Rolleiflex SL66 Review (Rollei SL66E tilt camera) + YouTube + Tilt Portraits
My latest purchase! Here is a short Rolleiflex SL66 review explaining why I bought the camera instead of a Hasselblad and why it is possibly the best Rolleiflex / any make camera! (I love it!) Scroll down for lots of Rolleiflex portrait examples..
Hasselblad vs Rolleiflex vs Mamiya
It was during my usual online research when I stumbled across the Rolleiflex SL66 E camera when actually looking to buy a Hasselblad 500C. I was weighing up whether the 500C (and it’s lenses) could do what I wanted. The answer was no so instead I settled for a Mamiya M645 1000S camera with a fast Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 lens. I received the Mamiya 645 then only days later I discovered the Rollei SL66 / SL66E.
On paper the Rolleiflex SL66 E appeared to be the holy grail of cameras and unlike most others I knew of. Is it the best Rolleiflex / best film camera? 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 a SL66E 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.
Rolleiflex SL66 E – About
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 camera 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 SL66E film back was not always turning as I cocked the shutter resulting in an film overlap issue. Below are some example photos –
Rollei SL66E Flickr Photos
Being gutted about the SL66E overlap issue, especially with my high hopes for the SL66 I ordered 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 Portraits – B&W Film
Rolleiflex Portrait Photography – On Colour Film!
Rolleiflex Portrait Examples – Slide Film! (Expired film)
Rolleiflex vs Kiev 88
Perhaps a strange comparison but one of my earliest 6×6 film camera purchases was an ARAX-CM (Kiev 88). The Rolleiflex SL66E is much heavier than my ARAX-CM but I love the ability to tilt the lens on the Rollei. (Love!) It means I can do selective focus photos again and it takes me back to my freelensing days with the Nikon D800 (and on the Nikon FM!)
The Rolleiflex SL66E is my Holly Grail camera!
(Rolleiflex + Portra 400)