Rolleiflex TLR Tele

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by michael_cohen|1, Dec 22, 2000.

  1. I have a Rolleiflex T with 3.5/75mm Tessar. I love it and am
    considering buying a Rolleiflex TLR Tele. I would use the Tele
    almost exclusively for portraits. I would probably also want to use
    the corresponding Rolleinars, assuming there are any. Anyone have
    any experience with the Rolleiflex Tele, with or without Rolleinars?
    Care to share that experience? What's a fair price for a good
    condition Tele?

    I like the size, weight, and absence of mirror (and mirror slap) in
    the twin-lens design. But am I better off just investing in a medium
    format SLR that accepts interchangeable lenses? Interchangeable
    backs would be nice but is not essential for my work.

    Thanks for your input.
  2. Michael:

    The problem with Tele-Rolleis is that much of the price is their value to collectors.

    An SLR system would be a better value but if you're really attached to the idea of TLRs, go with your gut feeling.

    There are many possibilities out there! Mamiya C-330's are a bit bigger, but a tiny fraction of the price. I find Hasselblads easy to take into the field and they have the added advantage of interchangeable backs. I wouldn't ignore the world of 6x6 Bronicas either.

    Best of luck.

  3. Michael, I own a Tele-Rolleiflex. I have it as a collector and I use the camera occasionally for landscape photography. I have used it once for portraiture. The minimal focusing distance is 2.60 meter. That will give you a head + shoulders portrait. For a tight head shot you will have to crop or use a Rolleinar 0.35. It comes in a swing type frame, so you can swing it in front of the lenses when needed. You may want to check out this Rolleinar Table. The Rolleinar 0.35 may be hard to get in some markets. A studio tripod on wheels will help focusing. The Tele-Rolleiflex will be more or less useless without the Rolleinar for your kind of photography. Try to get them in one buy. I am also hosting a D.O.F. Table for the Tele-Rolleiflex with Rolleinars. I love the Tele, but at the end of the day a modern MF SLR may be easier to handle. Ferdi
  4. Michael

    I have many TLR Rolleiflexes,but for portraiture, I only use my
    Hasselblad with a 150mm lens. It is very inconvenient to use
    the Tele-Rollei with it's required Rolleinar close-up accessory
    lens which only degrades the quality of the prime lens. Leave
    the Tele-Rollei for the collectors to hoard, along with their
    Rollei-wides. The 75 and 80mm Rolleiflexes really are the
    most useable of the lot. For wide and tele work, a 6x6 SLR
    of the make of your choice is the type of camera to use.
    Even though I am a Rollei user and collector, I prefer my
    H'blad for wide and tele use.

  5. Hi Michael -

    As mentioned previously, a TLR alternative would be the Mamiya C330, C330f, or the C330S. There are other Mamiya models, too, but these are the most popular.

    Mamiya offered lenses in the following focal lengths for this TLR: 55mm f/4.5, 65mm f/3.5, 80mm f/2.8, 105mm f/3.5, 135mm f/4.5, 180mm f/4.5, and 250mm f/6.3(I think). To the best of my knowledge, out of this lineup, the most highly regarded are the 55mm, 105mm, and the 180mm Super. A lot of photographers also use the 135mm, very happily, for portraiture. Be sure to get only the later "black" lenses, as the earlier "chrome" lenses generally can no longer be repaired (or at least that is what I have been reading).

    The Mamiya TLRs, with their built-in bellows, allow for close focusing, which is a definite plus. You would be able to get as close as necessary with any of these lenses, without resorting to close-up lenses. This is also a "modular system" with different finders, focusing screens, grips, parallax correction devices, and other accessories.

    These cameras a definitely heavier than the Rolleiflex Tele, but they offer way more flexibility. If you plan to use the camera on a tripod, I don't see where this will be a problem. The different grips facilitate hand-holding, but it is fairly heavy.

