Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Rolleicord V

The year 1933 gave way to the longest running medium format camera company today.  With new models of camera still being designed, and released, even in 2012, the Rollei camera company is still producing some of the best and most beautiful cameras today.
I happen to own one of their more "basic" models, the Rolleicord V.  The difference in the Rolleicord models and the Rolleiflex models isn't as extreme as you would think.  The Rolleicord V, introduced in 1954, with a 3 year run to 1957, was an amateurs camera, with a 75mm ƒ/3.5 Schneider Xenar Kreuznach lens, and a maximum close focus of 3 feet.  Although that could easily be changed with the addition of Rolleinar close focusing attachments.
The model I have is a mid-run model, around 1955, possibly 1956, and was purchased from an Antique seller during an Antique Display Show back in 2010. 
I've used the camera on and off in 2010, and the same for 2011.  But lately I've been finding that I have been reaching for the Rolleicord V as my main 120 camera instead of my Bronica, simply because of the wonderful design, sharp optics, and WLF of the camera.
it is just so much fun to use!
My latest accessory purchase for that camera was a new Waist Level Finder screen which is brighter, and not to mention a fresnel screen, which means no dark/bright spots on the screen.
It's much cleaner, brighter, and easier to focus with, than the original MATTE screen.
Sure, it loses the grid lines, but the split prism and laser etched fresnel matte is so much easier on the eyes, allows faster focusing, and is so much brighter to see!  A blessing in disguise, and a must-buy for anyone with an older Rolleicord looking for a brighter screen.

This camera is a rather interesting mix of amazement.  For one, it's a TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) camera, which has two lenses, hence the name, which allow for easy focusing, and no lens blackout or shutter lag from a mirror that has to move out of the way of the shutter, just set, click, move-on. 
Wondeful design, and super simple to operate.
And two, the taking lens has an interesting characteristic to it.  First off, it can be incredibly sharp.  Stop it down to ƒ/8 or ƒ/11 and get some incredible sharpness out of lens, but if you shoot it wide open, you get a soft dreamy look to it that is amazing to behold.

East German/West German

Franke & Heidecke - Rolleicord V
Schneider-Xenar Kreuznach 75mm ƒ/3.5 Taking Lens (minimum aperture ƒ/22)
Schneider Heliostat 75mm ƒ/3.2 Viewing Lens
120 Roll Film camera taking 12 6x6 images
Synchro-Compur Shutter 1s to 1/500s + B
X-Sync at all speeds
M-Sync at all speeds
Close Focusing of 3 feet (36 inches)
Double-Exposure Prevention (over ridden with a flip of a switch)

You can see more photos taken with the Rolleicord V on my Flickr Stream


  1. Great post, thank you! I'm looking for a simple nylon strap for my Rolleicord V, and the one pictured on yours looks perfect. What type is it?

    1. Hey, so sorry for the late reply (my email never told me I had a reply here)..
      It's actually just a simple one, nothing fancy..
      But works for what it is..
      It is a strap I got from an old Kodak camera...
      I've been meaning on replacing it, as wearing it around the neck for a day starts to chafe the neck...

  2. Hi there, I just got a rolleicord V. Very excited. I am wondering where you got your replacement screen?

  3. I actually got the replacement screen from EBAY from a user called "REDLEICA1"..

    he usually has many different replacement screens, both for the V and many other Rolleicord and Rolleiflex cameras.