Let's have a discussion about something goog or bad about these machines. Why not?
Hey, welcome to the club!
Ok, here we go ;-)
I really like the SL66 because it (or she?) is so beautifully made and every technical aspect had been well thought through by the engineers.
The black leather and aluminium finish is just timeless. Operation is very intuitive, everything you need is there and at the right place.
The built in bellows allows you to get close to the subject and back to infinity within a few seconds without fiddling with extension tubes everytime.
Lenses are wonderful and far from beeing obsolete. They are made to last, because there are nearly no mechanics in them. No shutter, no focussing, no lube.
As long as the focal plane shutter works right your results will be consistent.
What I somewhat dislike is the film feeler mechanism in the mags. This often causes fault and I´m unsure whether it has worked right or not. I also own a T-Model which lacks this mechanism and results are always fine. I don´t find it too complicated to arrange some arrows with the red dots and wonder about the real advantages of the film feeler.
But as long as the magazines are working, this camera is an never ending joy for me.
Except for the fact that mine does not like Neopan Acros it is the perfect camera for me.
I like the SL with the grip on the side, works great.
And: I get 13 shots on a rol of film, all usable, funny actualy, it was never designed like that.
When I am back in Holland I want to mount an Imagon 200mm into an extension tube that I bought recently for it and start making some shots with it.
First results: some where in July the earliest.
I think that all cameras including tripods should be sturdy. I think the SL66 is one of the most robust cameras around. One drawback is the weight, compared to flimsier cameras, like Hasselblad. It's a real nice professional tool. I think the quality of the lenses are as good as or better than those renowned Hasselblad lenses. (I've bought my equipment second-hand, it was less than half the price of a Hasselblad, which is also something to consider using a system.)
The filmback is the only real problem. I have destroyed one by using infra-red film. This film has a thick back, which is clearly a problem for the camera. One solution is to point the camera down while changing the film. I 've found that the initial film transport is better that way.
I bought my SL66 used (from Hadley Chamberlain) about 12 years ago and have run 300-400 rolls of film through it since. My kit includes 50mm / 80mm / 1500mm lenses and prism. Here's my thoughts:
- incredibly well made
- very fine lenses (although the Mamiya 6 50mm & 75mm are at least as good)
- belows for close-ups
- lens tilt for greater depth of field (especially up close)
- square format
Not So Good:
- heavy (relative to other MF except RB67)
- focal plane shutter
- 1/30 sec max flash synch
- mirror slap
- exposure spacing (I've tried, but never owned a matched back/insert)
- square format
All in all, I usually go out with the Mamiya 6 or Rolei TLR unless working up close. That's what this camera is all about - working up close.
For me it is the perfect medium format camera for landscape and landscape details. I hardly ever use it without tilting the lens when working outside. It is such a nice feature. A few weeks ago I used it in a studio portrait session. I would say because of the long flash sync time it is not designed to do studio work (I think there is an 80mm lens with leaf shutter built in) but in the end it worked out really well.
My SL66 works perfectly with Fuji Acros. What's your problem exactly?
I hope I can feel free to add something about my experiences with my SL66SE.
The meter stoped working and I sent it to Paepke in Düsseldorf for repair. It came back fully repaired as well as serviced as required. This is about two years now adn today the meeter is way out, not trustable. I've off cause stopped trusting the meter as the fault was detected and are back to a hand held Lunasix meter, but I miss the Intergral possibilities. I can offcause alter the ISO to make it work, but I'm not sure of the stability. Have anybody experienced the same and what solution did you come up with? /Asle (new group member of today)
Maybe this should have been a new thread, but OK.
How eratic is your meter, what is it doing ? What battery(s) are you using ? Did you check their voltage ? Are the contacts clean ? If not clean with alcohol and a cotton swab.
Never use abrasives on the battery contacts.
The SE models were prone to this fault. The E model meters are often said to be more robust. If you can live without the spot metering than buying an E as a second body would be the best.
