Rolleiflex Medium Format: A Companion for Many Years


Compact, easy to use, of high aesthetic value -- this is the Rolleiflex medium format camera. This camera has accompanied me for many years, and I was never ever disappointed!

First, the facts: as with many TLRs, it fits nicely in your hands. It’s equipped with a brilliant lens (2.8 – 80mm) and the length of exposure reaches from B to 1/500. This sounds good, but it gets even better: a great advantage is the winding crank you know (e.g. from Hasselblad). It spans the shutter and film transport in only one move. Really speedy like a boost engine, it never ever failed all the years! Changing film rolls is fast and easy: just thread in the loop and you’re finished! Turn the winding crank until it stops and you’re ready for the first shot. Wouldn’t miss this benefit anymore!

One more sensation: this winding crank is equipped with a special double exposure appliance, which is very comfortable to handle! So it’s easy to make as much exposures as you want. This feature is a little hidden, so I discovered it only recently.

For every day use, I must admit it’s not a lightweight camera. After some time you definately notice that it has a certain load on your shoulder, but in practice it makes itself useful by native image stabilization (about 1.4 kg with leather case, ~ 3.0 lbs). With the leather case, its nicely constructed, and opens and closes quickly. It looks a little bit antique, like a historic architectural relic.

After all the years (this one is the 2.8D from about 1955–1956) it initially did not work correctly. I really would strongly recommend a repair to everybody! Certainly, it costs some money, but I bet you will agree that a car needs a little service every now and again.

Now, everything is working fine as on the first day!

written by mapix on 2012-05-08 in #reviews #franke-und-heidecke #mittelformat #lomography #6x6 #camera-review #rolleiflex #carl-zeiss #tlr #planar-2-8 #medium-format-camera #user-review #rollei #braunschweig


  1. thepope182
    thepope182 ·

    hey! i also own a Rolleiflex. i was reading about your article and i noticed that you mentioned "double exposure" and you also mentioned that you recently discovered this on the Rolleiflex.

    could you kindly teach me this? i would love to use this technique in this camera.

  2. alex34
    alex34 ·

    Great review of a great camera!

  3. neutral-grey
    neutral-grey ·

    I got one of these. Mine also has a light meter strip across the top.

  4. mapix
    mapix ·

    @thepope182 thanks for your comment! there is a small wheel around the winding crank with a arrow and a little riffle. really doesnt get ones attention normally. if you turn it a bit after the first shot, it unlocks the winding crank so it can be moved to span the shutter without film transport - some door to experimental approach!! @alex34 thanks a lot too!

  5. mapix
    mapix ·

    @neutral-grey must admit im a little lazy and of course some jealous of your attached light meter ;) but on the other hand i got used to work with a seperate light meter, perhaps its a little more precise... strip across has my one too!!

  6. ginny
    ginny ·

    My grandfather gave me his Rolleiflex, I've only shot one roll so far but I was really pleased with the results.

  7. jeniferricken
    jeniferricken ·

    Now I read your answer up there.
    I'll try!

  8. jeniferricken
    jeniferricken ·

    I also have a Rolleiflex and I'm also curious to know about the "double exposure"...

  9. omer-koort
    omer-koort ·

    the best revies I've ever seen.
    the only problem with this camera - it cost high and it hard to pay about every single film and develop it..

  10. mapix
    mapix ·

    @omer-koort thanks! yes its not really cheap... but ive payed almost the same price in the early 80s (perhaps a little less) so its a good store of value :)

  11. mj_crn
    mj_crn ·

    what a wonderful little camera! i would love to work with one someday :) everything about just bliss

  12. af-capture
    af-capture ·

    thanks for the article

  13. redarrow
    redarrow ·

    this rolleiflex like any other rolleiflex is LEGEND -WAIT-FOR-IT- DARY!

  14. tamsoam
    tamsoam ·

    2.8D right? That's the one I want now. I dn't like with the F with meter. Prefer without for more creativity!

More Interesting Articles

  • Shooting Squares with the LC-A 120

    written by pripri2000 on 2015-04-22 in #gear #news
    Shooting Squares with the LC-A 120

    Capture the world and all its contours in vibrant, wide-angled photographs any time, any where! The LC-A 120 is an adventure of its own with lots of exciting functions to experiment with, like seamless long exposures or full ISO control. It's also super-fast and ultra-compact - perfect for your everyday. If you're worried about the Medium Format film, don't be! You are free to use any 120 Film you want and there are plenty to choose from. In fact, that's what makes this camera so versatile! Scroll through this gallery for a little taste of the glorious shots this nifty invention is capable of.

  • Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    written by fadjaradiputra on 2014-11-07 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    Adi, Ekeu, and I did a lomowalk around downtown Bandung last Saturday, the beginning of November. We planned to use our Lubitel cameras with only one roll of film each. We were inspired by the One Roll of Film Project by four Tokyo-based photographers with their Hasselblad cameras. This is about the one roll of film I shot with the Lubitel 166U, which made me love shooting in medium format even more.

  • Falling In Love With The LC-A 120

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-04-06 in #gear #reviews
    Falling In Love With The LC-A 120

    There are quite a few perks that come with working for a film photography company, and the best perk of all is testing out the latest cameras. I can remember buying my LC-A back in 2009 and being really inspired to shoot film again. When the LC-A 120 came along, I couldn't wait to try it out around London. Join me as I test out this super medium format beauty.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Serendipity Exhibition by Toby Mason

    written by lomographysoholondon on 2015-09-10 in #world #events
    Serendipity Exhibition by Toby Mason

    Toby Mason (aka fotobes) is a Brighton-based photographer who embraces the aesthetics of film photography. He mostly shoots with the LC-A+ using a range of slide films, cross processing them to create rich, highly saturated colours. His work has been featured on the BBC website and Hungry Eye Magazine. Join us for the opening night on Thursday, September 17 from 6 p.m.

  • The Magical Diana F+

    written by adi_totp on 2014-10-07 in #reviews
    The Magical Diana F+

    "Magical" here means that every time I use the Diana F+, the results are always beyond both my expectations and imagination. That's why I always use it when I feel like doing something different. It has never failed me since day one; I even always bring this camera during my trips!

  • Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    written by sirio174 on 2015-03-30 in #world #lifestyle
    Object of My Affection: Subbuteo

    In my early adolescence, I liked to play table football. For my 12th birthday, my parents gifted me with a wonderful Subbuteo table soccer game set that I had wished for many months! This was my favorite toy until I discovered other interesting hobbies, like ham radio and electronics. So after some years, I gave away this game to other kids. I always remembered this game with pleasure and a hint of nostalgia.

  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • 'Red: A Kubrick Supercut' Highlights the Filmmaker's Use of the Color in His Work

    written by chooolss on 2014-11-20 in #lifestyle #videos
    'Red: A Kubrick Supercut' Highlights the Filmmaker's Use of the Color in His Work

    Have you ever noticed how Stanley Kubrick made use of the color red many times in his movies? Video editor Rishi Kaneria sure has, and came up with this brilliant clip to showcase the filmmaker's preference for crimson hues.

  • 18 Sensational 6x12 Scenes From The Belair X 6-12

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-13 in #gear
    18 Sensational 6x12 Scenes From The Belair X 6-12

    Think the Belair X 6-12 medium-format camera is only limited to snapping square shots? Nope! It also gives you the option to shoot other photo formats, such as 6x12. We compiled some of the most impressive photos in this format for your inspiration!

  • Shooting Parades with a Sprocket Rocket and a Bunch of Holgas

    written by Lorraine Healy on 2015-07-20 in #world #lifestyle
    Shooting Parades with a Sprocket Rocket and a Bunch of Holgas

    An Argentinean writer and photographer living in the Pacific Northwest, Lorraine Healy is a long-time fan of plastic cameras and is the author of "Tricks With A Plastic Wonder," a manual for achieving better results with a Holga camera, available in eBook form on In this article, Healy shares two recent photo outings where she used 35mm and medium format films.

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Five Days, Four Kinds of Film and Three Cameras on the French Riviera

    written by nickpage on 2015-09-19 in #world #lifestyle
    Five Days, Four Kinds of Film and Three Cameras on the French Riviera

    It had been five years since my last visit to the Côte d'Azur in France. During this period, I took to film photography again. And so for my return, I was looking forward to capturing, with my handy film cameras, some of that special light and blue sea that had drawn so many artists to the Riviera.

  • My Year in Analogue: Old Cameras and New Techniques

    written by stratski on 2014-12-17 in #lifestyle
    My Year in Analogue: Old Cameras and New Techniques

    2014 has been a good year for me, photographically speaking. I finally realized a few projects I had been dying to try out for a long time and, despite my resolution not to buy new ones, acquired some new cameras.

  • Tipster: Sizing and Installing Masks in the Lomo'Instant

    written by ahollond on 2015-09-12 in #gear #tipster
    Tipster: Sizing and Installing Masks in the Lomo'Instant

    Seeing cool masked photos on the Lomography site made me want to experiment with the Lomo'Instant. Making masks for the Lomo'Instant is slightly different than that for other Lomo cameras, but the steps in this article should make it easy.