    As others have mentioned, modern MF SLRs are excellent cameras, though they will cost more.
  6. I have used the Mamiya 330f with a 135mm f/4.5 Mamiya Sekor (black) lens for portraiture. The lens is very good. It seems to be based on the Tessar design, and is used in the best manner that a Tessar can be used: as a longer-than-normal lens. It is not a telephoto---the camera bellows has to be extended a fair amount to get to infinity focus. But it is sharp, and surprisingly resistant to flare. (It helps to have only 4 lens elements in 3 groups.) I'd also think that the suggestion to use a Hasselblad with a 150mm Sonnar would be a good idea too, if you can afford one of those. You might also consider Mamiya 645 and RB67 models, both of which are used by many pros for portraiture.
  7. Michael,

    I have a TeleRolleiflex. I use it for landscape photography and find the camera quite easy to operate even on a cold and windy Maine winter day. The Sonnar lens is very sharp. And the Rolleinars are of fine optical quality, similar to the Proxars sold by Hasselblad. It's a fine camera, worth the relatively high price that is often asked, but for portraits you might look at some options. As already mentioned, Hasselblads have a lot to offer. Also, a medium-format view camera, such as an Arca-Swiss F-line, would produce terrific work in a portrait studio. Once you have the camera set, you can work with your clients beside the camera. The Arca-Swiss is at least as well built as a Rolleiflex, and you can use it with a variety of top-quality lenses. Best wishes.
  8. Seems, the price of Rolleiflex TLR 4.0/135 is the same as Hasselblad 500CM & Sonnar 4.0/150. I discard Rolleiflex Tele 1n 1978 for Hassy because of disadvantages of Rollei-Tele mentioned in the above postings. I don’t think that Rollei wide, Rollei “normal” and Rollei tele is a sistem. But only normal lens Rolleiflex looking like a sistem.
  9. I think Richard Avedon is perhaps one of the most terrific and incisive portrait
    photographer of all times. Apart his 8x10" Deardorff, what do you think is his camera
    choice for portraits? Tele-Rolleiflex...!!!!
  10. This response is probaply too late to be of any value, but having owned Rolleiflexes, Telerollieflex, Mamiya C's and an Omegaflex, I have good experience with all types of TLRs. Lets compare apples to apples, or 135 TLRs to 135 TLRs: The Telerolleiflex is a great classic camera and the smallest of these three with great performance from that old Planar, but it is old and fixed lensed. Mamiya is a good system with a good 135 lens, though not up to the same standard of the Planar. Stopped down it is very good and Mamiya offers the most system possibilites of all TLRs with the widest lens selection. Last is the 135 Hexanon on the Omegaflex, which is as well built as a Rolleiflex (except for the fussy film back system that does not hold up well over time). Independent testing on the web shows the Omegaflex Hexanons to be the sharpest of all TLRs and I can say I would hold them up to a Planar any day. Rare as they may be, they offer the best of both worlds: the build and sharpness quality of a Rolleiflex, with the interchangible lens ability of the Mamiyas. Unless you are in love with the Telerolleiflex, I would recommend the Omegaflex. If hard to get, I can then recommend a Mamiya C-330 (f or s model) with the 135 Sekor or the better 180 Super. You can have a used Mamiya C with 3 lenses, an L grip, 3 shades and different prisms/hoods for 1/2 the cost a 40 year old 'flex. I still have the Omega and the Mamiya.
  11. my friend has a tele-rolleiflex and a motordrive(rolleimat?) for sale. together or seperate. be aware motor is not cheap.pls send me mail. i will forward and you can deal with him at the end. its a highly reputated pro-photographer. i had met him when he worked at yashica-stand at a fair.
  12. RECANT: It has been years since I posted, but over time I have had issue with the Omegaflex (too big, heavy and clumbersome, the backs kept breaking down) and the Mamiya (clumbersome, heavy and the wind gear broke). I have to say that upon closer look at my old prints, the enlargements taken with the tele-Rollei were a bit sharper. I also rememeber I could carry the tele-Rollei all day, while the Omega and the Mamiya were a pain to carry and really needed to always be on a tripod to get good results. I got better hand held results at 1/125 on the tele-Rollei than with the Mamiya at 1/250 (with the 135 Mamiya lens).
    So, this is a recant: I can now say I prefer the Tele-Rollei over the Mamiya C300f and the Koni-Omegaflex I had, so much so I went out and bought a tele-Rollei (I was a fool to sell my first was in mint shape, much better than the well-used but fully functinal model I got to replace it). I now have a complete TLR outfit that meets my needs and that I can carry around all day. I wish I could afford the new tele-Rolleflex with the 135 Xenotar that close focuses down to 1.5 meters!

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