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  1. #1

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    General Rolleiflex T Query

    Hi All,
    Although I've been interested in photography since the age of ten (thirty five years ago!) my interest has been about 98% 35mm, the other 2% being a recent fascination for experimenting with 110 (pause for cries of derision!)
    However, out of the blue a week ago I was invited to help myself to anything I wanted out of a load of "junk" that was otherwise heading for the rubbish skip. The "junk" included a cased and boxed Rolleiflex T in grey leatherette and a whole host of other Rolleiflex accessories - lenses, plate holders, masks, etc. - that I haven't even gone through properly yet. Needless to say, I scooped up everything with "Rollei" on it and made good my escape!
    The camera is in remarkably good condition, with virtually no marks except for a scratch on the black surround of the viewing lens where someone appears to have tried to remove it. The shutter sounds fine at all speeds and none of the times are obviously out, so I will be having a bit of fun putting a film through very soon - my first 120 since shooting a roll in a King Penguin camera in about 1970!
    I'm guessing from some of the other equipment with it that the camera dates from around the time of decimalisation, as there was also a new (still in its original packaging) Weston Master V meter priced at £14.53, my logic being that these days everything has 99p on the end and the odd 53p is probably the result of converting a previous pounds, shillings and pence amount.
    I know very little about MF cameras in general or the Rolleiflex T in particular apart from a little that I've gleaned from a web-trawl, so would be grateful for any useful information or web references. Anything that might help me date the camera more accurately would be particularly welcome, as would any do's and don'ts or pitfalls to look out for. One thing that has slightly foxed me are the constant references in Rollei postings on this and other sites to "Bay 1", "Bay 2", "Bay 3", etc.. What are they on about? Unfortunately, I don't have any enlarging facilities for 2 1/4" negs, so will have to be content for now with contact prints, but who knows, if I feel sufficiently inspired, a new (or at least "different") enlarger might be on the cards!
    Appreciate any feedback,
    Best wishes,
    Steve

  2. #2
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    Hi Steve. Congratulations on your magnificent treasure aquisition...

    The Rolleiflex T was the "cheap" model that Rollei made for some years. It had limited capabilities compared to the "top series" (the C's, D's, E's and F's) but could also be very easy to use, functional and fun. They used the Tessar lenses, which are very sharp and perfect for B&W work.

    If you send me the camera's serial number, I might be able to find the year it was made, since the "Rollei Report" gives some tables with years/SN.

    The Bay1-2-3 means which diameter the filter should be to fit the lens of the particular model. There should be a number printed on your lens (the one that is situated at the lower part of the lensboard) that designates the type of filter that fits. You should take care that every filter that you buy is of the same size.

    If you have never used a Rolleiflex, or other MF camera then it would be wiser to ask from someone that has to show you the basics (film loading, advance etc). If you can't find a person who knows, try to find if there is a downloadable old Rollei manual on the net... or buy a (cheap) one from Ebay. It's not like higher math, but you'll need some time to get used to some things that differ from a 35mm SLR.

    If you start using it and start printing your negs yourself, I can guarantee that you'll never want to stop. You may want to sell your 35mm a while later, though...

  3. #3

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    Hi George,
    Thanks for the info and offer of help. I'll check the camera's serial number and if you can come up with a date from the "Rollei report" that would be great. This evening I'll also go through the rest of the accessories and see what's there. All the bits seem to come in neat brown leather cases which are, in turn, boxed.
    I have a lot of fun "playing" with cameras that are old or interest me in some way, whatever the format, hence my comment about 110. I made up a jig so that I can cut down 35mm film to 16mm and then re-load it into 110 cartridges for my Pentax 110. Doing that with FP4 has been successful so the next step is to try slide film. With that sort of thing (some might call it "re-inventing the wheel"!) and other stuff, I think the enjoyment is in the doing of it as much as the results.
    Best wishes,
    Steve

