Medium Format - Rollei

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shaduu, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Shaduu macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2007
    I was just wondering what the general consensus among MR users is of medium format, specifically Rolleiflex TLRs. I've had my eye on a Rollei TLR for a while, just because of the quirky looks, a love for classic cameras in general and a longing to get back to film with a new objective in mind.

    However, due to the high prices on eBay I haven't managed to get my hands on one yet although I'm looking at a 3.5 jobbie as they're slightly cheaper than the 2.8's. Anyone have experience with either of these cameras?
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I for one am a huge fan of medium format photography I have not had experience with the 3.8 but the 2.8 produces wonderful images. If I can dig out my negatives I can try and see if I can't scan a few and show you. Honestly at this point I wouldn't hesitate on getting the 3.8. I've been considering that myself because the 2.8 isn't really affordable for me right now.
  3. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    i love medium format and TLR's in general. when i work in film it is always MF. since i got tired of trying to ebay a used Rollei and other TLRs i bought a new Seagul from B+H. while obviously not the optics of a Rollei it is still producing great pics and it's brand new and works like a champ. i also use a few tweaked Holgas and some hacked DIY cameras on occasion as well (pinhole, etc.)

    i should note that my film work is non-representational and usually pretty abstract (eg, i am not shooting landscapes and portraits, etc.) so your mileage my vary.
  4. Shaduu thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2007
    Thanks for the replies, I've definitely got my heart set on a Rollei and if the 2.8 gives decent results, I can't see any reason why a 3.5 would produce anything less. Ah, but we're forgetting what makes a film-based camera great: the film. I've heard fantastic things regarding Rollei TLRs and Agfa 120 B&W which is apparently the best medium format film for portraiture.

    Coincidentally, that's probably what I'll be using my Rolleiflex for primarily. :D
  5. shieldyoureyes macrumors 6502


    Nov 1, 2005
    Uppsala, Sweden
    I shoot a Mamiya C220 TLR along with my DSLR, and for many instances digital simply can't touch image quality. Not only in resolution, but more importantly the tonality and color. Plus, a TLR is just a blast to use with the gigantic viewfinder. If your on a budget, don't disregard the Mamiya series... I got mine for $150 USD with an 80mm f/2.8 (which is sharp) Plus, Mamiya is the only TLR system that has interchangeable lenses. Everything from wide to medium telephoto.

    Check out my flickr for some sample images
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I would go as far to say that if you go back to using film there is no point in 35mm. The only reason for 35mm was that the equipment was small and portable and now we have digital for that. I shot a Mamyia RB67 for years. I even backpacked it up some trails.
    The Rolleiflex TLR is a classic wedding photographer's camera. good for those group shots and such. The quality beats anything Nikon or Canon can do but you can't change the lens. If I were going back to MF I'd pick up a Haselblad. For the money its more versatile You can change out lenses, finders and backs. Changing backs allows you to match the film to the light and subject. They are very small and light weight and there is an endless supply of used equipment out there.

    About the f/2.8 lens. I doubt you would shoot wide open all that much. The DOF on a medium format camera means you spend more time at 5.6, 8 and 11. but you do compose and focus wide open. If you can't afford a Roli look for a YashikaMat
    Not the same thing at all if yu are a camera collector but for shooting, much the same resuilt.

    That said, when I go back to film it will be 4x5. I'll scan the film. I have some projects in mind where I want to make huge prints.

    One bit of warnning. I tried scanning some of my old 6x7 film and some 4x5 too. You will need a very powerful Mac to handle the huge scans. The file can be 100 megabytes or even more. The old Roli takes 100 megapixel images Of course you can scan at low res but then why not use a Nikon D80?
  7. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I shot with a Mamiya C330 and two lenses for a while, as well as shooting 645, 6x7, 6x9 and large format. I can't imagine going back to film for anything other than movements and large format, but I'll say that there's no "best" medium format film for anything-- you just have (had?) such a wide range of films and developers and papers and processes that it's silly to think any one stood out from the myriad of combinations. Personally, I always liked the Ilford Delta series films developed in Gordon Hutchin's PMK formula, and occasionally HP5+ in PMK.

    The staining developers gave a nice tonal range, and despite the non-obvious t-grain film base the combination worked well for overall tonal range, actuance and edge sharpness- though for some things I preferred a more traditional developer/film combination. These days, I'd probably go with something like Sandy King's Pyrocat HD, since cachetol is nowhere near as toxic as PMK.

    For B&W, it's not just the film, it's the film/developer combination, and it takes quite a while to get a good combination to integrate into how you light and shoot- let alone print. I'm not sure if the UK has the same sort of resource as the Montana-based Photographer's Forumulary, but if so they're a fantastic resource for chemicals and information on processing and processes.

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