What is a reasonable price for a Rolleiflex 2.8F TLR ?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by pensacolaphoto, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. This question may have been asked many times before, but I think
    selling prices are changing each month it seems. In your opinion,
    what is a reasonable asking price in the USA (ebay or photo.net) for
    a clean 2.8F model these days? Is it above $600?
  2. In perfect mechanical condition with clean glass & no tech body adjustments like side-mounted flash bars or disabled self-timers/xm levers, and very nice looking cosmetically I'd say anywhere from the upper $600's and beyond is probably about right. $500-$600 for a somewhat worn body but working perfectly, and I do mean completely perfectly, with clean glass. As you get to clean-but-with-some-issues bodies the price would go down for me fast. They are just too expensive to have work done to pay top dollar for a body in less than optimal working condition.
  3. In your opinion, what is a reasonable asking price in the USA (ebay or photo.net) for a clean 2.8F model these days? Is it above $600?
    Way, way above!
    A few months ago I wasted 5 weeks looking for an affordable Rollieflex 3.5F or 2.8F in good condition. The best I could find for the 3.5F was @ $US 600. Good condition 2.8F's were all $US 1300 and above.
    No I'm not kidding. Add to these prices a proper CLA done by a competent "name" technician + a brighter focus screen, and you won't get much change from $US 1700 for a 2.8F. Sheesh! For that kind of money you may as well buy a mint condition Hasselblad 501 C/M kit. Which is exactly what I ended up doing :?)
    eBay slaves will now rush to their keyboards and retort "Nonsense, I just saw a mint-in- box 2.8F for $13.50!". Yeah well - ALL the eBay deals I looked at in that five week period were BENT. The sellers were vague about the serial number, or else would answer Qs with "I don't know, I'm only selling it for my dad", or else they wouldn't answer at all. The pictures were all mysteriously unsharp and taken from such a great distance that you couldn't see any detail (etc.)
    So I only dealt with Rollei dealers. Still had problems, but at least they were traceable and - when push came to shove - issued a refund upon return of goods. And in dealer-land, the prices were pretty much fixed: 3.5F = $650, 2.8F = $1300++.
  4. cpj


    The previous poster is correct to a large extent--the really good ones go for $1000 or
    more and I once paid $1800 for one in the box on ebay a few years ago. Here is one
    worth looking at a little closer: 3855060877 on ebay with 5 days to go, so it has been just
    recently listed. All of the others on there at this time--and I just looked at them all--had
    various degrees of "problems." Beware the "as is" and the "I don't know much about
    cameras but my wife's uncle just diedc . . ." listings. Always look for a seller with more
    than 100 feedback listings to his credit which run in the 99% Positive range. (It takes a lot
    to get a "bad" feedback on ebay.) This is not to say that bargains do not come along and
    you might pick up something in great shape for $700 to $800 once in a while, but always
    deal with someone who will say, "Unconditional Return within 5 or 10 days if you don't like
    the camera." Period. If it has no problems, individual sellers will provide full return
    options. Watch for the guys who say, "This is an auction buddy, when it ends, you've
    bought it." And it once cost me $175 to get something fixed on an otherwise "perfect"
    Rollei to which the seller said, "Some small things which are of no consequence to us may
    be important to you, so be sure to ask questions before bidding." Yes, the crank which
    advances the film and cocks the shutter was important to me as were the missing gears
    behind it.
  5. The price range for sought after cameras is set by the auction site. At the huge camera fair
    at Houten, Netherlands, last Sunday I was talking to a Rollei friend and collector. He comes
    to fairs for the fun only, not for business. He said every good and clean 2.8 F will fetch
    US$ 1200 at auction. Fair visitors are not prepared to pay that kind of money. Not even
    when they can inspect the merchandise before parting with their money. For him there is
    no need to sell at, say, US$ 900 when all he has to do is take the camera home and put it
    up for auction. Sorry Raid, that's the way it is. About US$ 1200, may be more.
  6. Ferdi
    I agree with most of what you say but can you tell me how ebay 'sets the price of sought after items', as, surely the bidders do that? or did you mean that the price is set 'on' ebay?


