1954-56 Rollei Rolleiflex Carl Zeiss TLR Film Camera


Nowadays, the smart phone is ubiquitous and of its many versatile functions, perhaps its use as a point-and-shoot camera is near the top of the list. The advent of digital cameras and camera phones has practically sounded the death knell of film cameras.

Which is too bad considering the warmth and inimitable qualities only offered by analog cameras of yesteryear. For those younger than 20 years old, they would be likely hard-pressed to even recognize one or understand its function. But fortunately there remains an old-world charm to film cameras as evidenced by ongoing camera and photography hobbyists today. And in the world of vintage cameras and optics, some of the best cameras available are Rollei cameras, hailing from Germany and founded by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke in 1920.

Although the company eventually became insolvent in 2009, Rollei produced world-class cameras used by the likes of David Bailey (considered one of Britain’s top photographers) and Diane Arbus (a highly regarded American photographer who inspired a 2006 fictional film Fur starring Nicole Kidman).

Rollei cameras were often combined with Carl Zeiss lenses to make for an unmatched combination and a superior film camera. Zeiss is renown for optics innovation and for over 150 years, has been considered the manufacturer of some of the highest-quality lenses in the world.

Up for sale by CoolVintageCameras is a rare medium format Rolleiflex TLR film camera with a Carl Zeiss 3.5 75mm lens circa 1950s. The overall condition is excellent and functional with scratch-free lens, immaculate leather, and polished brightwork. The viewfinder operates in old-school fashion: hold the camera at the waist, look down at a laterally reversed image, and shoot. It has a silent operation due to it not being an SLR for some discreet shooting if necessary. Here’s an opportunity to own a true masterpiece and take some amazing photos with a natural vignette quality built into each photo. It is listed for sale on Etsy for $1,600.


Make: Rollei GmbH, Franke & Heidecke
Model: Rolleiflex 3,5B mx
Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar 3,5.  Available close-up lens: Rolleinar 1 Focal Length – 75mm
Price: $1,600


VERY Rare Rolleiflex Carl Zeis TLR Film Camera Professionally Tested in Very Good Condition.

If you are a camera collector, this one A MUST have. The lenses are scratch free, the viewfinder is good, film advance and shutter are in working order. Comes with reflective mirror like lens cap. The leather is in excellent condition, no signs of wear. Focusing is like a dream with a Rolleiflex.

“The Rolleiflex is one of my favorite high end cameras, this version provides lots of bang for the bucks and it’s possible to get super sharp results. With the viewfinder hood folded it’s actually quite handy and don’t take up too much space in a bag.
Since the picture is laterally reversed in the viewfinder it may take a while to get used to compose a frame if you’re not used to that. It’s not the brightest viewfinder around and it vingettes quite heavily but the feeling when using a gem like this is unbeatable.
The Rolleiflex is aptly for street photography or if you’re a reserved beholder, since you’re looking down in the waist level finder and not pointing directly at your subject, they will most likely be less offended by having their picture taken, if they even notice it. And since it’s not an SLR there is no mirror noise, it’s close to dead silent.”

Here is a bit of technical info:

Camera – Rolleiflex 3,5B mx
Manufacturer – Rollei GmbH, Franke & Heidecke
Origin – Braunschweig, Germany
Produced – 1954 – 1956
Lens – Carl Zeiss Tessar 3,5. No coating, four elements in three groups. (Or, on some, Schneider Xenar 3,5) Aviable close-up lens: Rolleinar 1
Focal Length – 75mm
Aperture – f/3.5 – f/22
Filter Available – Bayonet, size 1
Shutter Speed – 1/500s – 1s, B
Shutter – Synchro Compur, Five bladed leaf shutter, Behind-the-lens
Shutter Release – Button with shutter lock, Cable release in shutter button
Self Timer – Yes
Focus Mode – Manual focus with DOF scale
Exposure Metering / Control – No
Shooting Modes – Manual. Exposure Value Scale (EV coupling, 4-18)
Exposure Count – Advance type. Auto stop (no red window)
Multiple Exposure – Yes. Jagged crank release to re-tension shutter for double exposures
Viewfinder – Heidosmat f/2,8 75mm. Waist-level with Grid, Loupe, Sport finder. TLR (Twin Lens Reflex)
Film Advance / Rewind – Coupled Manual, Winding crank
Film Release Button – Nobs to pull to release the film
Film / Aspect Ratio / Framing – 120 film (6×6) / Combination back for 135 film with Rolleikin 2 adapter set (24×36)
ASA/ISO Range / DIN – Takes all ASA. (Memory setting ASA 8 -160 / DIN 10 – 23)
Flash – PC connector, M/X sync
Battery – No
Tripod Socket – Yes
Carrying Strap – Socket for Neck strap
Material – Aluminum, Sheet metal
Dimensions (l, h, d) – 97 x 145 x 95 mm
Weight – 1044g

All cameras are sold AS IS with no returns unless discussed prior to purchase. I ship most cameras within 48 hours of the payment clearing. Packages will be shipped via USPS. Please message with any questions, I will be happy to answer any.

This beautiful camera needs a home. Will it be yours?

Click here for the seller’s ad on Etsy.



One thought on “1954-56 Rollei Rolleiflex Carl Zeiss TLR Film Camera

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