Rolleiflex 3.5f

01st January 2016


Another camera in my collection of which I use a lot, sadly Rolleiflex stopped manufacture last year of the TLR classics due to high cost of the cameras and little demand in the Digital era, they where manufactured from 1929 so not a bad run at all. Rollei never went down the Digital path like Hassleblad, Pentax to name a few, maybe that was a mistake or best left as the end of an era.

My camera above is the Zeiss Planer 3.5f MK3 model, I bought it a few years ago in near mint condition and never regretted the purchase.

The camera for its age is quite sophisticated, the camera has a special film loading system where it can tell where to start the first exposure and when the end of the roll is reached, the negative spacing is totally accurate, one half turn of the crank advance handle and your ready to shoot.
Everything you need to know is there to see when you look down to compose and focus on the waist level viewfinder, you set the shutter speed and aperture using the two small rings left and right of the lens pair, you can adjust these in accordance with the in built light meter by matching the needles, if you use a filter that has an exposure factor you turn a dial below the exposure meter, that in turn calibrates the needles to take the factor into account, the shutter release at the bottom right is near silent and has a lock that can keep the shutter open for long exposures, you set the ASA with a turn knob and that also links to the meter.

The viewfinder is very clever, being a twin lens camera the viewing lens see a slightly different view than the taking lens, at normal viewing distances this is not a problem however as you get closer to the subject parallax error becomes a problem, with the Rolleiflex its not, the way the viewing system is made compensates and you can see what will be included and what will be missing, the

Rolleiflex cannot focus close and attachments need to be screwed to the taking and viewing lens, these are called Rolleinars, they come in three different strengths depending how close you need to focus, there are of a very high optical quality, the clever bit is the Rolleinar that screws to the taking lens, it has built in prisms that corrects for close up Parallax error so what you see on screen is what you get. If you push the front of the viewfinder hood you can focus on a small mirror and compose and follow moving subjects quite easily, near impossible without this.

Many great photographers used the Rolleiflex, Vivian Mayer to mention one used this camera, the reasons I suppose was the lens, in a word superb, for that matter the Schneider Xenotar is just as good, the accurate depth of filed scale to zone focus, something I am sure people like Vivian Maier use for here street images, its light easy to used and a near silent shutter made it one of the best mechanical cameras ever built.

They still in demand high second hand prices, but they hold their value and a joy to use.

The image below was taken with my Rolleiflex, the image is part of a project of Night pictures I am doing.

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