Augment Your Vintage Camera Collection With a Classic Rolleiflex Camera

Holding a vintage Rolleiflex TLR medium format camera in your hands is like holding a piece of quality craftsmanship of metal, glass, and leather except this piece of craftsmanship was originally produced in the 1920s. Unlike the SLR cameras that came decades later, a TLR camera with its two frontal lenses, vertical shape, and top viewfinder is a curiosity that people will want to pick up to examine. Many operable models can be found on eBay in various working used conditions and prices. 

What is a twin lens camera? 

Twin lens cameras were first produced in the late 1880s and are more widely referred to as twin-lens reflex cameras or TLR. Rolleiflex is a type of twin lens, medium format camera that has two frontal lenses, a vertical build, and a top viewfinder. The two frontal lenses are of the same focal lengths but meant for different purposes. The top lens is used for the viewfinder system that is displayed on top of the camera body. The bottom lens is the main photographic lens that takes the photo. On the TLR, the camera is held at waist level, and the photographer looks down into the viewfinder. 

What types of film does the TLR camera use? 

The Rolleiflex TLR camera uses various films meant for medium format cameras. Here are some of the more common film rolls:  

  • 120mm film roll – The 120mm film roll is most often used by medium format professional photographers. You can capture roughly 12-13 images with a single 120mm film roll using the 6-by-6 image format. The 120mm film roll is used by the Standard, Automat, Letter, and Rollei-Magic Rolleiflex models.
  • 117mm film roll – The 117mm film roll was used by the original Rolleiflex that came out in the 1920s and gives six frames on a single roll.
  • 127mm film roll – The 127mm film roll is used by the Baby Rolleiflex model and produces smaller images.

What are several more widely available Rolleiflex cameras? 

Rolleiflex has produced many different camera models since the 1920s. Here are some of its more notable camera models commonly seen on eBay:  

  • Original – The Original was quite basic. The film back is not hinged, and the film is advanced by a knob. There were only two lens options.
  • Standard – The Standard has a hinged back, a film crank winder, and a finder that helps you centre your object.
  • Automat – The Automat has automatic functions that helps to focus fast-paced action, making this camera appropriate for street photography.
  • Baby – The Baby is a smaller version of the Rolleiflex, producing smaller 4-by-4 photos.

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