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Advantages/disadvantages Rolleiflex v Minolta Autocord

Robert Clark , Jun 03, 2003; 09:41 a.m.

I am still pondering the relative merits of different MF cameras and have been leaning heavily in the direction of either a Rolleiflex E or F Planar or Xenotar f2.8 or f3.5. However I have heard a number of good things about the Autocord, particularly the f3,5 Rokkor lens. Given that I can pick one of these up for a much better price than the Rolleis what is your opinion? - what are the relative advantages/disadvantages? - with regard to the quality of the instruments but also reliability and repair/service. Is the Autocord Rokkor lens really comparable to the Planars and Xenotars or is it in better company with the Tessars and Xenars?

Responses

Geoff McAuliffe , Jun 03, 2003; 10:03 a.m.

Some people think the Autocord is better because it has a straight film path. Most people with Autocords are happy with the results they get. Autocords are well-built and can be serviced by a number or skilled technicians around the country. I suspect that a Planar/Xenotar is a bit sharper than a Rokkor if both are wide open but a 16x20 of a tripod-mounted shot might be necessary to show it. Keep in mind that any camera from the Autocord/Rolleiflex era will probably need a Clean, Lube and Adjust of the shutter and perhaps some other service for optimum results. Mechanical cameras do need periodic service.

oscar garcia suarez , Jun 03, 2003; 10:51 a.m.

The Autocord is robust, the film path is better designed, also the focus lever is, in my opinion, more user friendly that the Rolleiflex focus knob, and the Rokkor lens is just stunning. I own a Rollei T (Tessar) and a Autocord, both in very good shape and with clean optics. The Rokkor lens wins hands down. Is not only that is sharper, it is the image 'mood' it delivers. The picture is contrastier. Perhaps if you want to use it for portraits, it is better the "silky" mood of the Rollei, but if you want contrastier pictures, the Autocord is a winner. I am using more and more the Autocord.

H. P. , Jun 03, 2003; 12:06 p.m.

Having seen the silly prices Rollieflexes are currently fetching I'd personally go for an Autocord. Everyone I know who's got one is delighted with it.

Douglas Green , Jun 03, 2003; 01:11 p.m.

Autocords are great cameras. I have personally never run across one that was both reasonably priced and in very good condition, hence I don't own one, but I do own two Rolleiflexes, two Yashica Mat-124s and one Mamiya C33. My Rolleis are a 2.8C with a Zeiss Planar, and a 2.8E with a Schneider Xenotar. I used to own a Rollei 3.5 with a Zeiss Tessar. I will state flat out that the lens on the Yashica is better than the Zeiss Tessar, but not of the level of the Zeiss Planar or Schneider Xenotar. By f8, there is little difference, but the More expensive lenses on the Rolleis are better at bigger apertures. I expect that the Rokkor 3.5 lens on the Minolta Autocord is probably comparable to the Yashinon 3.5 lens. Both are Tessar-copies that tended to be better made and especially better coated than the actual Zeiss Tessars.

David F. Stein , Jun 03, 2003; 04:33 p.m.

These are always fun discussions. I would look at TLRs in several ways. Lens; Film delivery; Baffle system; Sportsfinder; Manner of Focus; film Wind System. My "ideal" fixed lens TLR would combine the Planar or Xenotar lens with the baffle system found on the Ricoh or Rollei with the film plane system of the Autocord. Thus, always a compromise. The Rolleiflex does have a semi-parallax system and the sportfinder focus mechanism. That said, I prefer knob wind cameras and my two favorites are the Yashica D with Yashinon lens and the Mamiyaflex C2-which is lighter than the C300 series but will take most, not all, the lenses and accessories. I do tip my hat to Mr. Mamiya for advancing TLR design and capability in SUBSTANTIAL manner. GOOD LUCK....

T N , Jun 05, 2003; 04:45 a.m.

The Autocord is robust, the film path is better designed, also the focus lever is, in my opinion, more user friendly that the Rolleiflex focus knob, and the Rokkor lens is just stunning.

Yeah, but the autocord's focusing lever is also much, much weaker. It breaks off extremely easily and any attempt to fix it is nearly impossible. Mark Hama's plug that he made himself also snapped off after a few days I got it repaired. Focusing is now painful on the fingers.

Douglas Green , Jun 05, 2003; 02:55 p.m.

I agree, the focusing lever is a design flaw. I ended up returning the only Autocord I ever bought, because the photos of it in the auction listing obscured the fact that the focusing lever had snapped off at the bend.

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