Advertisements

Harold Feinstein’s Favorite Camera: The Rolleiflex

Harold Feinstein Photographer – The Rolleiflex camera: Love at first sight.

 

The Rolleiflex camera: Love at first sight

Seeking Shade, Coney Island, 1946. This is one of my very first photographs shot with my neighbor's Rolleiflex the year I began taking pictures. I love the simple framing of the square, which helps to compose the elements of the photograph.
Seeking Shade, Coney Island, 1946. This is one of my very first photographs shot with my neighbor’s Rolleiflex the year I began taking pictures. I love the simple framing of the square, which helps to compose the elements of the photograph.

Someone once asked me what my favorite camera was. That’s easy. TheRolleiflex medium format TLR. In fact I would call it the most beautiful camera I’ve ever seen. It was relatively easy to use, light weight, extraordinarily well-constructed, simple and had the best lenses in the business. Everything worked again and again and again. Constant reliability, performance and excellence in a camera. I suppose the only objection some might have to it would be looking down into finder lens. But that never bothered me. As a medium format twin lens reflex with 2 1/4 x 2 1/4 (in) format, there are two lenses — the taking lens and the finder lens. You look down into the finder which is giving you a reverse image mirrored from the taking lens. You do see what you get with the exception of very close range photographs. Visually the square format is elegant and symmetrical, but also offers the option to crop either vertically or horizontally. And, the 2 1/4 film means generally better quality large prints than you can get with 35mm.

The Rolleiflex Automat, Model 3 was produced from 1945-1949. It was my very first camera.
The Rolleiflex Automat, Model 3 was produced from 1945-1949. It was my very first camera.

4119OGYsMcL._SY300_

The Rollei was the very first camera I ever used. Initially I borrowed it from our upstairs neighbor in Bensonhurst, who later made me rent it for $5 a day — an extraordinary amount of money for a 15 year old in 1946. But, I did get hooked on it and later was able to save my pennies and purchase my own.

I had the Rolleiflex Automat Model 3 which was produced between 1945-1949 and also known as the K4B2. It was available in two lens. I couldn’t afford the more expensive Zeiss Jena Tessar lens and instead used the Schneider Xenar lens, which I found just as good.

I recently found Jacob Deschin’s book: Rollei Photography: Handbook of the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord Cameras (Camera Craft, 1952) in a box, which prompted these musings. I contributed two essays and a number of photos to it. Here are a few for you.

Sharing a public bench, NYC, 1948
Sharing a public bench, NYC, 1948
Boy in Sunglasses, Coney Island, 1949
Boy in Sunglasses, Coney Island, 1949
Passengers Sleeping & Reading on NYC Subway, 1949
Passengers Sleeping & Reading on NYC Subway, 1949
Advertisements

One response

  1. The “seeking shade” photograph is, to me, stunning!!

    I love looking down into the big viewfinder, even when I’m not shooting any film – it’s like an alternate reality!

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, and hope to hear more from you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: