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The case for preserving Rolleiflex TLRs

Discuss all you like about the Rolleiflex TLR and Rolleicord TLR

The case for preserving Rolleiflex TLRs

Postby Eddie Vaughan » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:00 pm

The last of the Rolleiflex 2.8 f series appeared in 1981 and the 3.5f in 1976, so even the youngest of them are now well over a quarter of a century old. Although there are plenty of both models still advertised for sale, often with the usual defects associated with age and heavy use, the total number of functioning Rolleiflex TLRs in existence must inevitably decline due to irreparable damage, wear and tear on lenses and mechanical parts, and the scarcity of people with the necessary expertise, equipment, and parts to repair them. There will be far fewer of them in existence in 2050 than there are now.. Naturally, their future as functioning cameras will also depend on the future availability of medium format film, but this is probably a lesser problem right now. The more pressing problem will soon be to decide whether to get the most out these cameras by using them as much as possible, or , if they are still in top condition, to put them away and preserve them by not using them. (Of course, if your Rolleiflex cameras are 'beaters' or 'users', then the problem does not concern you and you should enjoy using them while you can. I put myself in that category, incidentally.)

There is a strong economic case for preservation because increasing scarcity will make Rolleiflex TLRs in mint or excellent condition much more valuable than they are now. Prices have been climbing steadily over the last decade, and a combination of increasing scarcity and fashionable retro aesthetic will continue to push prices still higher. This makes Rolleiflex TLRs in top condition a worthwhile investment, so long as you put them away and don't use them. Blemishes, tears, scratches and mechanical wear will devalue them considerably. There is also a good social argument for preserving them rather than using them, since, like other rare and valuable vintage machinery, they can be displayed and occasionally demonstrated for future generations interested in camera history and photography.

Rolleiflex collectors are sometimes derided for putting their cameras behind glass and never using them, but perhaps they are doing future generations a favour by preserving them. If I owned a mint condition Rolleiflex 2.8f, then I would probably not want to use it. I would use my old 3.5e with the sticky shutter instead.

Eddie Vaughan
Eddie Vaughan
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Re: The case for preserving Rolleiflex TLRs

Postby JanBoettcher » Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:33 pm

get your 3,5E CLAd soon!

Out of my "Nähkästchen geplaudert": I just had the Rolleiflex T of a friend of a friend on my bench. Most of the time the shutter could not be cocked, it stayed uncocked, or even opened up when returning the crank. The usual cure is to CLA the shutter and the cocking ring behind the shutter. In this case, the "eye" on the cocking ring had to be straightened and the lever actuating the cocking ring had to be adjusted too ... all the time cocking the gummy shutter bent the "eye" and wore down the pin on the lever.

Other than that: Collect a few Rolleiflexes, keep them at seperate houses and use them every now and then and teach your children how to do it ;-)

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