A rolleiflex is still something iconic

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jp498, May 31, 2011.

  1. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I went to the grand-am rolex race yesterday at lime rock park in CT. It's a gathering of about 10000+ race fans of above average affluence. We can wander about anywhere except the track and pit line during the race. I carried a DSLR with a 300/2.8, a DSLR with a smaller kit lens, and a rolleiflex (an older automat mx). As the paddock area was open at all times, there was always interesting prep and repair activities going.

    I had at least 4 of the official orange vested photographers come up and give some credit for using film in a good film camera. I mentioned the film is better than ever and I like shooting some B&W. A couple other fans came up and talked about it too. While I was checking out a ferarri p4, someone came up and mentioned his mother had a camera like that and it's been a long time since he's seen it. I suggested he use it because it can do a good job. Since about every other person there had a DSLR (the other half had phone-cameras), people'd pay attention to what I shot since I was the odd guy out. I'd find an unusual view or position and make a photo and after moving on, a couple other people would be right there checking out the spot.

    I only had one person (probably a gearhead of some sort) who was working a booth ask about my 300mm lens. To walk around with a newish DSLR and an expensive telephoto or tele-zoom is not unusual. It's unusual, but kinda nice to blend right in aiming and shooting a big dslr with a 300/2.8 on it.

    I shot 5 rolls of 120 TMY2 and I can't wait to process them. (I also shot 400 frames on the DSLRs, for those interested in the comparison of shooting styles)
     
  2. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    I've noticed this too. Even shooting a manual 35mm SLR people notice you, and if you pull out an old folder or TLR you really get stared at...
     
  3. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Even my little 35mm rangefinder gets that type of attention at national parks and other popular venues. I love the industrial art that went into these cameras. They are and will always be iconic.
     
  4. kwall

    kwall Member

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    I had the same experience while in Shanghai recently. Several Chinese people commented on the Yashica TLR I was using but no one paid attention to the Nikon DSLR I also had with me.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The Hasselblad is also iconic.

    But you should have seen the reactions to my using a Speed Graphic at an airshow two weeks ago ...
     
  6. Pgeobc

    Pgeobc Member

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    During the 1950s, my Dad had a number of jobs. The most durable was his stint as a high school principal. Of course, in those days, teachers were not paid in the summer. That meant he needed a summer job. One summer he took on the job of a newspaper reporter/photographer and the company camera was a Rolleiflex. I wuzza kid and duly impressed; its probably the reason that I own two of them now. They seem to be something of an anachronism, but a pleasant and interesting one at that.
     
  7. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    It's amazing the credibility a weird camera will give even a schlep amateur. On the first time out stumbling around with my C33 on a hippie strap at an orchid greenhouse, never before having used a WL focus, fumbling and double-exposing, trying to figure out my light meter (read the manual? Heck no, I'm a programmer) a guy was waiting an interminable length of time for me to compose a shot said, "Oh, serious photography going on here." Boy, did I have him fooled.
     
  8. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Did they ask if it was a Hasselblad?
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Kids seem to really love the old cameras too, especially medium format. For most of them, it is perhaps the first time they have actually seen one.
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    No, but one asked if it used 35mm film! :laugh:
     
  11. zsas

    zsas Member

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    JP - Great story thanks for writing it up for us!

    2F - Totally agree! Was at the pool taking photos of my kids while they were swimming with my wife and got a comment of admiration of my 645 camera from a teenage folk who probably never has seen such neat equipment. Was expecting her to wonder why I was shooting film but instead she was quite happy to see someone using such a neat film camera.
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    At least no one asked if it used 120mm film! :D

    My first camera was a Rolleiflex (MX-EVS). My dad had gotten it as a birthday present from his sister, and as it happens, my year of birth. Bought in a PX in Spain. Dad had a 35mm adapter in it and took all the family slides/snapshots until we started to go backpacking and my dad "upgraded" with a lighter Instamatic 804...about 1970, give or take a few years. My sister took a photo class, but dropped the class, so the camera came to me in 1975, and the rest is history.

    That Rollei is no longer in working condition, but I always have a working one -- my 2.8F will be going with me on a solo backpack for a week starting tomorrow or Thursday...might also take along with a 6x9 folder. I guess it attracts attention, though I don't really notice all that much. If you want to attract attention, push a triple baby stroller with three 4-month-old boys in it...in front of the grandstands before the start of a college football game. I was just looking for a place to park the thing and as I passed the stands it was like an inverted "wave". From one end of the grandstands and following me the entire length of the stands was a wave of quiet and murmurs of "Oh, my", Oh, look.", "Awwwww", "Thank god that's not me". Now that is attention. So is an 8x10.

