Using Rolleiflex, an oddity?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by rolleiman, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    In the days before digital took hold, I'd be out in the street photographing with my Rollei, and no-one gave me a second glance. But what a difference a decade makes!....Now when I set forth with my Rolleiflex, I not only get odd glances all the time, but complete strangers come up to me curious about the "strange box camera" I'm using.
    Sometimes I get stopped by former film photographers, regretting selling their old gear, but one person left me a bit speechless when he asked "why has it got two lenses"?.......er...."One for film, one for digital" I replied.......my inquisitor went away seemingly very impressed.

    Do others get this level of attention when using film cameras?.....
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    No, not really.

    ... although once a guy who knew I shot with old gear gave me a nice Nikon FE.
     
  3. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    TLRs often gain attention. I have been approached using my YashicaMat and the Mamiya C. The Mamiya is quite impressive on a Tripod with a long lens and plenty of bellows extension. I find people are often fascinated by the left-to-right image reversal and the focus plane in the finder. So am I, I suppose!

    Graham
     
  4. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Face it, Rolleiman, you're a dinosaur. What would you do if you saw Fred and Barney footpadding their car down the street?

    People, especially other film photographers, get real curious about my Zeiss folding camera with the bellows. They think it's cute. But like grahamp, I find that they do get pretty confused by the Mamiya C.

    Yabba-dabba-doooooooooo!
     
  5. ektachrome

    ektachrome Member

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    I always get strange looks when using old Brownies and Instamatics.
    Yesterday, someone asked me "how many megapixels is that new camera there?"
    I turned it around. and they walked away looking at me in a funny way
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have a Rollei myself. Maybe I'm a oddball, but I rather be an oddball than have a digital camera.

    Jeff
     
  7. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I am a Rolleiflex nut myself having a Tele-, a -wide and about 2-3 each of the normal 2.8 and 3.5 versions, plus a couple of SL66 too. Most common comments I get are "very cool camera!" and "wow, that's an old one, gorgeous!"
     
  8. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Not a medium format camera, but my Voigtlander Vitessa L gets a lot of attention. I was using it at the Atlanta Zoo and two women in their 30s asked about it. They were shooting P&S digital. At the restaurant we went to that same day I shot a casual portrait of my wife, and the folks at the next table pronounced it "awesome," as did the waitress. All people of exquisite taste and discernment, of course!

    Now for other comments. Using my Pentax 645n on a tripod with cable release someone asked how many megapixels it had and was it a Nikon. I told them it was a Pentax, and depending on the film and scan I did it was perhaps 30 megapixels. He muttered something that sounded like "Smarta**" and wandered away. Some people are beyond redemption, I guess.
     
  9. danfogel

    danfogel Member

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    I have used my Yashica Mat at classic car shows and it always draws interest even when their are vintage Porsches and BMW's nearby.
     
  10. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I got asked if my TLR was a 3-D camera once and why I was holding it sideways (most 3-D camera lens' are side by side, not one-on-top). I also get a lot of "my dad/grandmother/sister-in-art school used to use one of those".
     
  11. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    You want reactions to your camera, try trotting out an ultra-large format camera. I've shot on the street before with my 14x17. THAT really gets attention. Mostly of the positive variety, rarely the negative, and there's always someone asking about how much it is worth that sets my heebie-jeebies going.
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I get a lot of attention, almost all of it positive, when shooting with my Yashicamat. People do ask about two lenses. The oddest was "what's up with that camera?" "Um, what do you mean?" "Why does it have two lenses?" "One's a viewing lens, one a taking lens. The top one sends the image to the ground glass you look down at to compose the image, the bottom one sends the image to the film." Truth is always better than a flippant lie, IMHO. "Oh ok" was the only response.

    One friend asked, "it doesn't have batteries or any electronics for this?" commenting on the bright ground glass image. "Nope. Has a battery for the meter but I rely on a separate handheld meter most of the time." That lead to a discussion of what a light meter was and how modern cameras usually have them built in etc.
     
  13. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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  15. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Most times with a larger camera I carry it with a hand over the top of it to disguise its size or shift it to the side of my body, and for TLR's only open up the viewfinder hood when I am about to shoot.

    Though on two occasions this past week I have heard people exclaim about the cameras I was carrying. First a fruit stand owner and his older friend/father requested their pictures to be taken with my Seagull TLR, and yesterday while walking around with the big ol texas leica (fuji 690ii) two men walked by, and one grabbed the other's arm and pointed to my camera saying "look at the size of that!"
     
  16. Jim Christie

    Jim Christie Member

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    When street shooting, I've noticed three degrees of attention that seem to be related to the camera: when I'm using a TLR, I get comments, when using a 35mm SLR I get more looks/stares, and with a rangefinder no seems to notice or care.
     
  17. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    They're either staring at my crotch or my camera. I hope for my sake it's the latter. Rarely get interacted with though, thankfully.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would be flattered if anyone would think that looking at my crotch was interesting, however I get many people interested in looking at my Mamiya C 330F cameras while out shooting.
     
  19. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Those great Rolleis will be here long after their digital counterparts (and us) are sent to the hopper.
     
  20. Argenticien

    Argenticien Member

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    I suspect the flurry of motion is part of what draws attention. I find a lot of modern digi-SLR users don't bother with lens caps, so just raise the camera to their eye, shoot (auto-everything, of course), and lower it again. By contrast, with, say my Bronica S2, I have to open the hood, unscrew (not pinch to remove) a massive metal lens-cap (which goes 'Klank' if I fumble it), wind on (or un-set the shutter release lock if already wound), set the aperture, turn the S2's side briefly toward me to set a shutter speed, brace myself against a tree, compose and focus, shoot (finally), fold the hood, and replace the lens cap. (And that's the best case -- camera already out of the bag; Sunny 16 instead of getting a meter out; no tripod mounting; no attaching filters; no checking DOF.) Forget changing films; any time bits completely come off the camera, like the S2's film back inserts or the entire trousers on many old German rangefinders, it is surprising even to people who remember film but used only mainstream SLRs with swing doors. "Is that thing so old it's falling apart?"
    --Dave
     
  21. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Trousers :smile: lol what a perfect description hahah. I shall use it next time when I slip off the half cases.
     
  22. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    You guys must have friendly faces because nobody asks me about my Rolleicord or any other film camera. Once somebody asked what film I was using in my Leica M9 though.

    Steve
     
  23. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    It can't possibly take a good picture...

    I suppose people are convinced that only a digital camera can take a good picture, and why would you want to use anything but. Few people say to me, you have a good eye and take a good photo, rather they say that 'you have an expensive camera that takes good pictures'. I would say to those that ask about the camera, well, it is obsolete by todays cameras but it is 50 years old, and that is about 3 years in digital years. In other words, that little digital will not be taking pictures in three years, but as long as there is film, those cameras will be getting it done.
     
  24. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    Oh yeah, I too get the guy who says he used to have one, and now regrets selling it. Rollei TLRs are like Unicorns around here. I don't mind, I'd rather have people watching and maybe get interested enough to buy one, than ever let anything d*g*t*l through my hands.
     
  25. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    My Rolleiflex does get the occasional comment or question, but my 1895 Rochester Optical Company whole-plate camera really gets 'em going. The usual question is, "you can still get film for that?" for either camera.

    Peter Gomena
     
  26. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    NICE! I'll bet!

    Sometimes I'm in a snarky mood and when people ask me if I can still get film for my Rolleiflex I'll say: "No, haven't been able to for years. But I just like using this camera too much to stop."