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Re: [Rollei] Build Quality

> I am eagerly awaiting my first Rolleiflex, an Automat MX with
> a 3.5 Xenar, purchased recently through auction. The Rolleiflex cameras
> seem to vary greatly in cost, and besides differing lenses I  guess the
> meters would have to be the other pricing factor. Example: Are the 3.5E
> or F's worth the huge price differences from the older models?( Not
> taking into consideration CLA's, etc...?) If so is it only because of
> the lens quality? Or has the build changed over the years? (I remember
> talk of lighter Rolleiflex desires).

I think you'll be happy with the MX Xenar -- mine is a stunning performer,
even with a light haze in the lens (which I'll probably have cleaned
anyway).  My MX-EVS was equally wonderful.  The later models are more
expensive for various reasons.  Planars in particular have an almost
mystical reputation (despite strong evidence that the Xenotars are as good,
and probably better); both of the later lenses are much sharper wide open
than the Xenar/Tessar.  I would say that the build quality of the MX-EVS
down to the end of the E series represents the height of Rollei achievement.
You could argue that the MX Type 2 is also in this category.  The difference
is that the area where the strap attaches on the MX-EVS is much sturdier,
and more elegant; whereas the MX does not have the clumsy EVS system, and is
thus smoother in aperture and shutter speed adjustment.  (More sophisticated
historians than I am will have to weigh in on the build quality of the
different shutters.)

The F series suffers from the complexity of the linked meter, which tends to
break down more easily than the unlinked meter of the E.  I've also
discovered -- in the one F I owned, a White Face (and the most expensive of
the lot!) -- that the focusing knob has considerably more play than in the
earlier models.  This did not seem to be a problem with my camera alone, as
Ken Ruth could not fix it, and told me that it was a result of the design.
All this to say:  price does not reflect quality.  The Planars and White
Faces in particular are pricey for reasons unrelated to quality.  The White
Faces are Xenotars, but they represent the end of the line, and are very
expensive.  Of course, the very end of the line is the GX, whose build
quality is more in line with the 'Cord; it has a flimsier chassis than any
of the earlier Rolleiflexes.  It is also by far the most expensive...


Douglas Cooper