    Vaughn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2011
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Every time I bring out my Rolleiflex and or RB67 I get comments from people.

    Jeff
     
  14. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    A rolleiflex is just such a thing of beauty, the craftmanship is sublime, so using one just makes you feel good. Here, most people think that it is some kind of box camera, which I suppose it is!
    I kind of like that odd one out situation, maybe I'm kinda weird!
     
  15. coigach

    coigach Member

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    I've had a few reactions from folks when using my Pentax 67 kit.

    But nothing compared to the reaction of other photographers when I use my Fotoman 617 panoramic. I've had a good number of photographers approach me and have interesting conversations.

    A few seemed to think it impossible to take pictures without an internal meter, and some seem fascinated, asking to look through the viewfinder etc. Most of the photographers all had high-end digital kit, but seemed unaware about medium format or film in general.
     
  16. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I have a plain old vanilla Automat that I bought cheap a few years ago, that gets a lot of looks on the streets. It's funny, dealers and photographers look at it and say "What happened to it?" and fuss over its appearance, whereas everyone else sees it and smiles. It's always taken nice photos for me, and thanks to this thread I think I'll take it out for some exercise this weekend :smile:
     
  17. threemilesfinal

    threemilesfinal Member

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    So far in the bit of shooting I've done with my Lubitel 166, has got me some rather interesting looks from passers-by.

    No one has approached me yet though. I suspect when I get out to shoot in a bigger town that might change. lol
     
  18. jawarden

    jawarden Member

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    In public I get some attention when I use my new Zeiss Ikon. It goes like this:

    "Hey man, great camera. Is that a Leica?"

    "No, it's a Zeiss. Nice camera, I like it a lot."

    "Oh, thought it was a Leica."

    :smile:
     
  19. ColinRH

    ColinRH Subscriber

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    I recently worked in a camera shop for about 10 years until it was outdone by modern electronic image making equipment. During that time I was able to use almost any camera that came through our shop but never gave a Rollei a try. I think it was a lack of lens choice that prevented me. However, since then I had the opportunity to buy a Rolleiflex 3.5E at a good price and have fallen in love with it. Lens is stunning, not too heavy for carrying about and if I only had my darkroom back I'm cetain the images would be stunners. However, that being the case that I now don't have darkroom I am able to do salt prints which I normally use my 5x4 - 5x7 B&J. However in the last few weeks I've had a go at 6x6 salts and have found a new love which doesn't intrude on the domestic scene! (There are couple of prints in my small gallery.
    So - perhaps the Rollei IS iconic,, but its also a great performer.
     
  20. mablo

    mablo Member

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    I rarely got any comments from outsiders when I was shooting with a very nice black Leica M4 but when I'm out with my Rollie I always get some attention. Of all great classic cameras it must be the most iconic. The price reflects that too.
     
  21. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I was at Chaco canyon with my Mamiya c330 and a 250mm sticking off the end. Everyone, including the ranger, were interested in it. Actually, while composing a shot, it looked like I was giving one of those Ranger talks...pretty funny.

    One thing that is consistent with these beautiful, big cameras, is that people always smile. I've never seen someone frown. There's power in these boxes.
     
  22. cfclark

    cfclark Member

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    I've had a few people stare, but other than from fellow film shooters, not many comments. I think people are afraid of me when I'm toting the Pentax 6x7 around. I did have my P645 out in a group of people with DSLRs a couple of weeks ago (touring a light station at Big Sur), and it wasn't the look of the camera that attracted attention so much as the sound of the winder! People don't hear much of that sound anymore, but they remember it from a few years ago.
     
  23. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Richard Avedon's favorite camera was the Rollei. The camera has a mystique about it.
     
  24. Dr.Pain-MD

    Dr.Pain-MD Member

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    While not quite a Rolleiflex, my Yashica Mat gets a good amount of attention pretty much every time that I take it out shooting in a people-y place. It's very cool though because the comments are always very positive, people are always interested in it and find it cool to see that someone young is using such an old camera. I hope to go full out and get a Rolleiflex someday (when I'm not a jobless university student), but for now my Yashica Mat does very well. Minolta Autocords are very awesome as well, but they're harder to find.
     
  25. BobD

    BobD Member

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    Back in the mid-1980s I bought a Yashica 124G brand new. When I would pull it out
    to shoot people would smile and comment on my "antique camera." They didn't
    believe me when I told them it was brand new and a current model.