Apr 9, 2011


German manufacturer of optical goods founded in 1920 by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, and maker of the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord series of cameras. Current products also include specialty and nostalgic type films for the photo hobbyist market.

Grand Prix for the twin-lens Rolleiflex

The twin-lens Rolleiflex was awarded the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in 1937. The boom in the sales of this latest versions of which delighted professionals and amateurs alike, was only interrupted by the Second World War. Who was this Reinhold Heidecke really who designed such an ingenious product? Heidecke was the type of person who knew how to combine in the best possible way the characteristics of an entrepreneur, who was prepared to take a risk, with the vast store of experience of a camera constructor. It was clear to him from the very beginning that such an ingenious idea can only grow naturally if all the conditions necessary for this are available. Heidecke's philosophy was the precise and high-quality transformation of an idea. This contributed just as much to its of the art marketing as its inherent spirit and technical state Heidecke was, however, not just an ingenious constructor, who set great store by the transformation of his ideas. At the same time, he was his own most critical customer. Professional and amateur photographers came across him at all the "photographic focal points" of the world. A passionate photographer, he popped up all over the place, and everyone's eyes were upon him. For Heidecke never travelled with a camera from the normal production programme, and was always trying out new developments or improvements.

Rolleiflex MiniDigi 

The MiniDigi AF 5.0 is a three-inch high, fully functional digicam replica of the original classic twin reflex camera.Rolleiflex introduced the original MiniDigi in 2006, but it quickly sold out. The new MiniDigi AF 5.0, which is is available with a red or black casing, has been given some significant performance upgrades, including a 5 MB image file from a 3MP CMOS sensor, autofocus, and a very clear 1.1 inch TFT monitor, located at the top of the camera as it is on the full-sized Rolleiflex TLR.It's available through specialty retailers. Pricing is expected to be $399 MSRP.A nostalgic design feature that has modern applications is the square format. The square format means no need to choose between horizontal or vertical position. You simply look downward into the viewfinder at waist level, aim, and shoot.

Rollei 35B
The 35B is the basic, low-cost model. Instead of the battery-operated CdS meter of its more expensive siblings, it uses a selenium "solar cell" meter which supplies its own electricity. So you don't need batteries. And given that mercury batteries are outlawed, that's most probably a good thing.
Unfortunately the Rollei 35B uses a lower-cost Triotar lens and a modified shutter system. So it's a bit more basic than a regular 35. Still, it's a gorgeous camera, especially in the mint black finish that I found this unit in.
The quirks of the Rollei 35 series are well known. The rewind dial and the flash bracket are located on the bottom of the camera. The button by the flash shoe is the rewind release button. Interestingly, on the top of the lens is the scale-focus in feet, on the bottom is the scale-focus in meters. I'm assuming you could ask a repair-person to flip the two around, depending on your preference.
Although we think of the Rollei 35 as pretty compact, compare it against the 1939 Kodak Retina I - made almost 30 years previously. I have a page extensively comparing all of the 35mm Compact Cameras of the 1960s and 1970s.


meter center-weighted, spot and multi-spot meter in body
shutter electronically-controlled 30 to 1/500th of a sec, 1/3 stop increments, up to 1/1000th with some lenses, longer times with expensive auxiliary equipment
film transport built-in motor drive
handholding easy with action grip
engineering electronic mechanisms that never need adjustment, but fail catastrophically
battery constant reliance on custom NiCd pack
changing backs brilliant dark slide design
changing film drop-in inserts
resale value fair
automatic exposure aperture, shutter and program AE
film backs 6x6, 6x4.5 horizontal 120 and 220 backs, 6x6 70mm, 70mm databack and Polaroid back
viewfinder info full information; f-stop and shutter speed to 1/3 stop, reminders of mexter mode, meter lock and exposure compensation, flash ready light and battery low indicator
service 48 hours in New Jersey
film ISO->meter coupling film backs keyed with ISO data, exposure adjusts automatically
lens/camera coupling electronic, so macro accessories are simple and preserve automation
documentation sketchy owner's manual
appearance modern, clunky workhorse
"take my picture" can lend camera to novice for a few shots and expect good results
lenses Zeiss lenses from 40mm to 500mm, Schneider 60, 80/2, 150 fixed, 75-150, 140-280 zooms, 55 perspective control, 2x teleconverter
renting lenses good luck
filters Very restricted choice of bayonet or 67mm with adaptor
price terrifyingly expensive



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