site has an exhaustive list.

    Whether you'd notice using either camera depends.
    My old Rolleiflex has a 75 mm lens. I never ever wished it to be an 80 mm lens. And if it had been an 80 mm, i don't think i would have longed for...
    But to each his or her own. Check the Rolleiclub site.
  9. I have a 2.8 E2, a 2.8F, and a late 3.5F. My favorite tends to be the 3.5F with the Planar 75mm lens. I think that is only because it is a small amount wider plus sharp as a tack, although they are all great as far as sharpness. The 3.5 F is lighter. As noted above, lens condition is a key determinant. Mechanical condition is critical too, including making sure of proper lens board alignment, collimation, nobody has swapped the lens around (the viewing and taking lenses were matched at the factory).
  10. Additionally, don't get hung up on the "which is a better lens" discussion between Planars and Xenotars. I would gladly take either one, and always choose the one in better condition versus name of the manufacturer alone as a determinant.
    robert_bowring likes this.
  11. Thanks everyone. I just bought 3.5F !!
  12. Is it a genuine white face 2.8F? Typical serial number of white face starts with number 2 ( Like, 2 455 000) , but here, it starts with number 9. Any idea?

  13. You're looking at the viewing lens serial number. Use the camera's serial number to determine what it is.

    I thought you said you bought the 3.5F?
    robert_bowring likes this.
  14. Thanks. Yes, bought a 3.5F but that doesn't mean that will stop looking for a 2.8F !!!
  15. The 3.5 F is a treasure. It takes all accessories, and you will never cease to marvel at the capacities of that Planar lens!
    manoj_ramanchira likes this.
  16. Recieved my first rollieflex, a 3.5F. Now here's the problem I'm facing. When I rotate the right hand side wheel, I expect this to change ONLY the shuttre speed, but both f and t numbers get changed !!! The left hand side wheel changes only f number. My expectation was that right hand side wheel changes ONLY t number and left hand side wheel changes ONLY f number. Is that understanding correct? Thanks.
  17. Can you show a close up of the two control wheels, also give the body serial number? Some Rollei's had the EV method of setting the shutter, where the exposure value, which is a number indicating a combination of aperture and shutter speed, is entered via one knob. It was an unpopular system and soon abandoned. My Rollei TLR Collectors Guide says that the EV system was used on the 3.5E but not apparently on the 3.5F, which seems strange.
  18. If I understand the problem correctly, it sounds like your shutter speed and aperture controls are linked such that when you turn one, the other one also turns. Known as "EV Lock" in my world. Rollei's that had this had a control on either the shutter wheel or aperture wheel, I don't recall which. Right in the middle of the wheel as you are facing the camera, and you turn it to unlock it. It should be slotted so you can turn it with your fingernail. That will unlock the coupling. Having said that, I don't recall that the 3.5F had this setup so maybe you have an earlier model?
  19. Early Rolleiflexes were always locked, and you push one dial in to adjust the EV on the other dial, then pick your aperture/shutter combination for that exposure. Later ones could be locked or unlocked.

    EV locked setting

    EV unlocked just push in and turn


    When locked, pushing in the previous button allows you to turn this one and set the EV.
    manoj_ramanchira likes this.

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