|Franke & Heidecke, Rolleiflex 3.5F, TLR roll film camera 1960-81|
The Rolleiflex cameras from Franke & Heidecke wre beautifully built instruments that very much defined the twin lens reflex and popularized the type from it's introduction in 1929. The first lever wind version arrived in 1932 with what is generally referred to as the "Old Standard" model. The New Standard came in 1939 and all subsequent Rolleiflexes were improvements upon this foundation, including linking the shutter cocking to the advance lever. Construction, like its forebears, was centred around a die cast shell and lens board, painted and finished with natural leather. In cameras of this type the top lens is used to compose and focus the image via an angled mirror and ground glass screen and the lower lens takes the picture. Whilst the image in the viewfinder is the correct way up - it is mirrored. However the viewfinder is bright and with the aid of a pop out magnifier, accurate focus can be achieved. Rolleiflex are a famous and highly regarded camera, with many - possibly the majority, earning their living with professional photographers. The design sought to keep the photographer concentrating of the image, this meant all settings should read correctly from the photographer's viewpoint with as little need to move the camera as possible, born out of this was the classic fashion photographer's posture, looking over the camera, to direct the model - occasionally glancing down to check focus and settings. It survived in fashion photography long after the SLR was perfected, in part because it preserved eye contact between model and photographer but also the lower viewpoint is often desireable.
I consider myself most fortunate to have been donated this marvelous example of the type. Donated by Mr. P. Stewart, April 2000. This particular one is very well used type 3 , made 1960 -61, it still functions perfectly, except for the meter which is unreliable. Rolleiflex's were much copied or imitated, competently in some cases, such as the Minolta Autochord, an approximation for the Seagull and a nod in the case of the Halina A1.
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