I alway kept the fingers off the electronic models for this reason. They are now at least 20 years old and I do not trust old electronics, though I know that many people still use this cameras without a problem, but it depends on your luck.
Danke Sehr Peter, thanks to both of you. The meter indication show underexposure. I've checked the battery house and contacts, which is clean and dry without any leakage traces. I've replace the battery with a new Alkaline 6V, the same I use for my Rollei GX. The SL show 8 stops incorrect reading.
Problem solved. My exposure meter works again.
Solution and explanation: A new Battery inserted. The SL66SE is produced for one 6V Mercury battery. A mercury battery ensures a voltage of 6V all the way up to it is dead, then cuts off its ability to function. Today an Alkaline battery is the only option (on normal bases). This battery looses voltage as time goes by, resulting in an incorrect meter reading with time. The "new" battery earlier inserted must have been stored for too long time in the shop. I now keep the battery separate until use and if in doubt, make a reading with a different trust worthy meter. I hope this information can return the liability of this masterpiece of handcraft. Kind regards Asle.
I purchased the Rolleiflex SL-66 ten years ago, in September 1999. It is my most versatile camera, and I have learned more about composition with this camera than any other.
My first camera was a Sears Roebuck 126 instamatic, which I got when I was six, in 1971. I got a 110 pocket camera in 1979, but instinctually I compose in a square, so for me, even though I'm a professional photographer, using the SL-66 is like shooting with a sophisticated snapshot camera, and I feel more so than any other camera, it is an extension of my eye.
The interchangeable film magazine backs. I own three, which are always loaded with slow b/w, fast b/w and a color film of some variety (either Velvia 50 or Vericolor III).
The Zeiss Planar lens. Sharp as a tack, and few moving parts.
Nice, heavy camera. This is important in wind, and when cradled in two hands, with myself as the tripod leaning against a wall or telephone pole or tree, I can go down to 1/8 second and get well-focused negatives in an emergency moment when I don't have a tripod.
Fast groundglass. I don't have to shroud the viewfinder so much.
Superb camera for copy stand: Makes excellent duplicate negatives from original prints, no loss in detail.
Repair: Harry Fleenor in Oceanside, California, is tops. Very professional and lasting repairs.
Sort of touchy: Not a rugged outdoorsy type of camera. A few rough bumps and it's off to the repair shop. Best to keep in padded camera bag until needed.
Difficult to find lenses, accessories, backup equipment.
Repair: Stay away from Marflex in New Jersey. Lousy repairs, my guess is they canibalize cameras for parts which are well-worn past their prime.
I owned SL66 for 4 years, i bought it on ebay and working well in these years : )
8 degrees shift
13 frame film
can use custom lense
TLR foucs system in this weight ...
hard to find accessories
I liked the positive list of yours, but 13 frames, i don't understand.
On the negative list I will argue the weight. What do you have in mind when operating a camera in this category? Who cares about weight when quality is in focus? Did Ansel Adams care, walking around with a large format camera (or someone else did it for him)?
Wel, haveing said that, I do.
That is the reason for being the owner of a Rolleiflex SL66SE.
Last, but not least. Flashsync. What is the problem?
Hi : )
i can take 13 picture with 120 film ... in Hong Kong ...
sorry : ) ... my english isn't really good ... : ) maybe said something wrong ..
i should not put too heavy ... i want to say ...
i have a problem on foucsing without using tropic ... usually ,because of the weight i need to move my left hand under the len to hold it after i got the focus ...
i could not hold it stable with the focus wheel ...
maybe it is my problem haha : )
i did not mean to that way ... like too heavy to carry out or somethings ..... ...... : ) sorry ...
glad to know everyone here love sl66 : )
Now I understand. You need one of those neck straps. With the camera secure resting, you have both hands available for focusing and to engange the release button. Alternatively a tripod.