Other General Info:

It’s not just a camera, it’s a  Masterpiece!

Exquisite Craftsmanship

We are Bob & Irene, living in Phuket most of the time, at least when some work project doesn't take us off to some other exotic (or not so exotic) destination. Being "semi" retired these days has given us time to spend on other things, mostly either camera collecting, studying photography, or taking pictures. After 20+ years in the high speed digital age we have found it to be very relaxing and pleasurable to 'ditch' the DSLR's and get back to basics. Snapping off dozens, or even hundreds of pictures and then 'hoping' that one of them comes out 'right' or relying on later re-sizing and or editing to get a 'good shot' is a habit that is very easily fallen into with digital. On the other hand, composing a photograph after much thought, or wandering around until you 'feel it', and waiting for the light to be 'just right', then finally taking the 'shot' is a whole different experience, and is 'art' in the hands of those that can do it well. It is what we strive for. Its also relaxing and can be very rewarding when those efforts end with a photographic gem.

As we spend most of our time in beautiful Phuket, Thailand, we will include some helpful links for visitors or locals who are Film Camera aficionado's and may need some help finding film or camera repair/service here in "The Land of Smiles".

Finally, as some of you will no doubt have experienced, do to a bad case of G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) we will be selling or trading some duplicate cameras, lenses, accessories and some just plain strange stuff that we have ended up with. We think our pricing is reasonable market value and on many items we are selling them for less than we paid. May also trade for other interesting equipment.

Since 1929. "Franke & Heidecke" set the standard for Medium Format photography for generations of photographers. Their Rolleiflex TLR  range of cameras was THE professional's choice for decades. They remain true masterpieces of build and optical  quality and produce brilliant images.

  • General: First and foremost, we are NOT the worlds experts so any and all information or statements that you find here will be our own best knowledge at this point in our experience. Should you see any error's, or have any comments for improvement, we would love to hear from you, we are always happy to learn more.

  • Camera/Lens Grading: This is always an interesting subject as anything that is so subjective can not help to be. Its been my experience that when buying, a camera or lens will tend to look a grade or two lower than it does after you own it, or want to sell it :-) Human nature I suppose.  All that being said I use a modified Rolleiclub system as follows, best to worst: LIKE NEW (99~100% of brand new quality), Mint (97~98%), Mint- (95~97%), EX+++ (92~94%), EX++ (88~91%, EX+ (82~87%), EX (75~81%), and USER (65~74%). I don't normally purchase anything in the last two or three categories but sometimes when buying a camera "set" some accessories that come with it may not be as well cared for as the camera itself, or have aged differently. 

Engineering Marvels

Do you think Film is Dead? READ this great page by Ken Rockwell HERE!!!

  • Camera Lenses: Many of our lenses, especially if pre 1970, are sent for CLA prior to listing, or cleaned by us if only minor cleaning is needed. I try not to do much lens cleaning on my own, but when I do I follow the great Harry Fleenor method laid out in his website here. After cleaning, whether by me or a professional CLA, the lens caps (for Rolleiflex) are normally kept on and for the Leica lenses, most (except some odd sizes) have a UVa or SL (Sky Light) filter kept on at all times thereafter, and lens caps stored separately. Try to avoid cleaning these valuable lenses yourself as the coating can be marked (scratched!) quite easily, and as Harry says... "Gently... gently..."​​ That said, as most of the cameras on this site, or any cameras more than 40~50 years old, chances are the lenses have been cleaned multiple times, and most agree that some cleaning marks, light scratches, even light fungus have little or no effect of the resulting photographs. Collectors pay much more for perfection, photographers, on balance, will prefer the reduced cost of 'used' lenses as they know that the picture quality does not usually suffer.
  • Buying/Selling: For us its all about quality, buying the best we can find and afford, hopefully at 'reasonable' prices. Sometimes we have made great 'finds' at live auctions, or even on eBay. We have done business with various dealers, and a few collectors, have made some good buys, and some not so good, in hindsight. Dealers always want to make a profit, and that's fair enough, anybody would. Collector's sometimes value their cameras far above what would normally be considered 'fair market value', and we can understand this as well... Buying an old camera, then painstakingly researching, cleaning, polishing, sending it out for CLA, purchasing missing items to complete it and then seeing the results of restoration can give you an affinity for one of your treasures that can not be accounted for in 'market value'. We've been there! You may notice that in most of our camera descriptions that they include Case, Lens Cover, Neck Strap and etc. Most did not come that way but we enjoy making 'sets' that are complete, so you won't have to. In some cases the 'extras' can be quite expensive and so for these, on occasion when we bought these separately, we may also have to sell them separately, but this is not our 'norm'. Unless you ask for a price without case or etc (do you have a nice one already?) you will be quoted a price for the 'set', not individual items whenever possible. And sorry, no Facebook or Twitter for us, and no Credit Cards, will have to be 'the old fashion' way.

  • Collecting vs Investing vs Dealing: While we have long held an interest in photography, it has only been relatively recently that we commenced 'collecting' cameras. We do not consider ourselves to be 'dealers' and this project is more about the love of quality and the appreciation of it that keeps us searching for, and giving a second life to these old masterpieces, than as a means of investing. In this, the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, there are a lot of cameras coming onto the market due to the passing of the 'baby boomers' and or their parents, not to mention the "Digital Revolution". The prices of the Rolleiflex cameras, especially the higher end 'collectors quality', have maintained their values quite well, and continue to see modest rises. Rolleiflex has the advantage of a smaller number ever being produced, as they were never really intended for 'mass production' as were the Rolleicord range and even Leica. Leica's, due to the stiff competition of the Japanese in the 50's, and more especially from the 60's onward, while being a more consumer oriented camera, and as such made in larger quantity, were still made in only a fraction as compared to some of their Kodak or Japanese counterparts. This, and the substantially higher quality of Leica, is why their competitors cameras are now sold in bulk boxes by the dozen at auctions for penny's on the dollar, while the Leica's are still valued individually. That being said, it seems that, primarily due to the 'Chinese factor' where prices were driven up by hoards of new 'collectors' in the past 15 or so years, it seems to us that many of these are now also coming back on the market also and the Leica pricing seems to us therefor to be quite 'soft' as a result. As to the future, nobody knows of course, but it would be prudent to buy the best quality that you can afford, and buy it because you love it. There are always plenty of dealers, and wannabe dealers, trying to drive prices up, just look at eBay, some of the prices there are laughable, if not insulting, so buyer beware.  

A little about us:

Victor Hasselblad realized his dream of producing quality cameras in the 1950's. By the 60's, when his camera was chosen by NASA to be taken to the moon, he had produced some of the finest Medium Format cameras in the world, and still does.

Lasting Designs

  • Leather Care: Perhaps with my 'country boy' upbringing I expect too much. I would have thought that basic leather care was something most people would have at least some idea about, but alas it does not seem to be so. I have received many dozens of camera and accessory cases that appear to have never seen the slightest sign of ever being 'cared for'. In fact, its quite rare to find any that have. These are leather, not plastic, and were living tissue once, and as such a bit of care will go a long way. I have had 2 very nice looking cases come apart in my hands while cleaning them... why? Lack of care! Every piece of leather I receive, even NOS (New Old Stock) ERC cases we own, get at least a quick dose of care. Even if it looks perfect the stitching and or leather is probably 'thirsty'. In overly humid climates they can rot and are mildew prone, in dry climates they can 'dry rot' from lack of moisture. We use some museum quality products such as "Leather Rejuvenator", "Renaissance Wax" and "British Museum Recipe" leather conditioner. The first 2 you can find on Amazon, the last one only in the UK as far as I know. Other's that are a bit cheaper and easier to find that we have used are  "Saphir Creme Universelle" for the newer or virgin leather, or Lexol Cleaner and their Conditioner can be used on older cases, and sometimes Neatsfoot Oil as well. Any of these will help, so choose what fits your budget. The old ERC cases are well tanned and made of very good leather, so they hold up well, as do the leather coverings on the older Rolleiflex, but they can always benefit from a little care. I have spent hours on just one old case or camera body, removing decades of dirt, shoe polish and grime. (some not very honest eBay sellers or dealers use shoe polish in liberal amounts) A good quality beeswax shoe polish can be used for leather care also, but I hardly ever use it. Beware of very shiny old cases, they have probably been polished, and may be very ugly underneath if/when cleaned! After caring for them all are kept in my humidity controlled closet, in plastic and at less than 50RH, which is a necessity here in Phuket due to the tropical climate.

  • Camera Care: As with the leather above, camera bodies, at least the old Rolleiflex's, can benefit from a bit of extra care on their leather coverings. I always go over every camera received with a 50-50 pure alcohol-water mix with swabs and clean every exterior crevice and then polish with clean micro-fiber cloth. The leather is treated as above. All are then kept in one of my 'dry boxes' at between 40~45 RH (Relative Humidity). It is usual to run through the shutter speeds on these old cameras at least a couple of times per year. Most of my cameras have been, or will be, CLA'd with the exception of a few "near perfect' cameras that I will not take the chance of getting nicked up during a CLA, even by a professional, it happens. These are not intended to be 'user' cameras in any case, and some may end up in a museum someday as perfect examples of the species :-)​​​​

A few of the Artists...

Ernst Leitz crafted the ultimate in 35mm camera. From the 30's with their innovative Leica screw mount system, they redefined compact photo quality. Since 1954 with the introduction Leica M3 and its' M mount system, they have remained as the well heeled amature's choice.

Rolleiflex TLR, Leica, Hasselblad, and their accessories are among our Masterpieces. 

Please bear with us as the site is a work in progress, and for now it is best viewed on a computer, mobile devices with small screens may get it jumbled... Many new items coming soon!!

  • Shipping/Payment: We use First Class Airmail or Domestic/International EMS Priority Express shipping and charge at cost, no additional handling fees are ever charged. If a listing says "Free Shipping", that is worldwide and is by First Class Airmail, if you need it quicker it is at plus EMS cost. Insurance may be provided on higher priced items if requested at buyers cost. Any and all Customs or import costs to buyers home country shall be at their full risk and cost. We also may be able to help with valuation at a lower level if that helps. Payments can be made by wire transfer to our bank here in Thailand, or in the USA, and in some cases PayPal may be used upon arrangement. Buyer pays all bank/PayPal fees so plan on an extra 4% please for PayPal, or pay your side if by Bank Transfer. Please specify your payment preference when making an offer or request a purchase, thanks. Feel free to also ask for a quote. And if you are in Phuket, we can arrange to meet for direct pick-up of course, would be happy to meet you.

  • Acknowledgements: In preparation of these webpages, especially for some of the more technical descriptions of the cameras or lenses, I have borrowed with permission from:   

Antique and Classic Cameras website:  http://www.antiquecameras.net/ 

Classic Camera Cafe website:  http://johnsrolleionlypage.homestead.com/index.html 

Ken Rockwell's  website at:   http://www.kenrockwell.com/