So what do I know about Rolleiflex cameras?
Well, without giving away my age, I was one of that band of press photographers that made that monumental transition in the 60's from medium format to SLR - From Rolleiflex to Nikon F!
In my view the Rolleiflex was, and still is the finest camera ever. It has now become one of the most collectable of classic cameras and rightly so.
If you are going to join the merry band of avid Rollei collectors then, for what it's worth, here are a few words of advice.
Decide on why you want to do!. Do you want to display or use ....or both. If you are going to display then your prime search must always be bodywork. Lets face it, if you just want to ogle at its fine shape and Germanic austerity then find one that looks gorgeous. If you are not going to use it, then why fret over slow shutter speeds, iffy self timer, stiff focussing etc.
Let me put it another way. Do you lust after those sexy supermodels? You may even have their pictures on your wall. Most of them are stunning to look at time after time, but the moment they open their mouth......! Hey, does it really matter that their thinking and verbal dialogue are sometimes non-existent. Well, apply the same train of thought to buying your Rolleiflex!
If you want to use, as well as display a Rolleiflex, then my advice is to always look for one that has had a recognised overhaul; or as some say, been CLA'd
There can be nothing worse than buying a beautiful Rollei with the intention of snapping away and one week after purchase, the shutter gives up! You probably have no comeback with the seller and you then have to find a reputable repairer. These are of course still about. Great technicians such as Harry Fleanor in the USA and Brian Mickelboro in the UK to name two. But stripping your baby to the bare bones and giving her the once over is not going to be the price of a breakfast...or even brunch. No sir, you may well be landed with the bill for a four-course gourmet dinner!
If your sole purpose is to hold, fondle and simply shoot away with the Rollei, then do not be afraid! Like a punch-drunk prize fighter, you may find a model that looks like it just done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. These cameras are rugged machines that were built to do a professional job and though they may look ugly, providing the price is right and the mechanics are good, particularly the taking lens, then Buy!
Planar,,,,Xenotar.....Tessar.......forget the hype.
Tessar lenses produce great results. Xenotar lenses produce stunning results. Planar lens produce outstanding results. But in truth, your pics will probably be blown up to no more than 20"x!6" in size so the difference in quality is minimal. Just make sure they are free of fungus, separation or scratches.
And just one other thing. Whether the camera has a built-in meter or not, don't buy because you think you'll need it. The Rollei meter is in the main, very erratic. Lovely to look at but you might as well use an oven temperature gauge to take light readings, it's that temperamental! Buy a Western meter for consistent results
I hope this helps you in your pursuit of the girl, sorry I mean Rolleiflex, of your dreams.....