[rollei_list] Re: Why Rollei T?

  • From: bigler@xxxxxxxx
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 17:47:11 +0200 (CEST)

> Why a Rollei T and not a 3.5F?   Do you prefer the characteristics of 
> the 3.5 Tessar over the Xenotar/Planar for portraits?

Back in my twenties I had started to read about 6x6 cameras since my
father had always used rollfilm cameras before switching to a 35 mm
Contaflex. I had already started to print family negatives in 5x7,5cm
(an obsolete pre-WWII rollfilm size), 6x6 and 6x9 negs and was amazed
by the results I got even from a modest Agfa Isolette.

Some day during a trip abroad I met a guy who had a Yashica Mat. the
guy was supposed to be rich and I was a student so I asked all regular
beginner's questions about ease of use, film price ("I take less
pictures" was his answer), etc and I had a look at the ground glass.
Whaaoo ! I had no idea of what a GG is on a view camera but I knew
what a SL66 was. Probably I was hooked by the direct view of the image
on a GG.

Back home by an incredible coïncidence a local dealer in my remote
hometown had a R-T on display. 1977, nobody wanted a R-TLR at the
time. I had absolutely no idea of the various R-TLR models and I had
definitely not a single idea of what a "white-face" is ;-);-). I think
the magic mantra 'Carl Zeiss Nr...' was the definite push for
purchase. Those magic words were one of the first photographic words I
could decipher on my father's Contaflex, my father had explained in
detail the story of the split company due to the Cold War, together we
had lived in direct the sad years of Zeiss-Ikon and Voigtländer Werke
being shut down, impossible to resist. And subsequently no mermaid's
songs from Wetzlar or Solms had any chance to reach my ears.

A few years later having moved to Paris as a student in optics I
learned what a FTM curve is, and what a planar or a xenotar were since
the very last classical Rolleiflex-xenotar were on display. My first
reaction was to sell the R-T based on purely theoretical
considerations. I looked more carefully at the Rollei's price tag !
Outch ! (a the time, photographic goods were taxed 33% by the French
government). Nevertheless I showed the R-T to a second hand dealer in
Paris, he made such a ridiculous offer that I kept the Rollei. I took
advice from another older parisian dealer and he told me : keep your
tessar !! he remembered the confusion about the glass plate in some
planar/xenotar Rolleis in the sixties, probably he had worked with a
tessar for so many years, I was definitely convinced, eventually I
kept my R-T.

A few years later, I succumbed to another non-Rollei, Zeiss-based 6x6
SLR system, but I don't thing I'll ever sell my Rollei-T... now that I
know what a "white-face" is ;-);-) and what can be done with a tessar.

Some examples of R-T images (sorry, always the same images, nothing new)

Emmanuel BIGLER         

Other related posts: