I've started collecting vintage cameras, I'm hooked! At first, the idea was to just display the cameras. Now, I want to start to shoot film and am looking to purchase a vintage film camera for personal use. I'm actually thinking about building my own dark room. It's been 25 years since I've developed film on my own back in high school. I remember really enjoying the process.
I've decided that I wanted to purchase Rollei TRL. So many models to choose. I know this is a personal choice, but I was hoping I met get some feedback from those who own and shoot with a variety of models.
I've got my eye on a Rolleiflex 3.5E. Any others I should be considering? My max budget would be $1,000.00
Hi Mike, You should consider weight and usability. I have a Rolleiflex from the 1930es. The viewfinder is dim and shutter has no double exposure preventure. No fun to use. I also have Mamiya C220 and C33, great cameras but extreme heavy. Last summer when I had to make a decision which one to take with me on the holiday trip I took the Seagull 4A. It is light, has good usability and it is not too expensive in case it gets stolen.
Conclusion, if you want a Rollei, go for a late Rolleiflex 2.8
I did have a Seagull in the late 1970's and regretted selling it on. I never used it enough to find out how reliable they were, but the lens was very good at medium apertures, a bit soft at the edges full open. Main reason for sale was purchase of a Mamiya 645 camera, a format I find more useful than square, which can give a formal dull look to shots. But then you can just crop 120 to taste, and as I was always cropping, I felt why not use 645 anyway?
I use regularly a Minolta Autocord and have just scored a Rolleicord V. In times past, I have also used Yashica-12 and Ikoflex Ib. All these are capable TLR cameras, but way cheaper than the best Rolleiflex alternatives spoken above. My late father had a 3.5 Rolleiflex; it was his favorite camera.
Maybe you can tell that I like TLR cameras. For some reason I also like the square format in 120 and not 645 or 6x9.
Go ahead with the darkroom if you like it, but I'd recommend saving part of your treasure for a good film scanner as well. You are going to enjoy it. The newer Epson flatbeds are more than good enough for 120 film.
Only TLR's I have are a Mamiya C220, C330 and a Yashica EM. The Mamiya's have the advantage of changable lenses so I can use something wider than the typical 80mm you find on 99% of all other TLR's. The EM is a lot lighter on the other hand.
(OK, got another TLR but that one isn't in working condition and will never leave the house)
I'm nobody's expert since I've only owned two and used three. In the late sixties I was a still photographer in the US Army. My first assignment was in a far away and exotic land. The lab was run by a warrant officer who was so old that he had been shot down in WWII while on a photography mission over the Med.
He was stuck in his ways. Slides=Spotmatic, B&W=4X5 (I loved the 2 Technicas we used), Color print=His personal Rollei. I don't remember the model, but it had a light meter built in that was under the Rollei nameplate. He would crop the square negs with a pair of scissors and send to a buddy who worked in a color lab somewhere.
I bought my first Rollei for three dollars at a garage sale because it didn't work. I think it was an Automat. Cost me $280 to get into shape but it was a full overhaul, it was a thing of beauty to use. Sold it into slavery in Eastern Europe through a well known international auction site.
Sold it because my current Rollei was not financed and it came from another garage sale soon after the first came back from the camera hospital. It's a nice 3.5 Tessar without meter (Model K4?) and it was somebody's pet. All the accessories in little leather cases. Bought a Leica screw mount Minolta and a virtually new Luna Pro for less than $100 for all at the sale. Tried not to run to the truck while making my escape.
Bottom line here: Buy what you like and can afford. This camera collecting can get out of hand!!! The thrill is in the hunt, not the capture.