I finally succumbed to getting a Rolleflex!
These normally go for silly amounts of money and I was lucky enough to spot this 2.8A at 60% of its market value.
It arrived looking a little shabby. The viewing lens is fogged and the exterior is (ahem) well used. One consolation, the taking lens is pretty clean and scratch free.
The shutter works but is a little slow at all speeds. Internally its clean and the mechanics work as intended, although the shutter button is slow to return. This is due to a slight ding to the corner of the camera and no doubt some bent internals. I suspect the damage may also affect lens board alignment.
I haven’t pulled it apart yet, but have given it a thorough clean.
The Rolleiflex 2.8 K7A (actual designation) dates between Dec 1949 and Feb 1951. The serial no. on this camera puts it at around 1950.
According to the Rollieclub web site, only 7870 were made for the US market over a 15 month period, all sporting the Zeiss Tessar 80mm f/2.8 lens. So with such provenance, this may be considered quite rare.
The early variants (version 1) with Compur Rapid shutters were recalled and the Zeiss Jena Tessar replaced with a Zeiss Opton Tessar. This was due to mismatched lens elements being used in the Jena Tessars.
I did read somewhere that Rollei sent a batch of pre-war Jena Tessar lenses back to Zeiss for coating and matched elements got mixed up in the process causing optical issues.
This version 1 has a Zeiss Opton Tessar, so it may have been recalled.
Some say that Zeiss pushed the Tessar design too far at f/2.8, although its the same lens as used on the Zeiss Super Ikonta B.
Unfortunately it didn’t come with a case or strap, so I’ll have to be inventive and make a case and a strap, as the lugs are too small to take the traditional Rollei scissor strap.
This is my second foray into the Rollei camp (the first being a Rollei 35) and I must confess, I actually prefer Zeiss Ikon and Hasselblad cameras – purely on build quality, that’s not to say Rollei are bad (far from it), just that IMO the other two have a slight edge.