Rolleiflex Medium Format: A Companion for Many Years

14

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 #6x6 #rolleiflex #camera-review #mittelformat #planar-2-8 #medium-format-camera #tlr #carl-zeiss #rollei #user-review #lomography #braunschweig

14 Comments

  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 it..is 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

  • Milestones of the 110 Film Format

    written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-04-30 in #lifestyle
    Milestones of the 110 Film Format

    While the tiny 110 cartridge film has only tickled the fancy of film photographers in the recent years, this format was highly popular during its heydays. For those who have yet to learn about and shoot with 110 film, this timeline looks back at some of the notable milestones of this very compact format!

    1
  • Go for Street Photography with the Voigtlander Vito Balda

    written by artlens on 2014-05-23 in #reviews
    Go for Street Photography with the Voigtlander Vito Balda

    This camera is the most compact camera I have ever used. It's a 35mm camera built by Balda for Voigtlander in 1983. See my photos and review after the jump.

  • Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything Part 1

    written by simonesavo on 2014-07-24 in #reviews
    Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything Part 1

    The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is more than just a medium format camera. It is lightweight, compact and is capable of shooting photos in 3 different sizes: 6x12, 6x9 and 6x6. Equipped with high-quality interchangeable lenses and automatic exposure, it can give you beautiful shots with every roll. It can also take 3 different film formats: 120 film, 35mm and instant film. Read on to find out all about this fantastic camera.

  • 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.

  • Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything (Part 2)

    written by simonesavo on 2014-08-05 in #reviews
    Lomography Belair X 6-12: A Camera That Can Do Almost Everything (Part 2)

    The Lomography Belair X 6-12 is more than just a medium format camera. It is lightweight, compact, and capable of shooting photos in three different sizes: 6x12, 6x9, and 6x6. Equipped with a high quality interchangeable lens system and and automatic exposure, it can give you beautiful shots in every roll. It can also take three different film formats: 120mm, 35mm, and instant. Read on to find out all about this fantastic camera.

  • Lubitel 166+: A Review By A Four-Month Newbie

    written by hervinsyah on 2014-09-10 in #reviews
    Lubitel 166+: A Review By A Four-Month Newbie

    Many thanks to Lomography for choosing me as one of the Win Your Wishlist Rumble 2013 winners. Now, I can finally try using this precious camera.

  • 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.

    8
  • Shop News

    Lubi Scooby Doo! Save 15% on Lomography film in the Bundle with the Lubitel!

    Lubi Scooby Doo! Save 15% on Lomography film in the Bundle with the Lubitel!

    This beautiful camera features such ability to let users choose and switch between 35mm or 120 formats! Shoot more, save more! Get this Lubitel camera and get 15% discounts with Lomography Films!

  • 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.

  • Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    written by adi_totp on 2014-09-15 in #reviews
    Lomography Fisheye No.2: Seven Years of Wonder

    Exactly seven years ago, I bought this camera from Indonesia's local Lomography community. I remember having some savings in my bank account and just spending it all on this camera. At that time, I browsed the microsite for the Lomography Fisheye No.2 and immediately fell in love with it! Coincidentally, my friend who introduced me to Lomography just bought this same camera for his birthday. My life has changed ever since I had the Fisheye, my first lomographic camera.

    3
  • LomoChrome Purple 120 and 35mm: Expect the Radical!

    written by myahcat on 2014-08-01 in #reviews
    LomoChrome Purple 120 and 35mm: Expect the Radical!

    I was given a roll of LomoChrome Purple 120 by a friend who was keen for me to try it out since he didn't have a medium format camera. I really didn't expect the results I got when I took it out for a test run on a bright winter's day in London.

  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • 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.

  • My First Indisposable Project

    written by stitch on 2014-07-24 in #lifestyle
    My First Indisposable Project

    The idea behind this project was to shoot 24 moments in one week's time using a disposable camera. Incidentally, a friend from Seattle sent me two disposable cameras so I was finally able to participate. Disposable cameras aren't sold in Manila anymore. I timed my shoot during the week wherein I had to go out several times, also hoping for good weather.

  • 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!

    6