3 Rolleiflex 2,8E ! Why this?
From left to right:
Rolleiflex 2,8E with Zeiss Planar (5-lenses),
Rolleiflex 2,8E with Schneider Xenotar (5-lenses) und
Rolleiflex 2,8E with Schneider special-Xenotar
Left the regular 2,8E Xenotar and right? A dummy with a 1-lens Xenotar and
"simplified" inside: no pressure plate, no film rollers
no shutter, no focus, just an empty hull.
All the above mentioned cameras are equipped with the optional two range
selenium light meter. In case a customer ordered the camera without a meter,
Rollei mounted a nice memo-disc to cover the hole in the focusing knob:
First 12-200ASA / 12-24 DIN respectively, later 8-800ASA / 10-30DIN and
even 12-2000ASA / 12-34DIN in the last version (known to me). In the early
days with distinction of ortho / panchromatic B&W film, later just "B&W" (but
with distinction for tungsten / daylight color film). At the lower left of the upper
pic one may see the patended (see below) inside of the disk. The inside worked
in such a way that when turning the handle in one direction you set the film
speed and in the other direction the kind of film loaded:
Nice, isn't it?
Even a rather plain (the Rolleicord was the consumer product line) and
common (some 84000 were made according to Hr. Prochnow) camera like
the Rolleicord V has lovely little details and subtle differences over the years
Just look at the spool knobs (the V was the only one to wear rubber, but not
all the Vs came with rubber), the MXV- / and double-exposure-lever (chrome with
black dot or black paint with chrome trim), shutter release (with / without black
dot) and the scales for aperture, shutter speed and EV (either engraved into the
black paint or engraved into the chrome and filled with paint) - WOW!
People in Braunschweig were pretty busy in those days!
2 Rolleicord Va - Why this?
"Yeah, I know one regular, one dummy! Right?" Nope.
Oops, Schneider engraved two lenses with the same serial number
("2345432") and a Steinheil finder lens?:
From left to rigth:
Rolleicord Va Dummy,
Rolleicord Va Dummy
As usual one-element special taking lens, no shutter, no focus, no ...
For a little change the right camera is equipped with an old Rolleicord III
back-door, maybe Rollei still had plenty when building the dummy, maybe
somebody swapped parts. Who knows?
Variations in grey:
From left to right:
Rolleicord Vb (Philips),
Rolleiflex 3,5F Xenotar ("P") und
Rolleiflex T (a rather ordinary camera)
The grey is a bit lighter than usual but surely cut by the original tool.
The serial number contains a "P" ... Private? Polizei (police)? Philips?
For a long time just a loan to my museum, but I was allowed to put her
on her back and fool around a bit ... and now she's mine ;-)
"Just how many cameras do you need ?!?!??" (does this question
sound familiar to anyone?), "Um, eh, I dunno, but it takes three
Rolleiflex T only to have all neccessary variations!":
The first grey "Franke & Heidecke" with Tessar,
the "Rollei Werke", black with "Opton Te" and Synchro Compur X and
naturally the late "White Face", with Xenar (with selenium meter in
this case). That's all the Ts I "need" (OK, admitted, I own a few more).
To be frank, Im still missing one more Rolleiflex T so I can make use of
this little gadget:
Regular Rolleiflex T (and Rollei Magic) will take a "Maskensatz 16" (to
snap 16 frames 4,5x6, as do Rolleicord Va and b)
but there was a short run of Rolleiflex T with 12/24 counter (not for 220 film
but for this mask set 27x40mm with cutouts for 24x36mm...).
Often neglected in literature: Our (postwar) bab(i)es in leather:
The clam shell for the grey baby and the early zippered pouch,
pouches for Rolleinar, shade and the famous Rolleilux plus the
handy pouch for a shade with two filters - in lovely lively shades
For the black baby Rollei returned to the old fashioned Never-Ready-Case
including dedicated strap in brown or black depending upon your taste:
Imho especially interesting is the adapter ring (shown on the camera
in the black ERC) to mount the regular BI shade to the baby Rolleiflex.
Maybe a garage job in selfdefense lacking the true 4x4 shade.
Your babies need even more protection?
Here's the answer:
Both tropical boxes are "in the book" but shown in black&white only.
The color is important when looking at the dry cartridge:
"Blue" means "dry" or "active", "brown" means "saturated with moisture".
The other camera family shown in the Rollei Repoert 3 is the Rolleiflex SL 66,
here shown in the later version SL 66 E along with a late (black anodized aperture
ring plus ring for open aperture metering with SL 66E) Planar 2,8/80 and a late
The lenses remind me of an old Edgar Wallace book "The Dark Eyes of London"
looks like there was a fire in there ...
Fortunately there was no fire, it's just an empty dummy camera and lens set!
No reflex mirror or shutter in the camera, no rear lens groups in the lenses, no
gear in the magazine.
I wasn't there when they did it, but I reckon the path from SL 66 to SL 66 E
was a bit crooked, if not tangled ... before they came up with the good idea
with the photo-diode behind the semisilvered mirror they tried other things:
A CdS-photoresistor swinging in front of the reflex mirror (Just when did the
Leica M5 and Leica CL enter the market?) and ...
doesn't this coil look like an electric solution to govern the shutter speeds?
Maybe even automatic exposure? I fear I will have to investigate a bit more,
but for now, I'm calling this one the "Rolleiflex SL 66 A".
The old Rolleiflexers' dream: "Oh Lord, please give me another focal
length" came true again with the Duonar ("again" after the pre war
(WW II not Korea, Vietnam or ...) Magnar):
Interesting the bayonet mount Bay III "into" and Bay I "over" ...
All in all just a make shift solution, since not the entire film format
could be used.
Naturally with all the usual gadgets: filters, leather pouches and a
The best from East (left, Zeiss Jena) and West (right, Zeiss Oberkochen) -
at least for those days, the Tessar 2,8/80mm mounted to Rolleiflex 2,8A:
A noteworthy detail: the "special" Bay II lens hood. The taking lens's outer
bayonet is oriented in a way you wont be able to mount the later "regular"
BII shades (please compare with the Rolleiflex 3,5F).
The old Rolleiflexers' dream: "Oh Lord, please give me another focal
length" oops, sounds like a deja-vu ... OK this here is a funny looking
It is an other way to help ...
just unscrew the eye-cups of your Steinheil Feldstecher,
mount the thingie to the Steinheil DF 6x30...
and mount the binos to your Rollei (with Bay I filter mount)!
6 x 75mm = 450mm is the impressing result.
Dark viewfinders / ground glasses must have been a serious problem
in the olden days. The US-High-Tec-solution:
An active system to aid focusing - Wow!
Battery driven it projects two dots onto the subject. A feeler grabs
the lens's movement and adjusts one of the two projecting beams
accordingly. If the distance is right both dots are aligned.
Will help the most when using a flash to light the scene.
Long before latino-drugdealers showed us in cinema how to hold
our guns, Rollei made the right pistol grip for our beauties (right and
under the 2,8F a prototype (wood and paint), left under the 3,5F the
"FOBUM" mass production part with cable release:
If your pictures aren't good, you weren't close enough (Robert Capa),
If your product needs an additional grip, your design sucks (Jan Böttcher).
Even with pistol grip one still needs three hands to operate the camera.
A look behind the scenes shows: the Rolleifix's lock mechanism
went through at least three stages of developement:
a small button left on the lever's axle (grip in foreground),
a small pushbutton on the right (grip under left camera)
and the final solution on the seperate Rolleifix.
The grip in the foreground provided the advantage of a tripod mount ...
The Grip was rather hollow ... so before long, somebody came to stuff it:
NiCad-battery, a small circuit etc. inside, the Xenon-tube up front, were
quickly installed, On/Off switch and synch cable on the grip's far side and
the usual distance/f-stop-calculator at the round bottom. Someday I'll try
to activate the unit ... and maybe add an extension to avoid red eyes :-)
Due to the Rolleiflexers's constant desire for other focal lengths,
some day the Tele Rolleiflex had to be invented. The constructive
details of the Rolleiflex implied several compromises especially
regarding the focusing. In order to close the gap between the closest
focusing distance and the Rolleinar 1, one had to invent Rolleinar 0,35
and Rolleinar 0,7. Naturally through stages of developement, first (left)
without bayonet mount for filters and shade (right the normal Rolleinar 0,35):
Filters were a big business before the invention of PhotoShop ...
Not truely neccessary but nice to have the cemented gelatine CC-filters,
as always with "Rollei"-engraving (hmh, is there a Germany in Rochster
or a Rochester in Germany???):
"Bernotar" has a nice sound, close to "Bernstein" ((German for "amber")
and it fits well to the "Biometar")) ... this Bernotar is quite rare:
Hard to find in 28,5 or 32mm already, but the 41,5mm size for Bay III lenses
was unknown to me until the filter found me (Rollei Report 1 lists the
original small sizes, in Report 2 it starts for B III with the "Rolleipol").
Shown in Rollei Report 2 in B&W only, in full color here:
Filter pill boxes with a clear lid and nice colorful inlay to demonstrate
what effect a red / blue / yellow / green filter will have.
More filters, "The Graduate(d)": left old PR 124 with silky paint finish,
right the big one for "Rollei 2,8" hoods with BIII PR 328/3 and center PR328/1
in crackle finish (and seen above the reason you never saw PR328/2: the
shades for BI and BII are the same size at the front end).
Any questions? Naturally the crackle paint version came with engraving
"Rollei 3,5" too and one can tell, the pouches went from "landscape" to
naturally F&H got a patent for this idea:
The pouch does look familiar ... just a bit more squarish:
Another neat accessory, the Rolleimagnifier (a Photokina-giveaway I guess)
Looking for an alterantive to the rigid shade?
Two square metal frames (the rear one with BI push-on mount) connected
with a rubberized cloth - nope, not "Made on Jan's kitchen table" but "Made
upon holy ground in Braunschweig". Never made it to series production.
Shades ... take a look at world market prices for BIV shades (center) - and
you will start to doubt wether the thing left is a prototype or just garage works
selfdefense. Right: the new shade for the new Rolleiflex 4,0FW (to be seen soon
in Rollei Report 6) - shorter to match the camera's shorter focal length lens).
Look at the caps: the classic on the left, the newish (a bit cheapisher (smooth
rim, no decorative rings)) to the right. By the way an expensive accessory!
The camera will come to you with an even more cheapish plastic cap.
The Rollei P95.0 Projection device for the TLRs is well known and
widely spread. For all those not willing to toast their camera or who
just had one Rolleiflex and felt they'd need it during the slide show,
a solution had to be found (left):
I'm not sure wether it was an official Rollei developement, but I am
rather sure it was built in the Rollei Werke during work hours and from
company materials (Rolleiflex 3,5F-finder parts, first surface mirror and
a Heidosmat 2,8/110 from the Rolleiscop P18): The watchmacallit??
For the ones brave enough (to try to toast their camera) Rollei came
up with the Projektions- Rolleinar 0,75 (-0,75) to increase the distance
between projection device and screen (from left; BI, BII (twice) and BIII):
IMHO interesting: the ones in BII show different (multi-)coatings -
center left: purple, center right: gold.
The contact (former OTS man) digs a black metal frame out of the pocket of
his worn trench coat and deliberately puts it on the table of the Sushi-Bar (left):
To cut the story short I'm includung hint#1 to the right - but what about the
yeah, sure, Pentacon Six I knew that ... but why?
to mount a KW- or VEB-Pentacon 90°prism to a Rollei (the metered prism and
folding WLF don't work, they would collide with the Rollei's ground glass).
I decide to quickly pocket the thing as we hear the noise of a small two stroke
engine; the pizza delivery boy, finally a warm meal!
Judging by the vivid colors these are from the seventies:
The upper two with a shiny silver "Rollei"-name, the lower two flat black
The acrylic one may well fit an SL 35 - SL 35 E,
the right version? TLRs maybe.
The bridge from TLRs to SL 66:
maybe the pouches for the interchangeable ground glasses (I just snapped the
pic when a green sample entered my mailbox .. pic will follow) they are all different
(in lettering, texture or as you may have guessed by now in color)!
Who ever noticed that the accessorie shoe on his/her SL 66 is mounted
backwards, please raise your hand! ... ah ja, I can see a few hands. Now
hands up for everybody who knows the reason for this! Hmh, way less
hands in the air ...
I have the suspicion it was done to be able to click-mount this BEAUTIFUL
finder (above you can see part of the mount's back):
On the camera the WLF adapted from the TLR with sportsfinder frame.
At the rear of the accessory finder a forked end in search of a matching
knob on the camera to stabilize the mount - for some reason mass
production of this handy finder never started.
This part is well known from literature and shown here just to make
the picture of sportsfinders complete.
The frame for the 80mm lens on the instructions.
Even the protective caps for camera back and magazine front had to
be invented some day - preproduction samples in the foreground,
regular production run on the camera and under the magazine:
Without camera or magazine the caps make a nice container for your
soap on a hiking trip in Yosemite!
An other permanent problem even to professionals: Flash metering ...
A truely conning idea, a "Spezialmagazin Flash Fix" for the 66, but
the mockup shows some design flaws ...
OK, the electronics are not complete yet, but one can already tell:
Barely enough space for a fistful transistors and the 9V battery due
to the large ammeter and this lead to an unfavorable position of the
photo diode resulting in extreme spotmetering. Without the ammeter
one might have taken the photo diode back a bit and install a diffusing
cone/screen in front of it.
The same old Sushi-Bar again - two rings flipped on the table:
Rolleiflex SL 66 male and Pentacon-Six female the one,
Rolleiflex SL 66 female and Pentacon-Six male the other... to ???
Great, mounted one way you have a Pentacon Six extension ring, combinded
the other way a Rolleiflex SL 66 extension ring ... Scaramanga would have
smiled with delight ...
or as adapters, for K6-lenses to SL 66 (close-ups only, longest focus about 1 ft)
and for SL 66 lenses to Pentacon Six (giving "Fixfocus" of about 1 ft) - no scooter,
no pizza, somewhere off in the distance, a dog barked.