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FRANKE & HEIDECKE - Rolleiflex Original - model 2 (1929 - 1932)

Reflex Bi-Lens

Two German manufacturers : Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke are at origin of the creation in 1929 of the legendary Rolleiflex camera range.

The Rolleiflex Original is the first model of this range of cameras. Immediately it becomes a "must have" for the photo-reporters of this time.
Its concept is totally new : a
reflex viewfinder using a dedicated lens, its 6x6 square format but above all the extremely high quality of the Carl Zeiss lenses, make all the reputation of this camera.

Rolleiflex Original - modèle 2
(Lens Tessar 1:3,8  f=75mm)

Two versions of the Rolleiflex Original have been made.

The model 1 is not hinged; the back side has to be positioned within a groove. The ring around the finder lens has no distance scale.


The model 2 is hinged.

Early models used a film format 117 which was giving 6 exposures photographies of a 6 x 6 format. Later, a converter allowed to use films 120 or 620 allowing this time 12 exposures, but always to a 6 x 6 format.

Despite this camera has a film counting window on its back side, the big problem of this camera was that at that time, none of the 117, 120 or 620 films had the mark for a 6 x 6 format. Each one had to find a solution to remediate this problem... with each time more or less success.

Two different configurations were offered (for taking lens ) :

Zeiss Tessar 1:4,5  f=75mm (the cheaper but also the most common)


Zeiss Tessar 1:3.8  f=75mm (rare and expensive !)

The finder lens is a Heidoscop 1:3.1  f=75mm

The shutter F.Deckel-Compur offers speeds from 1/300 sec to 1 second and pause B and T.

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