Rollei Sl66.... Is it better than a Hasselblad looking for user experience
Pretty much says it, and are accessories out there???
Pretty much says it, too.
the biggest difference is that the SL 66 has a focus plane shutter whereas every Hasselblad lens has its own Compur shutter (is better for flash). The SL 66 is better for close up work as it has a bellows focussing and a limited shift and tilt capability (Scheimpflug). The SL 66 has one problem: The front lens mounting plate with the bayonet mount is only fixed at one side and therefore it is sensitive against bounces and shocks. Out of focus pictures can be the result by misalignment and non parallelity.
There's a weight and size difference - Hasselblads seem tiny and weightless in comparison. Depending on which model you get and where you live, repairs may be a problem now. I have three SL 66 SEs, and it is now difficult to find someone who will repair them. It's easier to find repairers for the earlier models. Some of the later lenses - like the 40 mm FLE and the 60 mm, which are excellent - can be difficult or relatively expensive to find.
What SL66 accessories did you think you'd want?
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I´ve been a great fan of the SL66 since I got mine in 2006. Had it completely overhauled and equipped with the ultra-brigt Rollei High-D-Screen. I found the original screen somewhat dim and also found the grid focussing aid to be no great help. The High-D has a split image focus indicator that I like much better.
This camera is great for macro work and that is were it really shines. With the 80/2,8 lens, you can focus down to about 8". With the 50/4 you can even focus down to about 2"! The scale on the "focusing arm" helps to compensate exposure for close ups, a meter like in the later E/SE models is of course better, but the scale works quite well if you do not forget to compensate exposure yourself. What is also a bit annoying is that the depth-of-field-scale is on the focusing knob and you have to "dial in" the focal length every time you change the lens.
The SL66 is quite heavy and bulky for a 6x6 camera. Some parts are also a bit delicate (the focusing knob especially), and have to be protected against knocks. Apart from that, the camera is very massive and really well made, mostly of steel and aluminum, only a few parts are (very durable) plastic.
Lenses are of the same quality as the older Hasselblad C-lenses. They are in fact the same designs, only without a built-in shutter (apart from two exceptions: the 80/4ZV and 150/ZV). The lenses without shutter are of course lighter than their Hasselblad-counterparts, which compensates for the weight of the camera.
I have the 50/4, 80/2,8, 120/5,6, 150/4ZV and 250/5,6. The great advantage of these lenses is that there is hardly ever an issue with them, since there are no mechanical parts to fail, apart from the aperture mechanism, which seems pretty robust either. They can also be had pretty cheap. SL66 lenses had a so called double-layer coating until about 1973, after that they had the HFT-multicoating applied. My 50/4 has the older coating but it produces nicely saturated slides nonetheless. If money is an issue, I would not hesitate to buy the older lenses.
Picture quality is generally good but nothing really special. The only lens that shines out is the 120/5,6. This lens is incredibly sharp when used for it´s intended purpose: close ups. The resolution is very even across the whole frame and it is free from distortion.
The 50/4 is also very sharp if stopped down to about f8...f11. The 80/2,8 is sharp too but needs to be stopped down to f8 to develop its full potential, at full aperture it is visibly softer. The 120mm is a stunner as already said. I do not like the 150/4ZV very much (It´s heavier than the others because of the central shutter, I prefer the 120mm) so I cannot comment on this, but it is the same as the Hasselblad lens. The 250mm has very nice bokeh but I found it a bit soft also (but this could also be my copy, since it has some dust inside).
Apart from these lenses there were also an older, bigger 40/4 and a newer 40mm, which is smaller and has floating elements. The latter is seldom seen for sale, both are rather expensive compared to the other focal lenghts. Then there was a 60/3,5, but this one is v e r y rare.
There was a Distagon 80/4ZV with built-in leaf shutter too, but the Planar is said to be better and is f2,8. Rollei also offered a special 75mm lens that offered shift in combination with the cameras´ tilt feature. 500mm and 1000mm Tele-Tessars were also available, the latter was and is very expensive. Apart from the 40mm, 50mm, 80mm, 120mm, 150mm, 250mm and 500mm lenses, all others are extremely rare.
So optically, the SL66 is not better than Hasselblad. Furthermore, there are newer designs available for Hasselblad that never made it into the Rollei lineup, like 50/4 FLE, 100/3,5, 180/4 or the 110/2 (though there was a 120/2, but this one is extraordinarily rare. I´ve seen one once selling for about 18k USD on Ebay)
The great drawback of the camera is flash work. For that purpose, I would clearly prefer a Hasselblad.
If you intend to do a lot of macro work and you prefer to be mobile at the same time, without carrying a bellows unit all the time, then I would recommend the SL.
There are quite some accessoires like prism finders, chimney finders, polaroid backs ect.
Hoped this held for a start. Please feel free to ask if you want more precise information ;-)
Last edited by Slixtiesix; 06-11-2012 at 02:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.