As an antique camera expert, I have had the pleasure of working with many different types of cameras over the years. Among them, the twin-lens reflex camera is one of my favorites, and the Rolleiflex 3.5F is a particular standout. In this article, I will explore the history and features of this classic camera.
The Rolleiflex 3.5F was introduced by the German camera manufacturer Franke & Heidecke in 1954. It was an update to the earlier Rolleiflex 3.5E, with improvements including a brighter viewfinder, an improved focusing screen, and a faster shutter speed. The camera was a hit with both amateur and professional photographers, and it remained in production until 1976.
The Rolleiflex 3.5F is a medium format camera that uses 120 roll film. It has two lenses, one for viewing and one for taking pictures, mounted in a twin-lens reflex configuration. The viewing lens is a 75mm Zeiss Planar lens with a maximum aperture of f/3.5, while the taking lens is also a Zeiss Planar lens, but with a maximum aperture of f/2.8.
One of the most notable features of the Rolleiflex 3.5F is its waist-level viewfinder. This allows the photographer to look down into the camera and compose the shot using a ground glass screen. This method of composing a shot can be slower than using a traditional viewfinder, but many photographers find it more immersive and enjoyable.
The camera also features a built-in light meter, which was a relatively new addition to cameras at the time of the 3.5F’s release. The light meter is coupled to the shutter speed dial and aperture ring, allowing for easy and accurate exposure adjustments.
Another feature of the Rolleiflex 3.5F is its solid construction. The body is made of metal and leather, and the lenses are housed in a sturdy metal housing. This makes the camera feel substantial in the hand and gives it a sense of durability.
Using the Camera
Using a twin-lens reflex camera like the Rolleiflex 3.5F requires a bit of practice, but it can be a rewarding experience for photographers who enjoy the process of taking pictures. To take a picture with the camera, the photographer first composes the shot using the waist-level viewfinder. They then adjust the focus using a knob on the side of the camera and set the aperture and shutter speed based on the light meter readings.
Once the shot is composed and the exposure settings are dialed in, the photographer presses the shutter release button, which is located on the front of the camera body. The film is advanced using a knob on the side of the camera, and the photographer can continue taking pictures until the roll of film is used up.
The Rolleiflex 3.5F is a classic twin-lens reflex camera that has earned its place in photographic history. Its solid construction, waist-level viewfinder, and built-in light meter make it a joy to use, and its Zeiss lenses produce stunning images. If you are interested in antique cameras or are simply looking for a new photographic challenge, the Rolleiflex 3.5F is definitely worth considering.