Rolleiflex SL66E

Rolleiflex SL66E

Matthew Osborne Photography

Rolleiflex SL66E

I stumbled across the Rolleiflex SL66 E when looking to buy a Hasselblad 500C.  I was weighing up whether the 500C (and it’s lenses) could do what I wanted from the camera and the answer was no so I settled for a Mamiya M645 1000S with a fast Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens.  I got the Mamiya 645 then only days later I discovered the Rollei SL66 / SL66E.  On paper it appeared to be the holy grail of cameras and unlike most others I knew of.  The two striking features for me were (1) the lens could be tilted to give a tilt shift style look and more similar to what is seen with large format cameras and (2), every lens can be mounted in reverse to become a macro lens!  Brilliant!  I couldn’t believe my luck on this discovery and bought one from eBay just hours later.  Vintage film cameras hold their value quite well so if I didn’t like it I could just sell it again.

The Rolleiflex SL66 E was manufactured between 1982 and 1992 and is a 6×6 format medium format film camera that comes with a Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 2.8 HFT lens.  It has a waist level viewfinder (which I prefer) and also a light meter though it doesn’t work on my camera.  This is fine as I prefer to meter manually.

My first chance to use the Rollei SL66E was with model Nella.  Here I used 120 Fomapan 400 film and developed in 1:150 Rodinal.  I tend not to read manuals but once I had shot 12 exposures and it continued to take pictures I got a little worried.  It turned out that the gearing in the film back was not always turning as I cocked the shutter resulting in an film overlap issue.  Here are some sample images

Rolleiflex SL66 E 6x6 Film

Rolleiflex SL66E Overlap Portrait

Rollei SL66E Fomapan Portrait

I was gutted about the overlap issue and had big ideas for this cameras so got myself a spare Rollei film back.  The next shoot was a 3 day London portrait photography workshop with models Gina and Katie.  I was counting the exposures and no more overlap problem. Great!  I still await the colour film to return from the lab and have only developed one roll of B&W film so far but here are a few sample images. Katie on 120 Kodak Tri-X 400@1600 in 1:150 Rodinal.

Rolleiflex SL66E Tilt + Tri-X 400@1600

Rollei SL66E Tilt Portrait

Rollei SL66E = Smiles Allround

The Rolleiflex SL66E is much heavier than my 6×6 ARAX-CM (Kiev 88) but I love the ability to tilt the lens.  At last I can do selective focus photos again and it takes me back to my freelensing days with the Nikon D800.

Me & My Rollieflex SL66E

Colour photos coming soon!

Matt

Related posts

Hasselblad 500Chttps://mrleica.com/2014/10/28/hasselblad-500c-camera-pinup/

Mamiya M645 1000Shttps://mrleica.com/2014/10/28/mamiya-645-1000s/

Rodinal Semi- Stand Developinghttps://mrleica.com/2014/10/22/rodinal-semi-stand-development-2/

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