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Lomopedia: Original Rolleiflex

Rolleiflex has long been a household name when it comes to twin lens reflex cameras, so it's only but proper for us to take a look at the camera which sparked the TLR camera's popularity.

The Rolleiflex TLR camera was developed in Germany by Franke & Heidecke. Eleven prototypes were made between 1927 to 1928, until finally, the so-called Original Rolleiflex was launched in January 1929.

Original Rolleiflex TLR camera. Photo via Wikipedia

The Original Rolleiflex was made for 117 (or B1) film, however, it could be modified for use with 120 or 620 film to yield 12 exposures. The camera’s back was not yet hinged. Film advance was done through a knob, but it didn’t have a frame counter. Photographers could choose between two Zeiss Tessar lenses, one with F4.5/75 and the other 3.8/75. Only 2,500 pieces were produced from January to July 1929.

Since then, Rolleiflex cameras became known as premium TLR cameras that were of superb build and quality. Eventually, it was widely copied and imitators were mass-marketed.

Technical Specifications:

  • Taking Lens: Zeiss Tessar 4.5/75 (model 611,613), Zeiss Tessar 3.8/75 (model 612,614)
  • Taking Lens Filter Size: 28.5mm
  • Finder Lens: Heidoscop Anastigmat 3.1/75mm
  • Finder Lens Filter Size: 24mm
  • Shutter: Compur, 1 – 1/300 sec., T & B
  • Film: 6×6, B I (117)
  • Film Transportation: winding knob, red window for exposure number on back, film pressure plate without color coating. Manual shutter tensioning.
  • Dimensions: 13.2×8.5×9.0cm
  • Weight: 715 grams (f 4.5), 722 grams (f3.8).
  • This model did not have a hinged back. The camera was often converted to accept the newer 620 and 120 roll films.

Visit Rollei Club, Rolleiflex (original) on Camerapedia, and Rolleiflex on Wikipedia to find out more about this iconic camera!

written by plasticpopsicle

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish & Deutsch.