Rolleiflex Instant Kamera - the bedrock of instant cameras
The limited new edition of the Rolleiflex Instant Kamera is an instant camera for genuine enthusiasts and nostalgic photographers. It is a twin-lens reflex camera and a tribute to that trail-blazing roll film camera, which established the world-wide reputation of our company at that time. A classic in camera construction, which became the most popular hand tool (apart from the Leica) of professional photographers, as well as of reporters and the wealthy social classes in 1930. At that time it cost several times what conventional cameras, with which the average citizen had to be content, sold for in those days. Fortunately, with a price of €399.99 for the new edition of the Rolleiflex Instant Kamera, which has an Aspheric lens, integrated electronic flash and automatic light quantity measurement, these times are in the past. The exposure meter was incorporated for the first time in 1956. But we stayed true to ourselves with regard to the use of the instant camera in the retro design of the twin-lens reflex camera of 1929, in order to bring genuine fans with us into a past century of deceleration. From the use of instant film with a film size of 54 x 86mm and an image size of 46 x 62mm, by way of manual focusing and adjustment of the aperture, the use of the cinematic viewfinder panel and the direct viewfinder from above, the manual image output, the fold-out magnifier for checking the subject, up to double exposure for image effects and the manual B-mode, everything remains as it was. And that is s good thing. The shutter speed is 1/500 - 1 second in A mode, whereas the maximum exposure time in slow shutter mode (B mode) amounts to 10 seconds. The focus range begins at 48cm and is infinite. The Rolleiflex Instant Kamera is delivered with a lens cap, 3 x AA batteries and detailed operating instructions. Within Germany, shipping is free as always. However, the EV +/- exposure correction by one f-stop per push of a button, as well as the automatic calculation of the shutter speed based on the exposure measurement in A mode also enable beginners to capture wonderful, creative moments with the instant camera.
The history of the Rolleiflex instant camera
The first prototype of the Rolleiflex was already created in 1927 and at that time just like today it represented the highest degree of reliability. At that time what was most impressive was its sturdy injection moulded aluminium case, which was considered to be virtually indestructible. In addition, in those days Rollei relied on the solid Compur central shutter instead of the then prevalent yet susceptible cloth shutter. Also the leather bellows for the lens extension, which Kodak cameras had at that time was eliminated and replaced by a solid metal bellows that enclosed the case on the side. Because Rollei already realized at that time that a camera, which is to be used everywhere, e.g. for reporting or photography in the Tropics or in the Arctic must not consist of decaying, non-weatherproof materials. Up until now with all our photo products we have relied on inherent stability and robustness so that our customers can take photographs all over the world without restrictions and with a high level of wear - in wind and weather. We proved this most recently by our new camera filters of the Extremium series, which are impressive due to their dimensionally stable titanium socket. Or due to the Rock Solid filters with the Unbreakable Coating.
Also, in those days, what was crucial for the success of the first Rolleiflex was its smart construction, which enabled precise parallel shifting of the plate, whereby the carrier was shifted for distance setting for the shot and the viewfinder. The central gear wheel behind the taking lens propelled four further smaller gear wheels, which moved rods that were connected to the lens carrier. Thus the Rolleiflex functioned virtually perfectly even after many years in use. For a long time the Rolleiflex distanced itself from any competition - until in the 1950s almost any self-respecting reporter or press photographer used a Rolleiflex camera and an increasing number of amateurs developed a taste for it as well. Further innovations followed like the development of the special “Rolleimarin” underwater housing which functioned at a depth of 100m.
Quality criteria and aesthetics of the Rolleiflex - then and now
Over several decades the precision mechanics, the love of detail without neglect of the function and of the “big picture”, the locking mechanism and the special look of the medium format were impressive. Here the winder and the frame counter are particularly noteworthy. The roll film had to be passed through and threaded between two rollers. If the instant film was inserted successfully, the rear panel could be closed, since the winding mechanism independently detects, when the first picture can be taken and the film is in position and ready to shoot. If the emulsion strip on the backing paper touched the measuring roller, the exposure counter and the position mechanism knew that they were next and were activated.
The individual image aesthetics of the Rolleiflex, which always somehow look different from a photograph taken with any other camera, are unique and the strict separation of the taking lens and the viewfinder lens is a trademark, which prevents the typical mirror slap of other medium format cameras by growing taller. In addition the quiet central shutter is compatible with electronic flash whereas the large aperture and long standard focal lengths make creative depths of field possible for versatile picture composition – especially when using flash in sunlight. The new edition of the Rolleiflex makes a large aperture of up to f/5.6 at most and a smaller aperture of up to f/22 possible. The shutter speed is automatically calculated on the basis of the selected aperture and the light situation, which is captured by the ambient light meter. The rotation at the aperture wheel, which is located under the indication of the aperture stop (under the two lenses), changes the aperture stop. In B mode, which overwrites the exposure measurement and exposure correction, the creative clearance becomes greater still during the EV +/- exposure correction, makes the start easier for beginners and makes creative results possible.
Up until now the Rolleiflex has been one of the few analogue cameras or cameras overall, which was able to impress professional photographers and reporters over several decades. Its compact dimensions (the new Rolleiflex edition measures 141 x 102 x 80mm with a deadweight of 525g), far surpassed other medium format cameras and the high-resolution 6 x 6 medium format have been its strengths up to now. In addition the new version of this classic analogue camera is the logical consequence of our preference for slow photography. Deceleration goes along with the Rolleiflex instant camera, because picture composition and manual adjustment intentionally take time, are perhaps not in keeping with the times and are intriguing for true photography enthusiasts precisely for that reason The exposure counter shows the remaining number of photographs available on the instant film, which is very limited from the outset. Thus you consciously take time for every shot, which is completely different from what we do with the thousands of RAW and JPEG files, which, thanks to a digital camera, we bring along from every trip and holiday. Unfortunately, often in the process, also without a love of detail or for the moment.
Advantages & creativity with instant cameras
- Instant cameras are impressive due to their speed.
- Immediately after the shot is taken you have a unique photo in your hand.
- The special colour of the instant images wins you over with its individual charm.
- Thanks to the retro feeling no limits are set to your creativity.