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Super Ricohflex backup Rolleiflex?

Luca Dominci , May 11, 2011; 11:27 a.m.

I have a very good Rolleiflex TLR that is my favorite camera. I don't always take it with me because it is not very portable and I do not want to ruin it. Would the Super Ricohflex be a good backup to keep in my bag? I don't know this camera much. It looks smaller, but I hope I will not be disappointed by the pictures and it will not be too awkward or problematic to operate.
Please give me some suggestion: is it worth to get the Ricohflex? (I am not a big fan of Olgas and Lubitels).
Thank you.


Roelof Lucas , May 11, 2011; 12:08 p.m.

Why don't you get a Rolleicord for outings that might ding your Rolleiflex.(Rolleiflex not portable? mine goes absolutely everywhere with me tucked underneath my arm slung from the shoulder) I have found that most other TLR s tend to be a dissapointment ( with the exception of the Minolta Autocord) once you are spoiled by Rollei.

Luca Dominci , May 11, 2011; 01:31 p.m.

Thanks Lucas,
I am very pleased with the images from the Rolleiflex. I don't expect the Ricohflex to be as good. I was wandering if it could be an acceptable alternative. Does anybody know tihs camera in particular?

Marc Batters , May 11, 2011; 03:10 p.m.

I have to agree with Roelof.
For a back-up, get a Rolleiflex, another beater or "user" condition Rolleicord, or pick a Minolta or Yashica TLR for a back-up.
As far as quality and value, it all depends on the condition and price of the Ricohflex.

In their day, Ricohflexes were more towards the bottom of the TLR heap then the top.
A TLR, is a TLR. All conventionally available TLR's of today are going to weigh about the same, with the exception of the heavier Mamiya C series cameras.
The "Baby" Rollei and Yashica "44" probably weigh less, but these cameras use the, now long abandoned, 127 film.Ricohflexes are made from stamped sheet metal, not machined from solid billet material, so they are maybe just a little lighter then some other TLR's.

Max shutter speed is 1/200, and I'm not sure if any of the models had/have coated lenses. Having said that, the lens on my Ricohflex is actually very sharp, given the age of the camera.
They are very old, the last year of production was 1961-62(?), meaning there aren't any parts for these cameras outside of the cannibalization stream. Viewfinder brightness is about average, leaning maybe towards the dimmer side.

The "Super Ricohflexes" offered an optional 35mm adapter/insert, which surprisingly, actually works.
I believe this was a last gasp attempt from the company to boost sales before the company folded or abandoned TLR production. Working examples of the 35mm adapters are fairly rare, so unless the adapter is included with the camera, don't bank on finding one later.

Luca Dominci , May 11, 2011; 04:38 p.m.

I see that the Ricohflex is quite a different camera compared to the Rolleiflex. I kind of like the look of it, very simple. I guess it is also capable of interesting pictures. After all, I think I will just try to take along my current TLR more often.
Thanks Marc, that was very informative.

Michael Linn , May 11, 2011; 11:22 p.m.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most of the previous answers are seeming to assume information that has not been given yet.

What is the vintage of the Rolleiflex in question and what is the lens?

The variety of lenses attached to Rolleiflexes, coated and uncoated, from the 1930's to date are huge. And the Rolleiflexes themselves over that same time period vary widely.

Luca Dominci , May 12, 2011; 09:37 a.m.

Hi Michael,
My Rolleiflex TLR has a Xenar 3.5 lens. I think it is a MX-EVS from the late fifties. I am not sure about the complete name of it. It is my first MF camera and I really enjoy using it. I also have found a Fuji645 folder that I had to send for repair (Bellows). It's taking a long time so when I bumped in the Ricohflex I took this camera in consideration too.

Michael Linn , May 12, 2011; 06:18 p.m.


You have an excellent model and lens, in my opinion.
If you want to get a Super Ricohflex and have some fun with it, go right ahead. It won't cost much. But be aware that the camera may have originally been lubricated with a green grease on the focusing helicals, which seizes up the focus completely and is nearly impossible to remove with the solvents normal to camera repair. I know this from experience, as I have worked on several of them.

If the focus is working smoothly, your prospects are good, as the rest of the camera is so simple and robust.
And the 16 on 120 rollfilm folders such as your Fuji 645 are also fun to use- a medium format camera you can just slip into your pocket.

jerome ibanes , May 20, 2011; 09:59 a.m.

Do not let your rolleiflex sit on a shelf collecting dust, use it, don't worry about scratches, do you think picasso worried about wasting paint and brushes? Take it out and shoot, that's what it does best.

Luca Dominci , May 20, 2011; 03:04 p.m.

I think you' re right jerome.
I am no Picasso, but I definetly could bring the Rolleiflex with me more often. After all it is true that it is not heavier than a DSLR and it is quite portable for a MF. Eventually I will get the Fuji folder too and I should be all set. There are so many temptations out there (I lately saw an interesting kiev 4, negative too small but attractive camera). I will try to focus on using more my equipment for now.

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