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


  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!

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