Rolleiflex is the name of a long-running and diverse line of high-end
cameras made by the German company Rollei. The "Rolleiflex" name is most commonly used to refer to Rollei's premier line of medium format twin lens reflex(TLR) cameras. (A companion line intended for amateur photographers, Rolleicord, existed for several decades.) However, a variety of TLRs and SLRs in medium, 35 mm, and digital formats have also been produced under the Rolleiflex label. The Rolleiflex series is marketed primarily to professional photographers.
The Rolleiflex TLR film cameras were notable for their compact size, reduced weight, superior optics, durable and simple mechanics and bright viewfinders. An ingenious tapered mirror allowed the size of the viewing lens (the top lens) 'internal compartment' to be reduced, and this smaller compartment was dovetailed with the bottom taking lens 'compartment', which decreased the overall size and weight of the camera. The high-quality lenses, manufactured by
Zeissand Schneider, further differentiated the Rolleiflex TLR from many of its competitors. The mechanical wind mechanism was robust and clever, making film loading semi-automatic and quick. A wide range of accessories made this camera a more complete system, allowing close-ups, added filters and quick tripod attachment. Some art photographers still shoot with Rolleiflex TLR film cameras and black-and-white film, the later 2.8F and 3.5F models being very popular. Modern Rolleiflex TLRs are still being manufactured; available focal lengths include 50mm, 80mm, and 135mm. The late-model cameras are collectible, particularly in Japan.
This first Rolleiflex was introduced in 1929 [ [http://www.rollei.jp/e/pd/Rolleiflex.html Rollei Japan] ] after three years of development [ [http://www.ganjatron.net/photo/tlr/tlr.html http://www.ganjatron.net/photo/tlr/tlr.html] ] , and was the first medium format roll-film camera, which was used with unpopular 117 (B1) film. It was a Twin-Lens Reflex camera.
* Introduced an automatic film counter; this counter senses the thickness of the film backing to accurately begin counting frames, obviating the need for the ruby window that forced the photographer to read the frame number off the back of the film itself.
* This model won the Grand Prix award at the Paris
World's Fairin 1937.
* The first Rolleiflex to offer a
Schneider KreuznachXenar taking lens as an option, in addition to the Carl Zeiss Tessar.
Incorporated the first f2.8 taking lens (either an 80 mm Carl Zeiss Tessar or Opton Tessar) into the Rolleiflex line. It also added an X flash synch contact.
This camera used a 135 mm/f4.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar taking lens.
The new Tele Rolleiflex uses 135mm/f4 Schneider Tele-Xenar taking lens
This camera had a 55 mm/f4.0 Carl Zeiss Distagon taking lens.
The new Wide Rolleiflex uses a 50mm/f4 Schneider Super-Angulon taking lens.
Rollei's first medium-format SLR, introduced in 1966.
A 35 mm SLR introduced in 1970.
Rolleiflex Digital Reproductions
There are 2 current models of miniature Rolleiflex digital cameras. These are not true Rolleiflex cameras but are miniature reproductions of the Rolleiflex TLR design produced under license by the German camera manufacturer
Minox. The cameras are manufactured by the Japanese company Sharan.
The original model, now discontinued was named the Rolleiflex MiniDigi. It was a miniture reproduction of the TLR design Rolleiflex. In many details the camera retained the details of the the original, including a waist level view finder and a hand crank to prepare the camera for the next shot. As the name implies the camera was a digital reproduction with the second lens being a dummy. The camera had a 2 megapixel square format CMOS sensor, enableing it to take sqare format shots like a traditional TLR. The taking lens was a 9 mm f2.8 in 5 elements a fixed focus and a minimal focal length of 10cm. The shutter speeds were automatically controlled between 1/15 seconds to 1/400 seconds, exposure time was likewise automatic. The camera was operated by a single CR2 battery. The storage media was either SD or MMC cards.
The current production model is named the MINOX DCC (Digital Classic Camera) Rolleiflex AF 5.0. The name change brings the current model more firmly in line with the rest of Minox's Classic Camera miniature reproduction range, possibly as this model seems to be marketed more heavily in Europe than the previous one.
It is visually identical to the original model except it is available in both black and red leather finishes. The CMOS sensor has been upgraded to 3 megapixels, with 5.0 megapixels available by
interpolation. The camera now has a digital autofocus to overcome the fixed focal length lens, explaining why the taking lens has been downgraded to 4.9 mm with f2.8 aperture. The electronic shutter has also been upgraded to a maximum speed of 1/2500 of a second. The camera operates on a single CR2 battery and uses miniSD memory cards.
List of models
* [http://www.members.aol.com/dcolucci/rolleitlr.htm/ Rolleiflex TLR Price & Information Guide to Rolleiflex TLR cameras]
* [http://www.rolleiclub.com/ the International RolleiClub with Images and specifications of all Rolleiflex TLR cameras]
* [http://www.rolleiflexclub.nl/ Dutch Rolleiflexclub with Image Gallery"']
* [http://www.rolleicafe.com/ RolleiCafe:: Rolleiflex discussion and user forum]
* [http://www.sl66.com/ The most comprehensive information about all Rolleiflex SL66 camera models , Carl Zeiss lenses and original Sl66 accessories]
* [http://www.rolleigraphy.org/ Rolleigraphy.org]
* [http://home.worldonline.dk/rongsted/Rolleisn.htm Identify your Rollei model by serial number]
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