  7. I would say that eBay is the best place for a savvy shopper to get a good deal on Rolleflexes.

    In my opinion, to get good deals on ebay, a buyer must do their homework which includes learning the prices and minimizing risk. To minimize risk, a buyer must learn how to spot bad sellers. No doubt that ebay is a riskier venue than an established camera shop no matter how much effort one puts into protecting one's self. But ebay is also where the best deals are found because most buyers don't know how to minimize their risk, and thus are willing to buy only at reduce prices.

    I would also say that Rolleflexes roughly divide into two categories: collector pieces and user cameras. Collector cameras typically sell in the $1200 range and include late and/or unique models in extremely good condition. Collector Rolleiflex prices track with other collector camera prices, such as Leica. User cameras tend to sell in the $600 range and are likely to be older models and have obvious signs of use but still function perfectly well.

    If a buyer want a collector's piece, then he has to pay collector's prices. If a buyer wants to buy used gear risk-free, then he has to pay premium prices. Thus, I don't think it is unwarranted that a risk-free purchase of an excellent late-model collector camera comes at a high cost.

    On the other hand, if a buyer wants a user camera from a private seller, then he can get a wonderful example of a high quality picture taking machine for about the same as a used Mamiya C330 with lens at a reputable retail establishment.

    Just my 0.02$

  8. If you look at the Rolleiflex Model F prices all one can do is to shrug and buy a Model C, D or E instead. These are about half the price and a decent looking, working, but not mint 2.8E (with meter working) will cost you at maximum USD 500, for a 3.5e in the same condition you will pay about USD 400-420. If you have to pay more just contact me and I will sell you mine for that price. Interestingly the E2 and E3 models, although as young as most F models, are not as exorbitantly priced, although still alot higher than the standard C,D and E models.
  9. Bruno, <br><br>
    Yes, I meant to say the bidders on Ebay set the price. In a world wide market place there
    always seams to be a bidder who is willing to pay a top price. That's the way I see things.
    Well, I am not a marketing Guru, just a retired pharmacist. <br><br> Ferdi.
  10. I agree with Kai that for a user camera it is best to forget about the F-models unless
    money is no object. In most cases the light-meter is not very accurate by modern
    standards or may even be unusable. If you cannot use the light-meter, you will not need
    an expensive F. Also the 3.5 model range instead of the 2.8 is a very realistic option. For
    user cameras look at the T or the 3.5 E models without light-meter or even a C. That will
    save lots of money and you will still have a wonderful camera.
  11. "But ebay is also where the best deals are found because most buyers don't know how to minimize their risk, and thus are willing to buy only at reduce prices."

    Don't kid your self, prices for Any Rolleiflex on Ebay at the moment are sky rocketing, but there is also lots of rubbish being offered for seemingly cheap prices, and not just for cameras but also for spares. I recently bid for a Focusing Hood for my Automat, when the item arrived it had a large dent on the side not shown on the picture in ebay, and would not open fully, fortunately the seller offered to return my money. I would not buy any Rollei without first inspecting it, and only from someone close to where I lived Dealer or Private.
    But the days of the Good Rolleiflex bargain are over. Just watch the price rocket on the last couple of hours of an auction.
    Having said that, I bought a 1939 Automat, OK not the nicest example you have ever seen, but everything in full working order, for 150 Euros, and it takes very good pictures. I bought it from an old guy round the corner, and paid him what he asked.
  12. Simon,

    I think Rollei prices are up everywhere due to rising collector interest. Also, junk is available everywhere, not just online.

    Additionally, at least for me, my used camera options would be substantially limited if the seller had to be within driving distance. I think the same is true for most buyers.

    I am still of the opinion that a careful buyer can get an good user Rolleiflex 2.8F model in the $600 range, and a good user 2.8E model in the $500 range online.

  13. I recently picked up a mint 2.8F model 1 Xenotar with case, filters, strap for $550US from a local camera shop. It works fantastically well as is. No further work required and use it as is.

