of the advantages of Rollei in medium format professional, Rolleiflex,
a traditional name in the history of photography.
the excavators of the University of Pennsylvania's archaeology project
at Tikal, Guatemala, were provided the venerable twin-lens Rolleiflex
available. This was back in 1965, when I was a student at Harvard
taking a year off from college. This was sort of a ritual in these
years of the Hippy movement which ravaged higher education.
it came time for me to buy my first professional camera for archaeological
recording, I was already under the influence of the Hasselblad
myth, initiated by the infamous movie Blowup, and nurtured by the
use of Hasselblad as the preferred camera of American astronauts
on the moon. I now have three Hasselblad cameras and have enjoyed
several decades with them.
stand featuring different cameras.
when I look at the Rollei
catalogs and see what Rollei has to offer, I realize that without
the publicity of the topless scene in Blowup, and without the allure
of having a camera that proved itself in Outer Space, that the success
story could equally well have been Rollei. I would add that the
first Bronica I saw, also at the archaeological project of Tikal,
was a clunker. Bronica is one camera that has not really outgrown
its earlier (poor) reputation. But back to Rollei.
uses the virtually identical Zeiss lenses, as does Hasseblad. But
better, Rollei has the Schneider
family of lenses available. The 90 mm Schneider Apo-Symmar is a
lens with apochromatic correction. Other lenses do not focus
in the same plane in each of the three colors (Red, Blue, Green).
This fact is painfully evident in digital photography since your
computer can focus your lens on each color independently. This allows
you to see how far the colors are off (based on tests reported by
Michael Collette, Better
the subject of how you need to upgrade your lenses as you enter
the digital era, be sure to get the 150 mm Apo-Symmar PQ f/4.6 Makro.
This would probably be a good lens to try out for the Seitz
Super Roundshot. The Seitz system (not to be confused with Leitz)
uses either Hasselblad mounts or Rollei mounts.
you like to do nature photography, the 140-280 mm Schneider Variogon
PQ f/5.6 HFT is ideal. This sure surpasses the quality and ease
of use of any lens I have (and I have tons).
further advantage of the Rollei systems is that they went digital
years ago, in house. Hasselblad has still not faced up to the depth
of the digital revolution. I get the impression that Color Crisp
was the OEM manufacturer of the Rollei digital back, which means
they have an outstanding quality.
Rollei would just break out of the claustrophobic square format,
and move to the 6x9 or at least the 6x7 format, this would allow
them to escape from the shadow of their Swedish nemeses, Hasselblad.
Such a move on the part of Rollei would also help salvage what is
left of their market from encroachment by Linhof, which has just
released their answer to Hasselblad's flexibody concept. The new
Linhof flexible camera accepts Hasselblad magazines (notice that
Hasselblad is clearly the international standard).
feel that Rollei makes a solid product that deserves to stay in
the ranks of the great medium format cameras of professional quality.
A few clever innovations and they can not only survive, they can
regain lost market share.
the photographs of Tikal temples and palaces in this Web site were
taken with a Hasselblad, but that is only because I got locked into
myth decades ago. If I had a Rollei system this Web site would really
be a feast for your eyes.