Rollei SL66 - any fans/users?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Colin Corneau, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Colin Corneau

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    I lucked into a pretty good SL66 system - body, 80mm, 150mm, side grip and cable release, two backs, filters and even the metal suitcase.
    Never used this system before, and it didn't come with an instruction manual. I can look up some basics, but wondered if anyone here has experience with this kit, and can offer some hints, tips, warnings, or general all around information.

    I'm excited to try it out, but didn't want to fiddle around with any knobs, levers or buttons before knowing more.

    Many thanks - Colin
     
  2. ic-racer

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    Fan here. Always wanted one since I got my first Rollei back in the 1980s. But I have never owned one. Manual should be available on-line.
     
  3. AgX

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  4. 4season

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    IMO, a wonderful system provided that you don't need high flash synch speeds. It shines at macro work, and in fact the 80mm lens can be reverse-mounted with no additional accessories, allowing focusing down to 1:1 (with tilt!) if I recall. But don't forget that bellows factors come into play at close range, think these are printed on the side of the camera). I spent quite a bit of time using the camera w/80mm lens, but that was years ago.

    Prices for accessories like rear lens caps, body caps etc were painfully high when new despite generic appearance and would be great candidates for 3D printing.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

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    Colin Corneau

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    Thanks all!!!
     
  7. k.hendrik

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    All is said; best camera there is. I own a SE. If you like I can make a copy of the 'Scheimpflug Indicator' and the text in German.
     
  8. Alan Gales

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    A very good friend of mine owns one and loves it. I've handled his camera but that is it. The Rollei lenses are said to be just as good as the Zeiss lenses that you can get for it.

    I don't know if you shoot portraiture but with the focal plane shutter and bellows focussing you can cobble old soft focus and petzval lenses to the camera with tape. Enjoy!
     
  9. RauschenOderKorn

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    Fan & user here!! It is a great system with superb optics and built-in tilt and reverse-mounting capability.

    Challenges: the film backs use some kind of detection system (thickness if I remember correctly) to determine the starting point of the film. That needs regular CLA and the back is sensitive to unintentional mishandling. Follow the instructions on how to load the film and how to handle the back exactly, else you might end up with a spacing problem between shots or worse a jammed film back / jammed camera.
     
  10. Frank53

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    That’s my experience as well. Although my SL66E was like new and well taken care of when I got it, it was on it’s way to the repairman or just returning home. Seems to be a bit over engineered. Sold it and got a Hasselblad. No problems. I’m a happy Rollei tlr user for almost 45 years now, but no more SL66 for me.
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  11. Sirius Glass

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    When I went to trade in the Mamiya C330 with three lenses and every accessory for it in the known world, Samys camera steered me away from the slr Rolleis for those reasons towards the Hasselblad. I have never regretted it. On the other hand, there are those that love them and use them without problems and to them I say "Enjoy!"
     
  12. Slixtiesix

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    Great fan of this camera as well. Unfortunately, the film transport mechanism broke on mine some years ago and I have not used it since. Although I bought a Hasselblad later, I regularly miss the SL66 and should have it repaired some day.
     
  13. flash26c

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    Don't forget to cock the shutter before taking a back off. Harry Fleenor at Oceanside Camera for repair work, CLA.
     
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  15. RauschenOderKorn

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    I know I brought up the point, but don´t forget: I am both: user and fan. I have a SL66 and a SL66SE, and both camera´s have not required any more attention than respect for the manual and the occasional film. The SL66SE has been to the workshop once - unfortunately it got jammed due to some "repair" made by the person who sold it to me (lasted for two rolls only). Since then, everything has been fine, and the SL66SE actually is my favourite SLR.

    If you need any repair / help on this side of the pond for an SL66/E/X/SE, I can recommend you Mr. Paepke http://www.paepke-fototechnik.de/
     
  16. k.hendrik

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  17. Sirius Glass

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    Anyone, anyone can ignore the camera manual and really screw up a camera, any camera Leica, Rollei, Hasselblad, ... , even to the point of being unrepairable.
     
  18. 4season

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    I purchased mine secondhand from Koh's in the 1990s, used it with reasonable care, and it was fine. I am generally very careful with my gear! And yes, the shutter release tends to feel loose and a bit sloppy, and the lens locking mechanism doesn't work especially well, at least that was true of the two SL66es that I had in my possession. Biggest hassle today is apparent lack of any 3rd party support with regards to caps, lens shades and so on.
     
  19. Kodachromeguy

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    Wow, nice camera, fantastic lenses. I have been an admirer for a long time but never owned one. When I was in high school in the late 1960s, I recall visiting Ferranti-Dege camera store in Harvard Square, Massachusetts, to look at the newly-introduced Rolleiflex SL66. It was $900 or $1000, a staggering sum in 1968 or 1969. Unfortunately, American photographers never took to the SL66 system in large numbers. One reason may be that Hasselblad already had a well-organized sales, marketing, and repair network by then, and Rollei could not break in to the American professional network/market. As a comparison on prices, I bought a Nikkormat FTn with 50mm f/2.0 lens in late 1968 for $200. So the SL66 would have been 5 times that price. Anyway, a fascinating and clever camera. Some sources of information:
    http://www.sl66.com
    http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Rolleiflex_SL66

    (P.S., I now use a Hasselblad 501CM.)
     
  20. DREW WILEY

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    My brother owned two complete SL66 kits, which were both eventually stolen. I inherited the negatives after he passed away. A remarkable camera in certain ways. But he had a lot of trouble with the backs, and preferred the ergonomic handling of my P67, which I loaned him for about a decade.
     
  21. naaldvoerder

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    Very beautiful and unique camerasystem.

    You really do well to read the manual. If you don't, you really need to remember that you need to crock the shutter before any other action with the camera, like changing cameraback.
     
  22. Johnkpap

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    This is a wonderfull system camera, every asspect was well designed right down to the carry case. My fav lens is the 150mm leaf shutter model. My only advice is treat it with care do not force anything and and if buying bodies or backs stay away from high use examples. Enjoy this great camera
     
  23. Neil Poulsen

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    I had a Bronica S2a, similar to the SL66 in that they both had focal plane shutters. Flash sync on my S2a was 1/40th sec; that for the Rollie is 1/30th sec. In my view, this makes both cameras tripod only. Sure, the both sported fast shutter speeds. But, if there's any movement during the exposure, the image can be distorted. I tried taking photos of my son in a soccer match, and the photos didn't turn out well.

    I took many good photos with my Bronica mounted on a tripod. But, I finally sold the entire outfit and purchased an RB67 system that has between the lens shutters.
     
  24. john_s

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    The film thickness sensor in the magazine can miss the start of some films unless it's well adjusted. The last model for the SL66SE which has a fold out winding handle instead of a knob uses the ordinary match the arrow film loading system which I prefer. They fit the earlier bodies. They are a bit expensive though.

    Beautiful camera for landscape, portraits and macro work. I was out looking at landscape and unexpectedly found some slow moving wild life (an echidna) and despite it moving quite slowly the SL66 was a handful for the purpose and poor negs resulted.
     
  25. Dennis-B

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    My local used dealer has one on eBay right now. The B-I-N price is $999. They have a separate auction on the CDS chimney finder @ $195.49. It's not the last version, but I guess they're rare enough to command these dollars.
     
  26. OP
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    Colin Corneau

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    Thanks very much, all -- I'm a big fan of and use very regularly my Mamiya 6 for medium-format shooting. I came across this kit in a deal too good to pass up, so here I am.
    I'll definitely be very careful wading into this new system - I've no idea what condition it all is in, but it seems to be well cared for.

    The notion of using old or antique lenses with the focal plane shutter and bellows is very intriguing, as is the ingenious method of reversing the lens to get macro focusing. Perhaps of use for still life or figure studies.

    And if worse comes to worse, I can always sell it to another fan, I suppose....thanks again!
     
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