This 1956 Rolleiflex 2.8E K7E was on an ebay “Make Offer” a month back and it took my fancy – adorning a Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8.
The listing was reasonably honest and priced fairly (£399), stating it was “a functional yet shabby workhorse”…. indeed it was!
When it arrived, I was keen to take it on a planned motorcycle trip and so gave it a quick CLA.
Both lenses were a little milky but relatively scratch free, shutter speeds were spot on, timer release sticky and leather trim well worn.
I decided to strip the lens board, disassemble both lenses and shutter, clean, oil, grease and re-align, before embarking on my trip.
Cosmetically this (almost) 60 year old Rolleflex looks like it’s seen a lot of action. However after greasing and re-assembly, the focus was smooth and backlash/wobble free. As a temporary fix, I re-glued some of the old and hard peeling leather back on.
I ordered a new mirror from Martin Seelig and a fresnel screen from Rick Oleson and decided to wait until I had put a few rolls through it before replacing both and addressing cosmetic issues.
This camera then bounced around in my Motorcycle’s tank bag for nearly 3 weeks (3100 miles in central Europe) taking the odd more considered photo.
I ended up putting 4 rolls of film through it and these are now at Ag Photo for developing. I look forward to seeing the results……and will post my findings once scanned!
This old Rolleiflex is a real joy to use, just load the film, meter the scene (although I used the Sunny 16 rule most of the time), adjust the exposure, crank the handle, focus, compose and fire the release…simplicity!
The 2.8E governs exposure either by locked EV scales or traditionally by rotating the inner dial of aperture knob to separate the aperture and shutter dials (my preference).
Focussing through the Heidosmat 80mm f/2.8 on the old ground glass screen was easy enough in daylight and low light focussing should improve once a new fresnel is fitted.
I shot both Tri-X 400 and Provia 100 during my trip, so it will interesting to see how the uncoated Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 renders these films.
After the trip, I decided that I liked the camera enough to invest time and effort in a cosmetic makeover and have since ordered a new leather trim for $50 from Cameraleather.com.
Once the trim arrives, I’ll swap out the mirror and screen, clean and lubricate the crank assembly, and replace all the leather….and of course, post an update.
The Rolleiflex 2.8 K7E dates between Oct 1956 and Sept 1959. The serial no. on this camera puts it at around 1956. The K7E was also the first model with built in metering, however this model does not have the meter fitted and is a few grams lighter at 1.2kg.
According to the Rollieclub web site approximately 44,000 units were made, so it’s not as rare as earlier models although the Planar lens adds some premium.
Update June 2105:
Here’s a couple of high resolution images of Kaunertal Black Glacier (Austria) taken with the Rolleiflex 2.8E using Fujifilm Provia 100F…. Not bad for a 60 year old camera!