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Re: [Rollei] New member

At 09:40 AM 11/13/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>I landed a Rollieflex TLR on eBay recently.  I am
>quite excited about it.  I believe it is an early
>Automat, but am not terribly sure.  It has the little
>dials on either side of the lenses that select f stop
>and shutter speed.  All of the web sites I can find
>seem to identify this look with the Automat.  This
>camera is well described as an Automatic by the
>following url:
>I took it to Inkleys to get some film and find out
>more about it.  The owner of the shop seemed to know
>quite a bit about these.  He showed me how to load
>film.  He said he used to use them all the time.  When
>I first pulled it out, he had a bothered look on his
>face, but when he saw it was a Rolleiflex he seemed to
>get excited.  He said that this had to be an early one
>because it did not have coated lenses.  (How do you
>tell that just by looking?  He could.)
>Words around the focusing lense are:
>"Heidoscope - Anastigmat 1:28"
>Words around the main lense are:
>"Carl Zeiss Jena Nr. 2181136  Tessar 1:3,5 f=7,5cm"
>I think the Germans must use commas here where the
>Americans might use periods.  I.E. 1:3.5 f=7.5cm
>The camera seems to be in perfect working order,
>however the shop manager suggested strenuously that I
>not attempt to use the self timer.  He said that in
>older cameras like this, that if the self timer wasn't
>working that if one were to attempt to use it it would
>frequently cause the camera to jam.  Has anyone heard
>any thing like this?  Do list members have any counsel
>on this matter?  He suggested that this camera was
>made in the 1930's.  I didn't realize that the Automat
>was made back then.  Can I find the age based on the
>serial number?  (699278)
>He also said that the camera had been modified.  It
>has a jack that allows you to connect a synchronized
>flash.  I didn't realize this was a mod.  It looks
>like it is just part of the camera.  Now that I
>examine things closely, the hole that is cut in the
>case for this jack is cut with a very dull chisel or a
>hack saw or dull sissors, or whatever, so it clearly
>must be a mod.
>Here are some questions I have.  
>Is it possible to take a double exposure with this
>The dials to change f stop and shutter speed do seem
>just a little stiff.  I can move them ok, and they
>seem to be loosening up with use, but should they be
>cleaned or lubricated?
>Is there really any danger of using the self timer?
>If I do use the self timer, how does it work?
>The camera doesn't seem to have the folding mirror for
>eye-level focusing.  It does have the pop up
>I was quite suprissed to see how wide an angle of
>focus this camera had.  I stood at the train station
>in Sandy, UT, and thought I would like to get a shot
>of the Bingham copper mine, but when I looked through
>the viewfinder I saw the whole valley, and the
>mountains became just a small dirt pile and the mine
>was just a small blip.  You could hardly notice it.
>But when I looked at it with my own eyes the mine
>seemed to dominate the view.  I decided it wasn't the
>best shot for this camera.
>This camera has a place to attach a cable to control
>the shutter remotely.  If I don't dare use the self
>timer, perhaps I could find a timer that could be
>attached to a cable?
  This is what Prochnow calles an Automat, second model. Dates from Feb
1938 to March 1939 from the serial number. The lens serial number dates
from 1937, about right. If this is the correct identification the camera
will not have a bayonet on the finder lens, only on the taking lens. 
  The hood has a fold down mirror for viewing at eye level. There is a
small lever on the right side of the hood (camera held in working position)
which will fold the mirror when its pulled toward you. It may be that the
mirror was removed at some point. 
  There is a cable release socket on the right side of the front, this time
facing the camera. Some camereas were modified for flash synch and don't
have this socket any more. 
  The self-timer is wound the first time the camera is wound and stays that
way until used. It is a separte unit, not part of the shutter. The drive
spring is pretty husky but the self timer can fail to trip the shutter if
its not cleaned and if the front plate of the camera is not aligned. 
  There is no way to take double exposures with the camera. The film wind
and shutter cocking are combined. There is a modification which adds a
small button to release the mechanism allowing double exposures
  The lens is not coated. Zeiss started coating lenses after WW-2. Coated
lenses have dimmer and usually colored reflections. The reflections from an
uncoated glass-air surface is quite bright. 
  One thing to check for is haze inside the lenses. Old lenses often get a
coating of haze which destroys contrast.  Both taking and finder lenses can
be disassembled and cleaned. 
  About the self timer I can suggest only that if it doesn't trip the
shutter the whole camera is probably due for a cleaning, the stiff
adjusting wheels suggest this. The original lubricants will have dried up
or oxidized over time. 
  A proper overhaul is not cheap but won't have to be done again for many
  There are several good Rollei people around. I recommend Harry Fleenor
because I have had personal experience with him; his work is excellent. I
would certainly get an estimate. If the lens is in good condition (no
scratches or gouges) the performance should be excellent. 
- ----
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA