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Thread started 22 Mar 2016 (Tuesday) 00:53
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A friend inherited an old Rolleiflex camera, and needs help identifying it and understanding its use.

 
Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 22, 2016 00:53 |  #1

.

A fellow member of the artists club I belong to inherited an old camera from her late aunt. She would like to use it, but has very little to go on as to what kind of film it takes and what model of camera it is.

She says that she saw no information on the camera, nor on its case, as to what the specific model it is. Wikipedia was not much help, either, for when I looked up "Rolleiflex camera", the wikipedia entry simply says that Rolleiflex is a "long-running and diverse line of high-end cameras originally made by the German company Franke & Heidecke, and later Rollei-Werk." Also according to wikipedia, Rolleiflex made both medium format and 35mm SLR cameras, and I have no way of knowing which this is, as I am not able to see or examine the camera in person.

So apparently there are many different models of Rolleiflex cameras, and with no model name or number located anywhere on the body I have no idea how she can find out wha model she has. It does say something on the front that looks like "SYNCHRO COMPUR", but she says that that is not a model name.

My hope is that someone here on POTN will be familiar with this camera and be able to identify it by the photo that I am attaching.

If you can tell me what model it is I would much appreciate it. Also, if you can tell me what kind of film it takes, and where that film can be purchased, that info would be quite helpful, too.

Thanks!


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Mar 22, 2016 01:54 |  #2

The Synchro Compur is the shutter. I don't know more about this camera, but here is a site that claims it lists all the models. http://www.rolleiclub.​com …as/tlr/info/all​_TLR.shtml (external link)

Hopefully someone can give you more information, but at least this site will give you a place to start.


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Snydremark
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Mar 22, 2016 01:54 |  #3

Hey Tom,

If you can grab the S/N off the front, top of the camera there, maybe this site can help get you on the right track: http://antiquecameras.​net/rolleiflex.html (external link)

Best of luck to both of you; looks like it could be a fun thing!


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Owain ­ Shaw
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Mar 22, 2016 03:43 |  #4

I think it would take 120 roll film; it's what they called a Twin Lens Reflex rather than an SLR (looking at the same Wikipedia article as you did, I imagine, I think that it mentions 35mm referring only to SLRs). I've only ever seen TLRs as Medium Format (120) cameras, but I'm not an expert and there may be 35mm TLRs out there.

Using the model list at the bottom of that Wiki page, and the fact that the lenses seem to say Tessar 1:3.5 on them; I'd guess at a 1958-75 Rolleiflex T. Could easily be wrong though.


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Mar 22, 2016 08:27 |  #5

Owain Shaw wrote in post #17944078 (external link)
I think it would take 120 roll film; it's what they called a Twin Lens Reflex rather than an SLR...

I agree. They were pretty durable cameras. You view through the top lens & the image is taken through the bottom one, so the closer to the subject that you are, the less accurate the framing will be.


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Luckless
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Mar 22, 2016 08:47 |  #6

Open the back and look inside. I believe Rolleiflex TLRs are all 120 (possibly 220, but 'close enough' for the most part. Might have a rotating pressure plate to switch between the two), and that is easily confirmed by opening it up and looking inside. Should have space to hold two spools that are both removable.

120 is an interesting film format, as it feeds off a main spool that the film comes on, and that is in turn wound onto an identical secondary spool and then stays there. The old main spool gets moved and becomes your secondary spool when you load a new roll of film. Since it isn't a cartridge film, it is usually a good idea to take a little extra care with it.


They are lovely cameras, and interesting to work with. I'm sure she will enjoy it if they have any real interest in working with film.


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moose10101
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Post edited over 2 years ago by moose10101.
     
Mar 22, 2016 09:02 |  #7

Her Rolleiflex is one of the classic film cameras. The link to the serial numbers will help you identify the particular model, so you can track down an instruction manual for details on loading the film and operating the controls.

Her model uses 120 film, as do virtually all Rolleiflexes (they also made a smaller model that uses 127 film). You can buy 120 film online from all of the big photo supply stores. Based on its appearance, I'd guess that it is NOT equipped to use 220 film, but if you post the serial #, I can double-check that. It takes Bayonet I (more commonly referred to as "Bay I") filter and lens hood accessories.

The Tessar lens may be the most common lens design used by medium format cameras; it seems that every company produced its own copy. It's quite sharp.

The biggest hurdle in learning to use it will probably be adjusting to the viewfinder image, which is flipped left to right. It takes some practice before you stop moving the wrong way to compose the image.




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Mar 22, 2016 11:16 |  #8

.

Wow - 6 helpful, informative replies already! I told her you guys were the best!

I have asked my friend to look for the serial number, and will post it here as soon as she emails it to me.

I really appreciate the treasure trove of knowledge that is shared here.

.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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moose10101
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Mar 22, 2016 12:16 as a reply to  @ Tom Reichner's post |  #9

The serial number is on the front, right above the Rolleiflex name. I can't quite make out the numbers.




  
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Mar 22, 2016 13:08 |  #10

Nice find. Serial number is the easiest, but looks like one of the Automats from the 50's, either the type 4 or 5, based on the Tessar lens and Synchro Compur shutter.

Here's a link for a manual for type 5.

http://www.urmonas.net …i-mxevs/rollei-mxevs.html (external link)


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Tom Reichner. (2 edits in all)
     
Mar 22, 2016 17:14 |  #11

moose10101 wrote in post #17944250 (external link)
Based on its appearance, I'd guess that it is NOT equipped to use 220 film, but if you post the serial #, I can double-check that.

Awesome!

Here is another pic that she sent to me, with the serial number, 1414587

....... and other letters that may be part of the serial number???? They are DBP and DBGM


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"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
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Post edited over 2 years ago by lilkngster. (3 edits in all)
     
Mar 22, 2016 18:18 as a reply to  @ Tom Reichner's post |  #12

Looks like a Automat type 4, aka the mx or k4a

http://camerapedia.wik​ia.com …lleiflex_Automa​t_(X_sync. (external link))

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=leU0SQzLBSg (external link)

Get her some film!

edit: this video has some good inof

https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=hCkNt2FbuvQ (external link)


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Mar 22, 2016 18:35 |  #13

Sweet! I love, love, love these things!

I have an old Yashica-Mat, which is also a 6x6 TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) medium format camera. I think the Rolleiflex is nicer. :) I'm not sure what model she has.

This should be fun for her to play with.

Colour, true black and white, and C41 black and white can still be purchased for it pretty easily. If she lives in a larger urban centre she might even be able to purchase 120 6x6 film locally. The film will most likely need to be shipped out to be processed.

If there isn't a spool in the camera, she'll need an extra (empty) spool. As mentioned above, the film winds from one spool to another. The film only comes with one spool

The light meter might not work, so she'll need to use a separate light meter. A light meter smart phone app will probably work just fine for that: as long as she's not dealing with loads of reflective light.

She'll most likely want to wear the camera around her neck on a strap, and then she'll look down through the viewfinder on top of the camera to frame her shot. I hold mine at waist height. It makes for an interesting perspective, and the 1:1 ratio is very popular right now: thanks in part to Instagram.

There might be light leaks or some other quirks in the photographs, but I think that just adds to the charm. She won't need to Photoshop them in to get the get the old camera effect. ;)

Oh . . . she might want a magnifying glass to help her focus. My Yashica has a popup magnifying glass above the viewfinder which is really helpful in fine-tuning focus. This one doesn't have that, so a magnifying glass she can hold over the view finder might be helpful.


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moose10101
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Mar 22, 2016 18:47 as a reply to  @ neacail's post |  #14

It doesn't have a light meter. Light leaks are very unlikely unless there's damage to the camera back. More likely is flare when shooting anywhere near the sun, so a hood is the first accessory I'd get.

I agree that Automat 4 is most likely. It won't take 220 film.

The DBP/DBGM are just acronyms that appear on post-war Rolleiflexes; they're not an indicator of the model.




  
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Mar 22, 2016 18:50 |  #15

lilkngster wrote in post #17944884 (external link)
Looks like a Automat type 4, aka the mx or k4a

...

Looks like this is correct; based on the s/n identification


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A friend inherited an old Rolleiflex camera, and needs help identifying it and understanding its use.
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