Old Rolleiflex Standard

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Christopher Nisperos, May 25, 2006.

  1. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    My "Bargain" Rolleiflex is turning into a Frankenstein project! HELP!

    I just bought an old Rolleiflex Standard for peanuts, but it seems that I'm the one whose been made a monkey of. The camera doesn't seem to take 120 size film, which dissapoints me because it's in good-enough shape to be a user. Now I'm considering making it into a "project".....

    From its serial number (367427), its Tessar 75mm, f3.5 lens in a Rapid Compur (1/500th sec.) shutter, my web research indicates that this model is probably the Rolleiflex Standard "622" from the early 1930's.

    My questions are:

    1. What film size does this camera take? (I suspect 620, but I'm not sure).

    2. Do you think it's worth trying to adapt this camera to 120? (this would mean hacksawing-down the little stud which holds the film spool)

    3. Do you know anyone who has made this adaptation?

    4. Who in Europe would be able to do such an adaptation for me?

    5. What do I risk screwing up if I do this myself?

    Any help would be appreciated (including the e'dress of websites of crazy camera do-it-yourselfers who hack-up their Rolleiflex's on the weekend!)

    Thanks,

    Christopher

    .
     
  2. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    The Old Standard does take 120 film. Yours is lever wind, correct? The older knob wind Rolleiflex Original does not take 120 film. It was designed for 117 film though 620 spools fit.
     
  3. DougGrosjean

    DougGrosjean Member

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    If it is 620 size film, easiest would be to buy some 620 film spools off Ebay and re-roll your film (120 is the same as 620, jut different spools) as needed. Sounds like a PITA, but after you've done one or two it's no big deal - esp. if you have any darkroom experience at all. I do that on an old Kodak Medalist I have, and for the minor time it takes I can't see spending hundreds of US dollars to convert to 120.

    If it were mine, I don't think I'd want to cobble it up.
     
  4. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    Aren't there some online shops selling film for classic cameras (I think one of them might be a sponsor here) ? Why don't you buy the right film for this cam ?
     
  5. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    Hi Mike. Kind thanks for the information.

    Yes, the camera is lever-wind. However, I just now tried again to jam a 120 spool in, and it absolutely will not fit. Perhaps I mis-named the model. Based upon my serial numbers, lens and shutter, would you happen to know if it is, indeed, an Old Standard?
     
  6. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    I think we're missing the point here - I own/have owned all three subtypes of Rolleiflex Old Standard and they all take standard 120 film.

    620 was invented by Kodak to crate its own 620 based monopoly. Rollei never bought into this marketing scheme.
     
  7. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    George, thank you for the advice, but "off sizes" of film are usually --what?-- twice the price as standard sizes. Plus, I have already have a supply of 120.

    If I find that the camera takes 620, I might take your sugeestion and shoot several rolls through before I wreck the poor thing with my attempt to modify it.

    Thanks again.
     
  8. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    George, thank you for the advice, but "off sizes" of film are usually --what?-- twice the price as standard sizes. Plus, I have already have a supply of 120.

    If I find that the camera takes 620, I might take your suggestion and shoot several rolls through before I wreck the poor thing with my attempt to modify it.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    (First of all --sorry, everybody, for the previous double posts .. I tried deleting the second one to no avail).

    Mike,

    That's great news. So if my Rolleiflex will take 120 size film, what do you think I'm doing wrong? Could it be the spool size (I'm using some old Agfapan to test with)? NOTE: I've already tried filing a grove into the top of the spool, but this hasn't helped. SECOND NOTE: The same 120 spool does fit into the take-up trough.

    I know you have a lot of Rollei experience and I don't want to risk vexxing you, but are you "sure, sure, sure" that it couldn't be 620? (for example, in case I've mis-identified the model I have)

    By the way, I wouldn't even bother the whole forum over this if I could just find a 620 spool to test in the camera!
     
  10. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Does the possobility exist that this may be a very rare varient and highly collectible that should not be modified?
     
  11. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Can you post some clear photos of your camera, and the film chamber? I have a 621 Old Standard variant at home waiting in line to be restored I can compare them against.

    If its a knob wind Rolleiflex rather than crank, then it is indeed meant for 117 film. (but 620 fits) But these didn't come with f/3.5 or 1/500.
     
  12. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I was curious about the 117 format, and the Wikipedia entry on film formats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_formats) does not identify the difference between it and 120.

