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Author Topic: Rolleiflex  (Read 1473 times)
KevinA
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« on: February 17, 2013, 06:30:12 AM »
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I see the new headline article is on the Rolleiflex.
A TLR is a world away from the electronic gizmos we buy these days. The first place I worked, everything was shot on a Rolleiflex, the work we did was commercial, PR, Industrial and offshore marine, weekends was weddings and portraits. All done on Rolleiflex TLR (there was also an SL66, but it was more trouble than it was worth).
It's difficult for a digital 35mm user to understand how you could cover everything with a 12 shot manual camera, how you compose a ship at sea from a fast RIB with a reversed image to look at. How a fixed lens did it all, ok not the first choice for wildlife or sport, but day to day it did everything, day in day out.
I own a couple of Rolle's now a 3.5F and an Art Deco. It still has never been beaten for ease of use or pleasure of use for me. If I want to relax and take pictures for myself, I reach for the 'flex.
I have even taken it up in the air on paid jobs for fun and it performed perfectly well with a 1/500th top speed wide open with 160iso colour neg.
I've said it many times before, if taking pictures was just a hobby for me, old film cameras is all I would bother with, in fact I keep buying them, the latest being a Linhof Technika 5x7. Not only have these cameras worked beautifully for 30+ years, they show no sign of not working for another 30+ years, add in the fact they hold their value very well (even increase if you are clever).
It's good to see another generation getting it with these machines.
A 2.8 is expensive for a Rolleiflex, the 3.5F is often thought to have the better lens by many and some early tests show this to be true. It's only 1/2 a stop slower after all. Rolleicords are not to be dismissed either, not quite the Rolls Royce feel but good for the money.
I also have a Minolta Autocord, I much prefer the TLR's like Rolleiflex to the more cumberson Mamiya offerings, all that extra weight for removable lens took away the charm for me, better off with the Hasselblad.
I would recommend everyone having some weeks with a TLR just to see if it fits you.

Kevin.
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Kevin.
artobest
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 04:52:13 AM »
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Don't forget the Yashicamat, plentiful supply at reasonable prices and really very sweet cameras with nice, sharp lenses.
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RobbieV
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 02:55:55 PM »
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I wish I had a bit more spare income to purchase something like these. I picked up a mint condition one at an antiques sale for $100, but put it back down. The viewfinder was amazing, as stated in the article. I should have bought it.. Sad

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EricWHiss
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 03:18:49 PM »
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Yes, $100 for a rolleiflex is a very good deal!

I love my 2.8F TLR.  I take it often on family stuff since the IQ is very good and its light, quiet and needs no batteries.    I'm not using it much for jobs but have occasionally.  It's really a nice camera.
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KevinA
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2013, 02:35:11 AM »
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Don't forget the Yashicamat, plentiful supply at reasonable prices and really very sweet cameras with nice, sharp lenses.
I went away at 16 to college to  study photography. A course requirement was a a TLR, I was not aware anything like that existed. My camera was 35mm and as far as I was aware a SLR with a big lens and a motor drive was the be all and end all of equipment to aspire to.
When I found a TLR and bought it (Bank of Dad flexible terms over an indefinite period) it was a Yashicamat 124G. Flipping the top up and viewing on a big screen was like walking through a wardrobe into another World, it was like watching a mini TV with life playing out it's drama in the palm of my hand.
Needless to say I was hooked.
All my paid for jobs these days are shot on Canon gear, but I just prefer the way a Rolleiflex is made, the way it works and the way you use it. A TLR would be a poor choice for my line of work, but hobby wise a great way to shoot. You just need to be ready for all the conversations....."my dad had one of those".
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Kevin.
idillic
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2013, 06:15:09 PM »
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My great regret many years ago was selling my Rollei SL66.  It took superb pictures. I only had the one 80mm lens, but over a 12 year period it served me well, and the lens resolution was phenomenal.  For some reason, I sold it & bought a Hasselblad - which was good, but not in the same league as the Rollei.

I eventually sold my Hasselblad & now use digital cameras, but I miss the Rollei a lot.
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Paul Roark
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 10:07:38 PM »
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... there was also an SL66, but it was more trouble than it was worth...

I totally disagree that the SL66 was more trouble than it was worth.  The original, non-electronic SL66 served me well for years and is still running just fine.  In some respects the SL66 was the best of breed -- an interchangeable lens and back, medium format camera with a tilt and built-in close focusing bellows, Zeiss glass, and the smoothest focal plane shutter aside from the Leica.  It well deserved the X-ray photo of it that adorned the cover of the Life Library of Photography book "The Camera" (1970) (which I also have).  I so wish I had a digital back for it.  By the way, with blank lens mounts/boards, I was able to fit an Apo-Rodagon enlarger lens on the SL66 to make one heck of a fine close-up camera.

I also love my TLR, version G, with the 2.8 Planar and nice built in meter.  It's the fun retro film camera I'll probably keep forever.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
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KevinA
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2013, 06:40:58 AM »
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I totally disagree that the SL66 was more trouble than it was worth.  The original, non-electronic SL66 served me well for years and is still running just fine.  In some respects the SL66 was the best of breed -- an interchangeable lens and back, medium format camera with a tilt and built-in close focusing bellows, Zeiss glass, and the smoothest focal plane shutter aside from the Leica.  It well deserved the X-ray photo of it that adorned the cover of the Life Library of Photography book "The Camera" (1970) (which I also have).  I so wish I had a digital back for it.  By the way, with blank lens mounts/boards, I was able to fit an Apo-Rodagon enlarger lens on the SL66 to make one heck of a fine close-up camera.

I also love my TLR, version G, with the 2.8 Planar and nice built in meter.  It's the fun retro film camera I'll probably keep forever.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
I'm glad the SL66 worked, a great concept for a MF camera, rise and fall and the ability to reverse the lens if I remember. The one I had access to, constantly overlapped frames and had shutter/winder problems, it was more often being mended than available. Consequently we learned to live without it.
I could never understand why the 600x series was never a bigger seller than it was. It ticked a lot of boxes Hasselblad struggled to tick.
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Kevin.
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2013, 04:17:05 PM »
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Another vote of confidence in the SL66. I have the later SE version and it is a glorious beast once tamed - clearly the apex predator of the mechanical camera jungle.
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Deep
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 04:30:00 AM »
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I still have my dad's old Rollei 3.5TLR.  Though I virtually never use it, it still works like it did the day it was new.  Dad used it professionally when I was born (quite some time back by camera standards!).  He'd shoot a wedding and have an album ready for the reception that evening, something that's even hard to do today.  Obviously the camera has high sentimental value for me but I also love the build and feel.

For decades I aspired to an SL66.  I finally got one, in Melbourne in 2004, complete with a wide lens (40mm I think) and a 120 S Planar.  I shot one film (fabulous!) and it jammed on the second film.  I had it repaired, shot another film (still fabulous) and it jammed again on the next film.  Dream shattered, I let it go...

Don
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Don
Geoffreyg
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 06:20:33 AM »
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As a kid, I always admired my dad's Rollei TLR (D) but never got to use it. Later years.... the camera is still honored, along with later 6003 and more modern Rollei gear. One of the little discussed aspects about Rollei is their fundamentally correct ergonomics - the placement of all the controls, the way they work has been refined over years - and its in their DNA. You can tell when you use one, a continued pleasure. 
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Geoff
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 01:02:29 AM »
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Here's a Yashica shot from last November - bull kelp washed ashore...



Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


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