    Shopping the auction site a year ago produced a c.1956 3.5E Model 1 Xenotar with case and strap for less than $250US. The main shutter spring was a little weak. But only 30% slow on the shutter, so it was very useful as is. The optics were incredibly sharp too! I sold it recently to finance the purchase of a 7x17inch view camera.

    At a local photoswap a year ago I paid $900US for a c.1969 3.5F Model 3 with case and strap. This one needed a $250 CLA to get working properly. Add another $125 for a Maxwell screen and I have around $1200US into the camera.

    BTW, there's no optic performance difference between the E and F models. Mid-50's cameras can produce as fine an image as an early '70s camera. So if you're out shopping, don't rule out the E models as they tend to be cheaper in some cases than F's.

    Shop carefully and you can score a decent deal. Search "completed items" to get a clearer answer to your question.
  14. I am glad to have received many useful repsonses here. I once owned a 2.8F and a 2.8E which I sold several years ago, but I kept my 2.8D which functions perfectly. Buying a camera on ebay comes with plenty of risks, as pointed out above. It seems that prices have really sky-rocketed for Rolleiflexes, in the age of digital cameras. This is also good, showing appreciation for craftmanship. On the other hand, this is bad for those who want to buy such classical cameras.
  15. ferdi

    Thanks for your reply - you're right, an item is worth only what someone else is willing to pay.


  16. You mentioned above : "For user cameras look at the T or the 3.5 E models without light-meter or even a C."

    I have noticed that several people have stated their wish for the C model. Is there something "special" about the C model, compared to say, the 2.8D? Is the Xenotar lens extra sharp ? You have extensive experience with the TLR system, so maybe you can help out here.
  17. FWIW, three years ago I bought an almost mint 3.5F Rollei (Planar) with a like-new case for $720. It's needed no repairs or tuneups. It's odd how the crash in film-camera prices has affected the Leicas but not the Rolleis. That said, if you see a good one, you should grab it. The good ones are getting thin on the ground, and the 3.5F ranks with the Leica M3 for design and manufacture. And that 3.5 Planar is incomparable. If you want a 2.8F, be prepared to pay a lot more money and carry around a lot more weight. You will also pay a good bit more for a lens hood and filters.
  18. I have read some comments that the 3.5F is actually sharper than the 2.8F at several aprtures. Is this true in your opinion? Has anyone here tried both lens types ?
  19. I bought a Mint- 3.5F with Planar lens two weeks ago in a local shop. It costed 599.00 Euro, came with a perfect original leather case and Rollei UV filter Bay2. I shot 1 roll with it : great results, meter spot on, shutter speeds too apparently. I already loved the camera but then discovered that the shutter wouldn't fire when the little (selftimer & flash type) lever was in electric flash position. Self timer is hesitating at best - not working most of the time too. The camera came with 1 year warranty, so it went back for check up and repair... alas.
    A 2.8F in much lesser condition sold for 800 Euro the day before I purchased mine. Good luck, i's a hell of a fine camera to use.
  20. "...Is this true in your opinion? Has anyone here tried both lens types ?"

    I'm sure many people here have. I have used many TLRs- If you have a good one, you have a good one. Some of these differences in sharpness people speak off are rather difficult to appreciate without a stereo microscope.

    Even my old Rollei Automat MX amazes me, as does my Minolta Autocord. The images are better qualty-wise than anything I can do with my Leica.

    A well adjuted 2.8 or 3.5 Planar or Xenotar camera will give any medium format gear a serious run for its money.
  21. Well adjusted is the key here. I bought a 2.8F and used it for half a year with great success, usually at f8-f16. Then I started using it at 2.8 in low light. That's where the problem was, focus was beyond where it indicated and I had to get it serviced. Along with all the other small things that I did not know needed doing, it was expensive - 300 euros. I had the meter adjusted - 3/4 of a stop off, the auto loading device adjusted etc. I also put in a Maxwell screen (an extra 100?).

    All that was in a camera that seemed in excellent working order, until I used it in critical situations. So when someone says a camera works very well, ask yourself what that really means; how critical are you? If you want it perfect, like I did, which makes sense to me with such high end equipment, then it may turn out to be more expensive than you'd anticipated.

