Any Microcord users out there?

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Chrismat

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I've been very curious about the British MPP Microcord tlrs for a quite a while now. How do they compare with a tlr like the Rolleicord V? Any better? Worse? I'm thinking of getting one and I'd like to hear from people who have one or at least has used one previously. I'm not a collector, I would definitely be using it.

Thanks.

Chris
 

BMbikerider

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I have used a Microcord but haven't had or seen one for at least 30 years now. They were manufactured by MPP (Micro Precision Products in UK) and based on the Rolliecord 2 and made just after the 39/45 war from about 1951 ish up to about 1960 so they will be getting on a bit now. The lens, a 4 element design was good, damn good, - the Ross Resolux. 75mm F3.5. As good as or even better than either the Xenar or Tessar of the day. The shutter was a Prontor SVS with speeds were 1 second to 1/300th.They had the bayonet 1 fitting for filters and hood as normal. Getting a good one will be difficult now as not a lot were made and if you are lucky enough it would probably benefit from a good check over and clean.

Even scarcer was the MPP Microflex upgraded with lever wind and what was supposed to be a better lens, the TTH Micronar 77.5mm F3.5 made by Taylor, Taylor and Hobson. A UK manufacturer who had a very good reputation for brilliant enlarger lenses. I have only ever seen one Microflex but have never used one.

They were manufactured to quite high standard as a way to get around import restrictions after the war. However after the restrictions were lifted in the mid 50's they were sold off quite cheaply when the Rollieflex/cord again became available.
 

cliveh

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I had one for a while and although it has all the spec, thought the viewfinder image had a lot of fall off, making it difficult to use. A Rollicord is better value for money.
 
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Chrismat

Chrismat

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I read that the earlier versions had an Epsilon shutter which was not as reliable as the Prontor, although one could have the Epsilon shutter replaced. Obviously the Epsilon shutters weren't as reliable as the Prontors. I've seen images of Microcord tlrs where you can see Prontor labeling under the taking lens. With no such labeling, the shutter is the earlier Epsilon.
 

Ian Grant

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I have a Microcord (later version with Prontor SVS shutter) the Xpres lens is very sharp and well coated, a touch sharper than a Tessar or Yashinon at wider apertures. They were based on the Rolleicord III.

I had a spare modern Chinese made Rolleiflex replacement scree which I'd hoped might fit my Yashicamat and I fitted that to the Microcord which has made a huge difference.

Good clean Microcords are quite easy to find , just don't pay too much for one. I'm looking for a Microflex :D

Ian
 

BMbikerider

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I have a Microcord (later version with Prontor SVS shutter) the Xpres lens is very sharp and well coated, a touch sharper than a Tessar or Yashinon at wider apertures. They were based on the Rolleicord III.

I had a spare modern Chinese made Rolleiflex replacement scree which I'd hoped might fit my Yashicamat and I fitted that to the Microcord which has made a huge difference.

Good clean Microcords are quite easy to find , just don't pay too much for one. I'm looking for a Microflex :D

Ian


Keep an eye out for Peter Loy classic cameras in London. I don't know the web address but type in Peter Loy and it will come up. He had a 'flex a few weeks ago.
 

Xmas

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I had a spare modern Chinese made Rolleiflex replacement scree which I'd hoped might fit my Yashicamat and I fitted that to the Microcord which has made a huge difference.

Good clean Microcords are quite easy to find , just don't pay too much for one. I'm looking for a Microflex :D

Ian
These guys had a Microcord on their market stall before Xmas. You could try email them.
http://www.filmsnotdead.com/
my vesting interest is if you buy it I won't be tempted any more…

The flex seem to be much lower volume, only seen one for sale in UK shops, eBay may be only option.

I like the plain glass screens.

oh and I have a flex
 

Ian Grant

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These guys had a Microcord on their market stall before Xmas. You could try email them.
http://www.filmsnotdead.com/
my vesting interest is if you buy it I won't be tempted any more…

The flex seem to be much lower volume, only seen one for sale in UK shops, eBay may be only option.