  4. #4
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    I sold my Rollei T a few months ago, but as I recall it does everything the more expensive models do apart from the fact that it has a Tessar lens instead of a Xenotar or Planar. Loading is very easy, there is a latch in the base which you turn about 30° to one side, the camera then opens and you should hear the exposure counter pop back to 0. Spool knobs on the side of the camera pull out and twist to lock, unexposed film goes in the bottom, empty spool in the top, you wind the film until the big arrow across the film lines up with the start marks next to the film gate and then close the back and wind until the film stops. Rolleis are very tough, the shutter needs a service after quite a few years' service, if you have the shutter serviced it's worth having the film wind mechanism done at the same time, if dried-out lubricant is present it may not work properly.
    As George says "Bay" means "Bayonet", there are 4 Rollei sizes, you need bayonet I. You have apparently got lots of accessories, among the most interesting Rollei accessories are the matched pairs of close-up lenses. They come in strengths 1 to 3, as I recall, one lens of the pair is very fat and goes on the viewing lens, it is fat because it has a prism in it which shifts the viewing image and thus eliminates parallax error (viewing and taking lenses "seeing" different things). My next favorite accessory was the prism finder, it is a weird sculpted shape to save weight. I never found a use for the sheet film/plate backs or the Rolleikin 35mm adapter kit, I presume somebody liked them! All in all, a very rewarding camera to explore!

  5. #5
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    There are quite a few Rolleiflex resources on the web. This one should help you date it if it's a T: http://www.rolleiclub.com/rollei/tlr/031.htm

  6. #6
    gnashings's Avatar
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    Slightly off topic - what enlarger do you have? Are you sure there is no way to outfit it for med format? I know most are pretty flexible - but then some (like my old Meopta) are not. Worth looking into. And by the way - I am so jelous!!!

  7. #7

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    Thanks David and Ian for your contributions. Following George's message, the camera's serial no. is T2122805 and it has the letters DBP to the left of the lens and DBGM to the right. The leather case alone is quite a feat of engineering.

    I've been through the accessories and have the three pairs of close-up lenses. The fat lenses for the viewfinder are indeed prismatic, which is apparent if you look through them whilst rotating them. There is a red dot that must be at the top for correct operation. I can only imagine the strange compositions that could result from fixing the finder lens 120 degs out! They are, as you say, Bay 1 and fit the camera. For some reason, I also have pairs of c/u lenses of strengths 2 & 3 in Bay 2 but I can't imagine why these would have been with the kit.

    I have the Plate Adaptor Kit with the back. It's all beautifully thought out and constructed, but like you David, I can't immediately think of a use for it. I have the Maskensatz 16 "Rolleimagic" adaptor for sixteen exposures, but can only wonder at how the film winding mechanism manages to cope with transporting the film a shorter distance whilst still cocking the shutter.

    Straying from MF for a moment, the box of goodies also included a lot of Corfield Periflex kit - body, lens, extension tubes - all very nicely engineered, but quaint and cranky compared to much other camera equipment of the time.

    Best wishes,
    Steve

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
    Slightly off topic - what enlarger do you have? Are you sure there is no way to outfit it for med format? I know most are pretty flexible - but then some (like my old Meopta) are not. Worth looking into. And by the way - I am so jelous!!!
    I have a Durst (can't think of the model number, but it's one of the smaller ones) and a Meopta kicking around in the loft. I had wondered about the Meopta, perhaps with a mod or two, but note your comment above. There's always ePay...... sorry for the typo!!!

    Steve

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Leake
    There are quite a few Rolleiflex resources on the web. This one should help you date it if it's a T: http://www.rolleiclub.com/rollei/tlr/031.htm
    Ian,
    The website suggests that my camera was in the 1958 - 61 batch. If I read it correctly, it's also saying that the 16 exposure adaptor kit only fits cameras made later than mine, so I wonder why the kit was with it? Hmmmm!

    Steve

  10. #10
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    I have few Rollei and a grey T among them. It's a really great camera.

    You should have a Tessar 3,5 on it. This is a bay 3.

    The Tessar is a little bit softer than the Planar 3,5 or Xenar (F model). The 2,8 Planar is sometime found too sharp for some people.

    That lens is a beauty for black and white. The main difference with the 3,5F on the body is the speed and aperture. You only have one button for both. That system is very practical and fast. When you are set on one speed and aperture they are coupled.

    All the best,
    Guillaume

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