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Rolleiflex Old Standard, results image gallery
Hartley Mauditte

Here are 7 exposures from one film, although all of the 12 are printable.

The very first post restoration frame from The Rolleiflex Old Standard. Just confirming that the focus is set up and the shutter working as it ought to. The lens is suffering from the many scratches over it. shown up as the lightening where lighter regions abut dark, to be expected. The general clarity is acceptable for what it is though, a rescued battered wreck.

This image is the of the bell tower of the only surviving building of the long abandoned village of Hartley Mauditt, Hampshire. UK.

Feeding the swans at Riverside Park, Bitterne, Southampton. UK. 20th December, 2020.

To appreciate the Rolleiflex you need to transport yourself back in time. Imagine you are a photographer, you've been in business since 1926. You own several folding plate cameras, a couple larger Single lens reflex cameras and you've experimented with roll film 6x9cm cameras. Your life is one of laboriously composing an image on a screen, having your assistant hand you single plate carriers or at best double sided carriers, withdrawing dark slides and making single exposures. Changes to exposure require walking around the front of a tripod mounted camera to read off the various scales and controls you need to manipulate. Alternatively you heave a cumbersome and slow box, slung around your neck, pre set the exposure control, focus by peering down a dim leather tunnel and hope for the best. You've developed a keen eye for making the exposure at the right moment, but many images pass you by. Later you load each plate into one of several tanks, then inspect the processed images for the inevitable dust specks, sucked into the bellows as you open and close the camera. Your assistant spends many a happy hour touching in negatives.

In 1932 you try a Rolleiflex. Suddenly you can set the speed, aperture and focus at a glance, you can prefocus critically with a swing out loupe, then concentrate on composition on a bright screen, or even keep your head up and watch the scene, make an exposure, a brief crank and you know the next piece of fresh film is accurately waiting its turn, cock the shutter. Four shots off in less than half a minute, direct your model, put your arm down, lose the bag (although such language would never have been used), the sun goes behind a cloud, open two stops. Then it's out again, close up again, barely a consideration. Later you process three films for thirty six exposures, each free from dust, you choose six for your client. It's a revelation, you're hooked.

So the first outing was to put myself in that place. This Old Standard Rolleiflex may be well past its 'sell by date', but imagining myself trying to take this series with Graflex, a Thornton Pickard or even an Icarette makes me understand what an impact the Rolleiflex lever wind models would have made.

Two frames remained after feeding the swans, impatiently I finished them off so I could drop the film into the tank straight away.
The clouds were moving quickly in the breeze, one moment the sun was out, the next soft and watery. Having used dozens of cameras, just one film through this battered Rolleiflex gave me a vivid insight as to the confidence it would have brought in the day.

 

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