I like the plain glass screens.

oh and I have a flex

Is that a Microflex or a Rolleiflex :D I have two of the latter, great cameras. I'm not desperate to buy a Microflex but if I find one at a good price I'd sell one of my other TLRs.

I've made some new plain screens for older TLRs and SLRs and they are brighter than the originals.

Ian
 
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Chrismat

Chrismat

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Thanks for all the information. I have decided to purchase one from mwclassic.com. They should be sending me an invoice tomorrow. I hope I like it. Now I've got to sell something to pay for it. That's kind of the deal I've made with myself since I have too many cameras (although I don't know if one can have too many).

Chris
 

johnnyh

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Good luck with your purchase, hope it comes up to expectations :smile: .

I recently acquired a nice Microcord II, I have just today sent the first roll off for processing. It's my first TLR, it is nice to handle, solid, and I like the gentle sound of a leaf shutter.

I read that the earlier versions had an Epsilon shutter which was not as reliable as the Prontor, although one could have the Epsilon shutter replaced. Obviously the Epsilon shutters weren't as reliable as the Prontors. I've seen images of Microcord tlrs where you can see Prontor labeling under the taking lens. With no such labeling, the shutter is the earlier Epsilon.

I have serviced/repaired several Compur, Epsilon and Prontor shutters from that era and earlier, and would have been perfectly happy if the Microcord had been an early Mk.I with Epsilon shutter. I use Epsilon-shuttered cameras, as well as the other brands. Also, the lack of a delay timer in the Epsilon is not a deal-breaker for me, in fact, the Prontor in my Microcord has a sluggish delay timer but unless I have to open it up for any other reason, I shall be in no hurry to deal with that.

I passed up on a couple of Microflexes, on which the bidding was quite competitive and which went for much higher prices. I do have and admire other Taylor-Hobson lenses, however from what I read the Ross Xpres in the Microcords was re-formulated specially for MPP, compared to its then long-standing design - it will be interesting to see how it turns out. The Microflex has the (faster) crank wind, linked to the shutter, but speed of operation is not necessary for my purposes; in fact I see the lower mechanical complexity of the Microcord as a benefit ;-) .
 

Xmas

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Is that a Microflex or a Rolleiflex :D I have two of the latter, great cameras. I'm not desperate to buy a Microflex but if I find one at a good price I'd sell one of my other TLRs.

I've made some new plain screens for older TLRs and SLRs and they are brighter than the originals.

Ian

Hi Ian

Sorry I have a Microflex they are difficult to get.

Noel
 

Xmas

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Last one on eBay went for 238GBP!

Think mine was 75 GBP from brick camera shop in '08.

There wernt many made.
 

rolleiman

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The makers of the Microcord/flex, were the MPP (Micro Precision Products, I believe the initials stood for) and were located at Kingston-upon-Thames, to the south-west of London. As well as the Microflex and Microcord, they manufactured a range of MPP 4x5 cameras, which even today, are greatly revered for their quality. My understanding is around 1960, they approached the then government for backing to expand their camera manufacturing capacity. The government's alleged response was, "There's no future for camera manufacture"......
Even with Britain at the time, still in severe economic difficulty due to the sacrifices of the Second World War, you do have to wonder at the short sighted thinking of politicians. Had they continued manufacturing camera equipment, they would have been on an equal footing with Leica, Nikon etc. in terms of quality products. It is perhaps,ironic that the two countries who instigated and eventually lost that terrible war, should come out winners on the camera manufacturing front.
 

Xmas

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I think you will find that the history books say the UK declared war on Germany.
 

Ian Grant

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I think you will find that the history books say the UK declared war on Germany.


It was also British Government initiatives that led to the formation of MPP and Reid (TTH) cameras in an attempt to build a modern camera manufacturing industry in the UK after WWII.

