Rollei Magic...Oh So Magical

3

The Rollei Magic (1960-1962) is a delicious TLR with super powers including automatic exposures and incredible portrait-taking abilities.

This was the first TLR camera to use an automatic exposure. The first iteration was produced from 1960-1962 by Franke and Heidecke of Braunschweig, Germany. One of the main drawbacks of the model is the fragility of the meter. Since the exposures are all automatic, if the meter breaks, the camera is essentially useless (although it would make for a pretty fancy paper weight). F&H created the Rollei Magic II (from 1962-1968) as a response to this problem, making the controls partially manual.

The lens is Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 75mm f3.5, and the shutter Prontormat S 1/30 to 1/300 (it also has a Bulb setting). The original camera came with an additional mask set, so it can take either 12 shots at 6×6cm (squares!) or a more economical 16 shots at 4×5.5cm.

Setting up a shot is the same as any other TLR, just without the exposure option (thus the Magical-ness). Simply set the film speed, open the hood, focus, set the aperture, snap, crank, and repeat.

My grandfather used the camera in the 60’s and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s still in great shape, producing images as clear as when he used it. I’ve only shot 2 rolls with it so far, but I’m totally addicted! Shooting on the street, I’ve never had as many random people come up to me and ask how the camera works, how old it is, and if they can look into the frame finder.

Though I’ve shot in both the square and rectangular formats, the 6×6 seems like more fun and in keeping with the Rollei tradition. Provided the meter stays in shape, I’ll be using this camera for a long time!

written by mblair23 on 2008-12-02 in #reviews #120 #rollei-magic #automatic-exposure #rollei #tlr #medium-format

3 Comments

  1. alexeiz
    alexeiz ·

    Rolleis are the best cameras ever. Right after Leicas :P

  2. zulupt
    zulupt ·

    Great Pics, specially #11
    Great camera, I want to buy a Rolleiflex 2.8A but I´m still searching for a good deal.
    Nice review, congrats.

  3. miroflex
    miroflex ·

    The Rollei Magic was and is a path-breaking camera with automatic exposure and manual focussing. The front cell focussing slightly softens the sharpness of the Schneider Xenar taking lens. Simple to use, it is a great camera for lomography.

More Interesting Articles

  • Most Popular Photo Last Year: November 28, 2013

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-11-28 in #news
    Most Popular Photo Last Year: November 28, 2013

    With a dash of imagination and power of multiple exposure, one can effortlessly build a fortress among the clouds!

    2
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Shop News

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Get both appealing LomoDices for your home! These cardboard cubes can be used for different things – they make great, stylish seats but you can also stash small items inside and fold them for storing!

  • 'Stilpirat' Steffen Böttcher Lures the Lomography Petzval Lens to France

    written by zonderbar on 2014-10-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    'Stilpirat' Steffen Böttcher Lures the Lomography Petzval Lens to France

    Steffen Böttcher's blog is already home to some very beautiful portraits taken with the New Petzval Lens. But the Petzval does so much more than just taking beautiful portraits; Böttcher recently took the lens with him on a mobile home adventure across the South of France. Find out more about the German photographer and his road trip in this exclusive interview.

  • A Salute to the Masters: A Day at the Races (A Tribute to Bernard Cahier)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-07-26 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: A Day at the Races (A Tribute to Bernard Cahier)

    This article is a tribute to the photojournalist Bernard Cahier, the greatest Formula 1 photographer known as the "Cartier-Bresson of Motor Racing" for his great ability in capturing the right moment. Here, I'll feature a series of photos that I took at the Monza Grand Prix with a timeless black and white film! Take a look after the jump!

  • Photo of the Day by bebopbebop

    written by chooolss on 2014-07-31 in #news
    Photo of the Day by bebopbebop

    Can't completely decided which of your many talented sides deserve the spotlight? Take a double exposure portrait and unleash that star in you!

    8
  • Shop News

    Show Off your Pics with Style!

    Show Off your Pics with Style!

    Build vivid hanging LomoCurtains, robust free-standing LomoCastles, and dazzling mounted LomoMosaics! Just click them together with the Lomography Photoclips!

  • Meet our LomoGuru Roger Lean

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-06-13 in #news
    Meet our LomoGuru Roger Lean

    Roger Lean is the master of the LC-A. If you have a faulty LC-A, he is the man who can fix it for you. We gave him a bunch of cameras a few months ago; he worked his magic and fixed them all! As part of the LC-A's 30th Anniversary celebrations, were are offering these refurbished cameras with an incredible discount. Read on for more information.

    1
  • Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-17 in #people #news #lifestyle #tipster
    Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    Ever since light painting was invented, it inspired artists from all around the globe to magical creations that capture hidden movements and reinvent the world we live in. "Life is a fairy tale, stay wild little child!" is what they want to tell us. Bringing light to life became the next challenge for anyone rigged with a film camera and a creative mind. Now, how can you take your analogue light paintings from the ordinary to the outstanding? After the carriage came the car, so we definitely need some spacy inventions to follow the old school light pen. So here it is, our new best friend: The Pixelstick!

    8
  • Petzval Artist: The Red Square with Alex Laurel

    written by lomographyfrance on 2014-06-06 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist: The Red Square with Alex Laurel

    The Lomography x Zenit Petzval Lens is traveling all around the world in the hands of the most talented photographers these days. It is now Alex Laurel's turn to try the powers of this lens. The French photographer and surfer who took the Petzval Lens for a walk on the Red Square in Moscow shows us his stunning portraits and talks about his experience with the lens.

  • Shop News

    LC-A Instant Back+ at Lesser Price!

    LC-A Instant Back+ at Lesser Price!

    Grab this lovely accessory at discounted price! LC-A instant Back is iideal for your summer getaways to capture memories instantly with your LC-A cameras in hand!

  • Introducing Pixelstick — The Light Painting Tool Of The Future

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-12 in #gear #news
    Introducing Pixelstick — The Light Painting Tool Of The Future

    Have you ever dreamed of creating magical scenes with just the wave of your hand? Wish no longer — Pixelstick makes that dream a reality! Packed to the brim with 200 full color, high fidelity LEDs, the 1.8 meter long Pixelstick is your ticket to incredible, mind-boggling light paintings. It's now available for the first time in the Online Shop!

    9
  • Chuck Close shoots larger-than-life instant portraits of Hollywood's finest personalities

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-04-03 in #people #lifestyle
    Chuck Close shoots larger-than-life instant portraits of Hollywood's finest personalities

    American photorealist and photographer Chuck Close suffers from Prosopagnosia, a disorder that impairs one's ability to recognize faces. Ironically, Close became famous for his huge portraits, which he painted with the help of gridded photographs. In 1988, a seizure resulting from spinal artery collapse rendered him paralyzed from the neck down, but did not stop him from creating masterpieces that patrons enjoy.

    1
  • LomoGuru of the Week: tall_bastard

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-06-29 in #lifestyle
    LomoGuru of the Week: tall_bastard

    Our newest LomoGuru is a passionate analogue shooter from Warsaw, Poland. His body of work includes truly breathtaking and evocative portraits. Get to know Adrian Norbert Cuper, commonly referred in our Community to as tall_bastard, our LomoGuru of the Week!

    16