TLR Recommendation, Rollei or ??

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by howard_allen, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. Hi; I currently own a RolleiCord IV that has malfunctioned (advance
    mechanism). I have decided to replace it. Looking on E-bay there
    appear to be a lot of choices, including another model IV, for about
    $100 or so. I have seen Yashica and Mamiya as well as various
    Rollei's. Can anyone recommend a specific camera by make and model or
    ones to avoid (like Eastern block cameras from the 50'-80's). I am
    not into snobbery brand-wise and am just an amateur. I liked the
    Rolleicord when it was working but the Yachica's I have seen are
    newer and seem to have decent len's in them as well. But I have heard
    that weak springs are a problem in older Japanese cameras, although I
    have a Nicca 3S that checked out fine.
    Appreciate help as soon as possible as I have my eye on several
    cameras on E-bay and don't know what to do. Thanks in advance!
  2. cxc


    I'm happy with my Mamiya C3. Reasonably priced, interchangeable lenses, readily available on the 'Bay. Downside, especially compared to a Rollei, is that the thing is quite big and heavy; most people won't want to hand hold it or hang it from their neck for prolonged peiords of time. I generally use a tripod.

  3. $50-$75 range, no meters: Yashica Mat, Yashica D, Meopta Flexaret VI

    $75 - $120 range, meters may be unreliable or broken: Yashica Mat-EM, Mat-LM, Mat-124

    $125-$175 range: Yashica Mat-124 in pristine condition, Minolta Autocord, Mamiya C22 or C220 with 80mm lens, various Rolleicords

    Beyond $200, a whole range of Mamiyas with interchangeable lenses, and top notch Rolleiflexes come into play

    I've personally had great luck with Yashica Mat and Mat-124 cameras. I tend to find them very cheaply, clean them up, check them out, and put them in the hands of students. I presently don't have any other than the pristine Mat-124 and a more cosmetically challenged Rolleiflex 2.8D that I use as my personal TLRs, though.
  4. That is a great run down.

    I would suggest that you buy an in-expensive one to see if you actually like the TLR camera. I love it, but my wife cannot stand it.

    I bought a vintage seagull for about 40 bucks and loved the pictures it took so much that I got a Rollei. The Rollei was nice but limiting so I got a c330.

    I now have a c330 and c220 and all of the lenses. They can be had chealy on ebay if you are patient and know what you want.
  5. If you don't mind the single focal length, I'd stick with the Rolleis. If you want interchangeability, the afore-mentioned Mamiya C-variant cameras are a good value, but are significantly heavier than Rollei TLRs.

    The one accessory for the Mamiya TLRs I love is the Porroprism. The eyepiece sticks out to the side of the camera so I can rest the left side of the camera on the right side of my big nose. Its a very comfortable fit.
  6. The Mamiya Porroflex finder was made by Nikon. They also made a version that would fit Rolleiflexes with interchageable hoods. I adapted a Minolta Autocord to accept the Mamiya version. They are much lighter than penta prisms but not as bright.
  7. Zeiss Ikoflex.
  8. The heavyness factor in the Mamiya cameras actually doesn't bother me much, and seems to help me steady my hand held shots especially if I've been drinking too much caffeine.
  9. I shot the same scene at the same time using tri-x at iso 200 with a Rolleiflex 3.5f Xenotar and a Minolta autocord, both shot at an aperture of f8. I found it almost impossible to tell the negatives apart.
  10. The responses are interesting. I agree about putting a Yashicamat in the hands of
    photo students. 35mm B&W is a difficult thing to master. With 2-1/4, students can
    "just do it" and see easily the power and potential of a photographic negative. Having
    just experienced unimpressive results with some 2-1/4 folders and considering what a
    medium format SLR still costs, I think there is no better traditional image value than a
    2-1/4 TLR in the $80 to $150 range and budget $75 - $100 for a CLA. I would trade
    ALL my 35mm color slides for 1/10 the number taken with a Yashicamat 124G (or
    comparable camera) and Ektachrome slide film. ENJOY, There is a reason these
    cameras are still discussed so well. .......
  11. Any flavour Rolleicord V you can get.
  12. Send your Rollei to Mark Hansen at Class Camera in Portland Oregon. He fixed a broken advance and several other minor problems with a Rollei E i have for $100, did a great job. Rolleicord would probably be cheaper to fix as it is simpler.
    Personally, I have had two Yashicas, and while they are ok, I don't think they are worth what they are currently selling for.For the same or close, I would stick with a Rollei. The lenses are better, the build quality is better, at least from my expirience. I have a rollei with a 3.5 tessar that gives better images than either Yashica D, or Yashicamat 124 I had. I wouldn't rule out a Yashica, they make very nice images, but the price would have to right. I mean if you look on Eby they seem to go for almost as much as an Rollei, or Rolleicord, so why not get the Rollei?
  13. Buy a Rolleiflex from about 1952 on with a Xenotar or Planar lens, then get a Maxwell focusing screen which is 10X brighter than the original screen and can be had with a center microprism or rangefinder split image at no extra cost. You will never regret it. Check out Rollei sites on the web, especially"The Unofficial Rolleiflex TLR Page" run by Torbjorn Aase from Norway at


    You will find a lot of information about Rollei models at this site.
  14. If you ignore small price differences for a second, it's much about what kind of equipment suits you. Eg. I've got some great shots made with a Mamiya C2/C3 (don't remember which it was right now), but the camera is heavy and bulky, and the mechanisms on Rolleis feel more refined. So I bought a Rolleiflex and it was the right camera for me, with many nice features. The Mamiyas, however, offer interchangeable lenses, if you think you'll need that.
  15. No or, just a Rollei. I really like them, handling and built quality are superb, why go for anything else ? The IV is a nice model, you really could have it repaired. Otherwise for about $100 I would go for a 'cord. The 'flexes are a bit more expensive (starting with about $150-200 for the Tessar models), but also very nice. The planar/xenotar models are superb, but even more expensive. So repairing your camera or getting a similar one (model IV or V) seems to be the most viable solution.
  16. Hi; Want to thank everyone for their responses! I have decided to bid on another Rolleicord IV on Ebay that I have found and I noticed a nice looking Autocord that I will consider if I don't get the Rollei. Either way it sounds like I can't go wrong in the price range I can afford. There is an interesting German police Rollei Vb on Ebay right now, supposedly recently serviced but the reserve is fairly high. Regards to all, Howard Allen
  17. I have a Mamiya C330, it's a very good camera and the lenses are very sharp (I have 80 and 150mm)
    If you prefer a lighter camera the Rollei (flex or cord) is better, because the Mamiya is a big piece of steel !
    I use the Yashica for some month, but the lens was not very sharp (may this particular camera not all Yashicas ?)
  18. try and find a user cord Vb,interchangeable WLF, i have the one with the Xenar 3.5 lens and i really like it, i have a feeling you will too... good luck ! pc
  19. Personally,<P>

    I would get the Rolleicord IV fixed by a competent professional. Most of the other cameras listed above are of equal or lesser quality (Mamiya is in a class by its self), and since the film advance is so simple on a Rolleicord, I would get it fixed and have the shutter speeds checked and a possible CLA; Once done you will have a great camera for the next 50 years.<P>
    unless the sellers on ebay are offering full money back guarantees, I would avoid buying anything used.

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