Rolleiflex TLR 2.8F and 3.5F

Rolleiflex TLR 2.8F and 3.5F: Learn about Rolleiflex cameras or Rollei models, lenses and a brief history why this became an iconic camera for photographers.

Rolleiflex TLR 2.8F and 3.5F

In the early days of 35mm cameras, Zeiss was looked upon as the quality leader in lenses as well as in camera design.

When I started in wedding photography in 1960 the camera to have was the Rolleiflex. While extremely expensive, the Rolleiflex F model boasted a five element coated Zeiss Planar lens of 80mm. the sharpest lens in the world at the time. Using Panatonic X 120 film, I could enlarge the negatives to six feet wide without loss of sharpness or showing grain. The F model used 220 color negative film with 24 shots per roll. The loading was so fast that I once exchanged a finished roll with a new one between the time it took for the Maid of Honor be photographed coming down the aisle and in time to photograph the bride and her father entering the aisle.

One day in 1969 I saw a wide angle Rolleiflex in a camera store for $350. I should have bought it because now it would be worth $2000.

Zeiss also made excellent folding cameras. They were designed for the well-to-do masses and took excellent pictures. The epitome of folding Zeiss cameras was the Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta IV produced in the late fifties and early sixties. For a pocket able camera (side coat pocket), it used 120 film (6cm x 6cm), featured a match needle selenium meter, a Synchro Compur shutter with speeds up to 1/500 sec. The coated Zeiss Tessar 4.5 lens was extremely sharp to the corners Costing the equivalent of $250, it now is worth about $600.

The first single lens camera to use a between-the-lens shutter, (the highest performing configuration), was the Zeiss Contaflex Super. This luxury camera used a coated Zeiss Tessar four element lens of 50mm length, a match needle sensitive selenium meter (needs no battery), and a Synchro Compur shutter which synchronized with flashbulbs as well as electronic flash. It was the first to use the program system of shutter speed and f stops, allowing the photographer to change the aperture or speed without changing the light exposure.. Accessory lenses of a wide angle (35mm) and a short tele (105mm) were available. As a collectible it is worth about $100 in good condition.

Rolleiflex TLR 2.8F and 3.5F

 

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