Well, this is quite embarrassing.

This, my first post for 35mmc, would tell the glorious tale of a Rolleicord Va, newly acquired from a well know auction site. It would include the unboxing, cleaning, any minor repairs, and finally, those first glorious, world class images that I would obviously take with it.

And in the story of my life, soon to be made into a tragic comedic Hollywood blockbuster, its broken. Of course it is. Not badly broken, but it still doesn’t work.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just jump into the “Buy it now” syndrome like some damn fool. I know Rolleicord well, having bought and sold a fair few over the years. I’m well acquainted with the good old honest, ducking and diving, wheeler dealers on fleabay who found the camera in a drawer and hasn’t a clue how it works (google?) so can’t check it, there are no shops nearby who sell batteries, has actually never seen a camera before… but it was working 40 years ago. Honest.

The camera in question is in immaculate condition. The seller said so, and the photos did prove a point. Did he actually say it worked? No. Did my heart rule my head? Yes. My mitigating circumstance was that I had bought from the seller before, he accepted returns, and it had been a really hard day at work, a Sunday no less.

Love at first sight

Unboxing the Rolleicord Va mk II. Love at First Sight

I’m sure many of us, if not all, have found ourselves in the same position. I have read countless threads on forums about people walking into a thrift store and walking out, one dollar poorer, with Cartier-Bresson’s Leica. Let me tell you now, it has never happened to me, or anyone I know. For our American cousins, in the UK, we have charity shops, full of badly fitting items of clothing and last year’s must-have annoyingly cute kids toy. Sadly, no cameras, apart from the odd battered box brownie.

So, we are left with a few alternatives, mainly online, which can be a really scary place. its a wasteland when it comes to camera shops. When I was a lad, you couldn’t find a decent Coffee Shop because they were all being taken over by bloody camera shops. Everywhere you looked, you could get a Leica, but not a Latte (I am joking. When I was a kid, no one this side of Don Corleone knew what a Latte was)

There are still a few good hard working photography outlets, but the film cameras are more often resigned to one, very dark corner and fade into the shadows, dwarfed by the next shiny 30 million megapixel superstar, that promises to turn us into the next David Bailey (I apologise to the numerous stores out there that I have not had the pleasure of visiting, that are truly focussed on film). There are, of course, online sellers who will buy the second-hand camera for you, test it, and then sell it on for a modest mark-up. I know, because I’m one of them.

The point is, we know that we will still be wading through the 20k plus cameras that are up for auction. We will always lust after the ones we can’t afford, even after 30 years of forgetting about them. But then, there will be the one. You know you want it. You’ve read the blurb, you looked lovingly at the pictures, and you just know that this seller is as honest as the day is long, (believe me, there are some). And maybe, just maybe, when it arrives, it will be everything we dreamt of, leaving us to spend the rest of our lives, happily wearing away our vertebrae as it dangles around our necks (I’m talking to you at the back, with the Mamiya c330)

So back to the original storyline. The Rolleicord Va. I’m glad to say it will feature in a future post. It had a problem with the shutter cocking mechanism. I messaged the seller, and, nice chap that he is, agreed to refund me almost half the original price. It will be packaged up and sent off to my go to Rollei repairers, Newton Ellis (Liverpool) for a full service. When she comes back, I’ll be able to continue with the original blog idea, and pretend that this never happened, and I would never buy a broken camera as I’m far too experienced to do that.

But damn, that’s one nice doorstop.

My new, expensive doorstop

Rolleicord Va mk II getting used to its new job

The Rolleicord will be back. I’m looking forward to bringing you reviews and my personal favourites and views on the world of film photography.

If you find yourself looking for a way into analogue cameras, feel free to pop over to my etsy store. All cameras are personally tested by me, and will probably be written about on 35mmc in the near future.

By Chris H – 35mmadventuresuk – Etsy UK

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