MPP Micro Technical cameras were essentially British made Linhofs, the Reids - Leicas and the Microcord - Rolleicord all with knowledge and some tooling as part of war reparations. The problem was that after WWII and the lauch of these cameras the German companies brought out more advanced model in these ranges of cameras, leaving the British cameras behind. The British companies flourished because of severe import restrictions as they were relaxed they lost their market share to the Germans and later the JApanese towards the end of the 1950's/

MPP and Celestion speakers were under the same ownership, Celestion built the wooden body casings for the MPP MicroPress which was essentially a Speed Graphic assembled in the UK, (rails, front standard, shutter etc) and a way of getting around stringent import restrictions.

Ian
 

Brac

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MPP ceased production in 1988, although production of the Microflex (last of their TLR's) was only between 1958 and possibly 1960 at the latest. MPP made a wide range of photographic products. The lever wind and its mechanism in the Microflex is not too robust, and for actual use a Microcord with Prontor shutter is probably a better bet. There is a user club with a very informative website, which tells you probably everything there is to know about this maker. http://www.mppusers.com/

Lurking in a cupboard somewhere is a Microflex I bought years ago but it was such a long time ago that I used it that I can't sensibly comment on the results I got! I must dig it out and have another go.
 

Xmas

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My Microflex is an ok camera, comparable or better then the contemporary Yashica TLRs even the four element ones e.g. it has better internal flare baffles, normally Ive had to fit baffles to the older Yashicas.

Not had any problems with mine, lots of Yashicas have bitten the dust, shutters failing the most frequent. Never bothered to get a Rolli, always too expensive.

The only problem it has is 120 only - no 220, but there is now no 220 in mono, so that has disappeared.

They are now apparently collectors so don't know If I should stop using it, or put it on ebay, i've even got an original hood and hood case, but I'm attached to it.
 

Ian Grant

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I've just had the first roll back :smile: .

I was in Bath around then :D

I bought a book on Ebay "Cameras - The Facts, how they work, what they will do and how they compare" 1957 which arrived today. A great 3 pages on the Microcord IIm good whole page MPP advert as well. Will scan soon. Also I have the MPP press releases from the relevant 1950's BJP Almanacs.

Ian
 
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Chrismat

Chrismat

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Update: I ended up purchasing a Microcord from Films Not Dead (filmsnotdead.com) in London about a month ago. So far I'm very happy with it. I say so far, because it's been very cold this winter and I haven't used it as much as I would like. The shutter speeds sound accurate, the taking lens is clear. The delay (self-timer) doesn't work, but that doesn't bother me. Of course, the mirror was very cloudy, so I tested the very top of the mirror with some glass cleaner and q-tips and the glass cleaned without any damage. Then I very carefully blew out any dust that I could, and used cotton balls and some Zeiss glass cleaner. I made sure to take my time so not to scratch it. It came out great, and now focusing is a lot easier. I usually flock the internal chamber of most tlrs (especially Yashicas) to cut down on flare, but I may not have to do it with this one, what ever they used for paint seems to effectively absorb light.

I'm looking forward to warmer weather so I can use it more. Here's a few shots from the two rolls I've shot with it so far (Tri-X developed in Rodinal 1:50):
 

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smolk

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I purchased a Microcord a few weeks ago. It came with a box that had several films in it, expiry date 1974… The camera was well taken care of, shutter works, timer and aperture all fine (I found out about the timer when it released with a delay… some shots lost there before I woke up!). I had it cleaned, but the screen is very very dim. Worse than I have seen on any Rolleiflex. Tried to clean it but I suspect the screen simply will never be bright. In daylight, that's still fine enough (and oddly easier sometimes to focus). But I will be looking for a replacement if the results of the lens are satisfying.
I did find close focus more difficult somehow, not sure why.
Initially I made the mistake of loading the film like in a Rollei: from the spool, the film moves under the first roller bar, before the shutter gate, which is not the way to do it in a Microcord. I discovered this because transport was inaccurate. The second roll, now done the MPP way and over the roller bar, did not have that problem.
Thanks for the PDF, that's nice.
 
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