    Having said all that I now have a perfectly adjusted white face in excellent condition which cost me (everything included) under 900 euros.
  22. Prices are all over the board. I put my 2.8 E2 in excellent condition, full CLA by the master, dead on collimation, taking lens separation and haze repaired by focal point in Louisville, CO , ungodly sharp Planar lens, on the big auction site and high bid for it was just shy of $400. For that kind of money I decided to keep it, even though I was selling it becaue of my heavy investment in Hassy stuff. I suppose next week I could list it and a bidding war might ensue and fetch more.
  23. FWIW, I have never bought a used (older) camera that I havent had serviced. I would normally factor in c. 150 UKP for the average Leica or Rollei F - less for Minolta Autocords and Rollei Automats etc.

    The Rolleis we are talking about are old cameras and, as mentioned above, they can go out of adjustment from time to time.
  24. I have noticed that several people have stated their wish for the C model. Is there something "special" about the C model, compared to say, the 2.8D? Is the Xenotar lens extra sharp ? You have extensive experience with the TLR system, so maybe you can help out here.


    I was talking about the 3.5 model range. The 3.5 C is the first 3.5 with a Planar or Xenotar. Earlier 3.5 cameras had Tessar/Xenar lenses. Also the 3.5 C is from 1956 - 1956, not too old. In the 3.5 model range there were no D or E models. After the C the range continued with the 3.5 F in 1958. I am using European model names. In some markets there was a 3.5 E that was called 3.5 C in Europe. All this is a bit confusing. Best skip through this list. The "Evans" names are different in a number of cases.

    There is no significant difference in the performance of Planars and Xenotars. The factory preferred to have two suppliers of lenses. I have read somewhere that Zeiss lenses had to be ordered one year in advance. Schneider could deliver on shorter notice. The Schneiders were ordered when Zeiss stock was getting low and the next shipment was not due to arrive from the Zeiss factory at Oberkochen.

  25. Now is not the time to buy on ebay. Prices always rise steadily until Christmas, then hit rock bottom by February. Sell now, buy later!
  26. You might want to look in the UK. I bought a 2.8E2 (basically a 2.8F sans meter) for
    300GBP from MWClassic in London. It turned out to have a sticky shutter which they fixed
    in 48 hours (OK it took five weeks to get it to them but that was the Royal Mail's fault).

    MWClassic and other UK dealers seem to charge quite reasonable prices for user cameras
    and in my experience they they allways honour their guarantees.

    Collectible cameras are, as mentioned above, quite another matter when it comes to
  27. Harvey,
    The US$ is now 45% lower relative to the EURO 3-4 years ago, so buying a camera from Europe these days has become rather costly for us here in the USA. Add to it the rather costly insured shipping from UK to USA, and "inexpensive" buys become rather costly.
  28. Gosh, I bought 2 Rolleiflex 3.5 Automats on eBay over the past 3 years, and I paid $130 for a Xenar, and later $142 for a Tessar. They both have characteristic signs of light wear on the exterior, but the glass is clear, mechanicals work fine without having spent a dime on CLA's or anything else. Bottom line is, both cameras take stunningly sharp and beautiful pictures. I see no need to spend extra for the 2.8 model.

    I bought one of each so I could do my own comparison of the lens manufacturers (indiscernable, by the way), and now I shoot color transparency in the Zeiss and black and white negs in the Schneider.

    Nowadays, I've got one foot in the digital world, but even with digital's convenience factors, the Rolleis are still my greatest joy to use by far. Just the slower pace required to use the Rollei is refreshing. I think it is remarkable that a 50 year old camera, under $150, can deliver such top-notch performance.

    I'd suggest taking a chance or two on eBay. If you are after a mint collectors item, you may be frustrated. If you are just looking for a damn good photographic instrument, fasten your seatbelt, take the plunge, and get ready to enjoy photography as it was meant to be enjoyed!
  29. I have been looking and over past few weeks seems they go for $700-1300. There is a website where the passionate amateur has been testing lenses and from what he shows the 3.5 vs the 2.8 (takes a while to understand the page - for instance the red entries are just newer testing). Anyway the Rolleis come out looking pretty good but so does one of the Mamiya models.


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