Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ineffablething, Jul 14, 2006.
What a remarkable camera! Can't believe I had never heard of it before 6 months ago.....
Yes, the Rollei SL66 was and is a magnificent camera. During the height of its manufacturing years, Rollei ads stated it was the most expensive medium format SLR cameras ever sold. They have held their value over the years. They are many times priced 20-40% over the price of a similar equipped Hasselblad.
The price for lenses was in the stratosphere however. Prices were similar to the cost of a new car at the time, rather a few pounds of glass.
The SL66 was Brett Weston's camera of choice for more than two decades. One can see some of the images he created with the camera and Brett working with the SL66 in the DVD "Brett Weston: Photographer."
Here is link if you would like to check it out.
I had one about 10 000 years ago. I liked it in principle - but found it painfully clunky to use. I thought the tilt (which, IMO, is of questionable utility) really compromised the structural integrity of the thing. I still really like the idea of what it could have been though...! I use a 6003 though. So I haven't left the fray entirely.
Looks great for concentrating attention on the girl's face. The DoF here must be about 2 inches max.
Ineffable: Slow to catch on, not up on the latest news or trends, will take three more years to find out about digital photography. Still regards 8x10 as medium format, able to take wonderful photos of children when awake.
That is a beautiful image! I keep seeing these image posts from sl66's and it makes me wish I had considered it more instead of just gunning for the hassy.
Maybe i'm doing something wrong? I just don't get the 'wow' factor out of my hassy.
Perhaps it's because i'm not really shooting 'wow' subjects with 'wow' lighting. *sigh*
Congratulations though with your new found enthusiasm towards your gear!
For many years I have enjoyed making intimate, below the horizon landscapes. For about 10 years I hauled my wooden, folding 4x5 field camera around. Then, I saw Brett's work in a show in Houston. Most of the images were made with the Rollei and were truly amazing. A couple of years later, I took the plunge and bought one from Hadley Chamberlin - before eBay. An instant love affair still going strong. For anyone doing up-close landscapes, the bellows and tilt features are indispensable. After, perhaps, 2000 rolls of film, never a single jam or failure.
For me the primary difference between 4x5 and the Rollei is that I see differently with each. Much more likely to "bore in" and take a compositional risk with the Rollei. I primarily use PL100 in Rodinal for 4x5 and APX100 in Rodinal for the Rollei. For 8x10 prints, the two are indistinguishable when viewed at, say, 12 inches. The PL100 is a bit softer in gradation, but only in side-by-side comparisons of identical subjects in identical light.
I think my SL66 will probably outlast me. At least I hope so.
I've gotten into this system recently and own the CZ 80/2.8 Planar and 50/4 Distagon HFT lenses.
Its perfect for my nature work and I can get more macro shots off during the good light than using a view camera. The tilt is extremely useful - a typical landscape shot does not require much tilt. Often the tilt, even if its not necessary to pull the shot off, will still save me 2-3 f/stops which can be a godsend with a wind.
Here's an example - SL66, CZ 80/2.8 Planar, Velvia 50 - White Trillium
Sorry, I can see this is an old post.. but...
Mike, How do you use the tilt for landscape photo..
And other question about the sl66 + tilt.. how do you focus?.. because I have the standard focusing screen, and it's very dim and I can focus in the center, because of the lupe, but arround it, it's really difficult to me to get 100% (or 90%) sharp focus..
Old or new post; any conversations about the SL66 are to listened to carefully. I made a "life" trip to Monument Valley this Spring with my 4 50 year old children and the SL66 was the main shooter for that portion for the trip. (Other portions;main shooters/Upper Antelope Hasselblad SWCM/ Mesa Verde hasselblad SWC/ Big Bend Pentax 67/usw) It was the trip of a lifetime and the Rollei performed exactly as was expected. The results are on my web site
Under The "What's new" And the Monument Valley" section. Please feel quite free to have a look and make any comments you like. What is important , to me, at least, is that the Rollei SL66 and the Zeiss lenses are perfect. To me, I would be happy to live with that one camera for the rest of my time on this earth. KEH has an SE now..... tough not to just go get it! But one's enough, I think.
I junked the original focus screen and bought a Maxwell Hi-Lux which is wonderful.
The only trick to using the tilt is it doesn't work at infinity. You have to rack the focus out a bit but you'll find you don't need very much tilt. Then I focus to the midpoint of near and far, or thereabouts and use the depth of field preview to pick my aperture.
For many types of landscape shots I find I'm able to gain 2-3 stops vs just stopping down to get the necessary DoF. Which is great if there's a breeze and also puts the f/stop of the lens to around f/8 - its sweet spot.
I absolutely LOVE my SL66E...
But I am strange - I have three lenses (50-80-150mm) for it, but rarely use them....
In stead I love the fact, that I can fit really old "crappy" lenses on it, due to the bellows.
A small petzval stuck in a cardboard, and fixed on the camera with duct tape....
Or a small landscape meniscus type lens...
Not many Mf cameras can accept those lenses so easily..
attached three images:
First a landscape lens
Second a petzval..
How the landscape meniscus lens contraption looks....
pick a Rollei High*D-Screen from the later 6008 or Hy6 if you should ever have the chance. I also found my old screen to be a pain, but shot a like new D*Screen on Ebay some years ago. It does also fit the SL66 and is amazingly bright.
By the way, can someone lend me 18.000 bucks? :-D I started to doubt that this lens does exist at all, but here it is:
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