I just recently, within the last 4 months or so, got into medium format photographer using TLR's. My camera of choice is a Rolleiflex MX-EVS from the mid 50's. It was a little expensive to purchase and get CLA'd, but the photos that come out of it are beautiful. I also use a nice mint Yashica-D, from the 60's, that I found at an antique market for $42. It came with the black leather case and lens cap. I don't think anybody ever used it.
Rolliflexes are beautiful cameras, but they had a selection of lenses available from Zeiss and Schneider and some are better than others; which lens does yours have? Yashica Ds had two lens options; does your D have the Yashicor or Yashinon lens?
My Rollei has the f/3.5 Zeiss Sonnar. I wish it had one of the brighter f/2.8 lenses, but it doesn't. I'm just lucky to have a Rolleiflex at all, I guess. Have you seen the prices on Rolleis lately? Even used Rolleicord prices have just about tripled over the last five years. Obamanomics in action, I guess.
Yashicor lenses, in Yashica TLRs, are pretty sharp, but only if you shoot with the aperture set permanently on f/11. They are not too bad on f/8 or f/16, but you can forget about using anything else. Yashinon lenses let you use your aperture control more and they are a little bit sharper. My D and my EM both have Yashinon lenses and my two As both have Yashicors.
I've been searching for an f/2.8, but they go for so much money, it's not easy to find a good deal. Plus, one will most likely need to get it fixed up and lubricated. Many folks selling them say that they don't know much about the cameras.
I've seen people ask a lot of $ for 3.5's (as is and not fixed up for use). One that I came across was priced at $1500.
The camera that I bought was $375, the leather case was $75, I have a few filters and Bay I lens hoods too totalling another $150 or so. CLA'ing it at Camera Central, Chicago cost $180. It's nice, so I am not worried about the cost.
Speaking of Rolleicords, a few months back, I bought one for $225 (w/shutter release cord and flash bracket) not knowing anything about them. Not sure if I got a good deal or not. Buyer's remorse could set it because I don't use it as much as I thought I would.
Thanks for the info on the lenses, it's nice to chat about old TLRs.
Never buy a camera from someone who says he doesn't know anything about cameras. That is the biggest red flag of them all. It isn't hard to see if a camera works and most of the people who say they don't know anything about cameras know enough to know it doesn't work but they don't want to say so. That doesn't mean you can't buy the camera, but you have to be careful. If the camera has a winding knob, I'll just coach them through firing the shutter and ask if they saw a flash of light before buying the thing. If it has a crank or a lever film advance, I'll coach them through winding it and firing it three or four times.
I don't really remember what I paid for mine, but I have a vague idea of $199 plus shipping. Mine was a mess though, with a stuck shutter. I got it working again, did my own CLA, put new leather on it, painted it, polished it up and it is almost presentable now. It works fine, but it is nothing I'd ever show off. I got it over ten years ago and I wasn't that good at painting them back then. In fact, this was my first paint job. I made the mistake of using Tester model paint and a brush. It needs a new paint job with better paint. One of these days, when I'm not too busy...
I've got mine in a modified Yashica case that cost about $20. Again, one of these days when I get around to it, I'll get a better case.
I do my own work, but if I were going to send something out I'd send it to either Mark Hama (TLRs and Yashica rangefinders) or to Essex Camera Services, in New Jersey.
I've never bought a Rolleicord, mostly because I think some of the Yashicas are better and cost less. I think the days of picking up cheap stuff on ebay may be coming to and end though. I've seen some of those Yashica As that I used to buy for $20 and less going for $125 lately -- and people are buying them.
Yashica TLRs are pretty good cameras, but they came with two lens options: Yashicor lenses and Yashinon lenses. Make sure that, if you get one, it has Yashinon lenses. The Yashicor lenses are sharp, but only at f/11. The Yashinons are just a little sharper at f/11 and there is much less of a drop-off in sharpness at the other apertures.
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Bluefley has a gallery filled with artwork that whisks you off in to a Sci-fi daydream, and keeps you captivated for hours. Marc has been a member of our community for over a decade and has achieved nothing but success with his astounding commitment to interacting with the community, sharing a prolific amount of video tutorials and generally being an all round rockstar deviant. It is no joke that we are absolutely delighted to award the Deviousness Award for April 2014 to ... Read More