    The answer came from the following page: http://www.photographyhistory.com/cc2.html

    "Now you're probably wondering why Eastman Kodak had introduced three different cameras in such a short time using three different rollfilms, but all producing the exact same 2 1/4 inch wide results. It's true, #105, #117, and #120 were all actually the same 2 1/4 inch wide film stock rolled onto virtually identical spools, but Eastman Kodak put different exposure number patterns on the paper backing of these films to match the locations of the "ruby window" on the different camera models. Incredibly, despite the overwhelming success of #120 in particular, it wasn't until the 1940's that Eastman Kodak finally came to their senses, eliminated #105 and #117 as superfluous products, and then put all the various exposure number sequences for all the various format possibilities on the paper backing of #120 rollfilm alone. In this way, #120 replaced the earlier films and would provide many formats by itself. Nevertheless, it's ironic to note that the vehicle for medium format on rollfilm today, our "professional" format, had its humble beginnings with the Brownie, the simplest snapshot camera of nearly a century ago!"
     
  13. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    117 uses a smaller diameter spool than 120. The length of the film is shorter - 8 6x6 shots if I recall - I might be wrong as I think its been discontinued since long before I was born! The red window on the original is in the right place for 6x6 numbers on 120/620 backing paper.

    Before the Rolleiflex brought 6x6 into a position of dominance, 120 film only had 6x9 markings. If you look at the red window positions of all the early Rollei 6x6 cameras using frame counters, you'll see its in line with the 6x9 numbers. Same deal on my 6x6 Super Ikonta 532/16. You set frame #1 with the 6x9 #1 in the red window, engage the frame counter, and forget about it.
     
  14. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    I am sure what I am about to say is ridiculous, but is it possible the roll you are trying to load could be 620 rather than 120?


    Charlie.................
     
  15. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    Hi Mike,

    To be sure, it is a crank wind with an f/3.5 Tessar and a 1/500th Compur.

    About the photos you asked for.. well, sorry to say that I'm a digital dinosaur and I don't yet have a scanner (though a friend gave me a digital SLR because he felt "a photographer should have one of these today .. or you can't call yourself a photographer" I have it but don't use it . . . but at least I can call myself a photographer!).

    Best I can do, for the moment, is to find the same camera pictured elsewhere. I hope these links will help.

    My camera is identical to the one you'll find here: http://www.siufai.dds.nl/RolleiStandard.htm

    For an internal view, here a shot from the original instruction manual: http://www.urmonas.net/manuals/rollei-stand/rollei-stand-4.jpg

    Differences with my camera are, 1) the roller you see behind the supply roll doesn't exist on my camera, and 2) there is no hole in my pressure plate (it's one, solid piece) If you scroll down the page from this link, you'll read that the film size is "B.II" (B2) I believe this is 120, but I don't remember and I couldn't find it on the web.

    Hope this helps you help me !

    .
     
  16. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    Charlie,

    Thanks for the idea but I'm sure that I'm testing with a 120 spool. I don't even have a 620 in the house.

    In fact, a 620 spool is actually shorter(less tall) than a 120, thus would probably fit. This is what's causing all the mystery and head-scratching; according to Mike Kovacs, who is a Rollei expert, this camera is supposed to take 120, but I swear I couldn't fit a 120 spool in the supply trough even if with a hammer!

    .
     
  17. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    "Expert" might be a stretch! Check your email - I sent you some photos of my model 621 Old Standard.

    If by "stud" you mean the stud on the take-up side opposite the knurled knob, you have to pull that knob outward to fit the take-up spool.
     
  18. DBP

    DBP Member

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    B2 is definitely 120. I think the B2 nomenclature belongs to ANSCO/AGFA, as my Speedex says "Use B2 film" or something similar, and is definitely a 120 camera.
     
  19. sjperry

    sjperry Member

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    Sorry to hear about your problem with the old Rolleiflex. I have and use a number of the old ones, including the original model and Old Standards. I also refurbish and sell some of them as part of my small business. The original models were designed for 117 film, which I believe were six shot rolls. But these were generally updated to take 620 film. From the begining of the Old Standard in 1932, about S/N 200,000, they used 120 film. 620 film is the same width as 120. The spool diameter is slightly smaller. 620 is readily available today and I have some for my early original model. Your camera should take 120. If you would like a roll of 620 I can send you one to try. It will be the same except the spool is a smaller diameter.

    Steve Perry