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Friday, 21 August 2009


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Is there some fine-print disclaimer that the "right way up" picture is a mirror image? That takes some getting used to when framing. Personally, I sometimes find it easier to judge composition when the image is upside down, probably because I'm less distracted by content. But the mirror image thing is just... tricky.

"The right way up..." - what a nerve, mentioning that the image is not upside down but neglecting to mention that it's mirror image and takes familiarity & practice to compose successfully.
"Full colour" too, but of course no mention of the very dim image in poor light.

I used my TLR briefly at a family wedding last weekend and can only take my hat off to those professional wedding photographers who used Rolleis for so many years.

For those interested in some of the best photos ever taken with a TLR I can reccommend buying (via Mike's Amazon links) any of the books featuring the photography of Lee Miller.

Cheers, Robin

I have one problem with this ad. ALL Rolleis are magic, at least that's how I see it.
Thanks for the ad.

Of course they didn't tell you that your glorious full-color viewfinder image was left-to-right reversed. Advertisements never change, do they?

Classic misdirection. Sure it's "The right way up", but it's the wrong way left to right.

"... and the hype goes on ..."


Please don't remind me of how big and beautiful those TLR and medium format viewfinders in general were. I still get claustrophobic every time I use a DSLR. Shudder.

I love these old ads! "Full size, full colour, the right way up".

Hmm #1: How would you get only a b&w preview in the viewfinder?
Hmm #2: Right way up, yes. But backwards.

I have a Rolleiflex (circa 1960) which I very much enjoy using a few times a year for special situations. I actually didn't even know that they were ever made with ae shutter control! There's absolutely zero electricity in my Rolleiflex. All metering is done separately.

I see that there are a few Magics on eBay with prices ranging from $75 to $740. I wonder what they originally sold for? My guess is around $200 (1962). Anyone know the true answer?

Did they have "not mirrored left-to-right" in the advertising for the F or the M3? :-D

"...right way up...." They seem to have left out the part about reversed left to right.

Yes! That was a BIG deal. For a good part of photography’s history photographers viewed their subject up-side down and reversed (as in mirror image). This is the normal way a lens projects an image. To view the image “correctly” you need mirrors and or a pentaprism.

For people coming from a view camera, the viewfinder would seem bright and less messed up (just left-right reversed, not ALSO inverted).

But I, also, do not recall any cameras with a B&W viewfinder :-) before the digital era. Would have been handy, when shooting B&W film!

I didn't know that Rollei ever made a 2 1/4 TLR with auto-exposure. Learn something new every day!

I had one of these in the early 1960's - I don't imagine I paid more than about £40 for it, remembering my financial situation at the time (just left school, etc.). I didn't keep it long, as I couldn't get on with the lack of manual control. I don't think it took a battery, I am pretty sure that the automatic exposure worked on the trapped needle principle. I still have some negs taken on it, of my girlfriend at the time (who is now a pensioner). Sigh...

Upside down --Right to Left--Correct--Shot all formats for 55 years and after a while your brain compensates for them all.

Didn't matter what camera I was shooting with, it looked correct and right way round all the time. I could switch while shooting any of the 3 formats with out any problems. As far as B&W, after a few years everything translates to B&W if that's all you're shooting for. Even though I'm not color blind I still see lots of things in B&W while shooting and see B&W photos in color. It takes time and a lot of shooting. Turn the color off on your TV if you want to see in B&W--great learning tool.

I'm actually surprised to read the comments above objecting to the left-to-right reversal that you get with TLRs. I've been using a Cambo Wide 4x5 with a mirror viewer that, likewise, makes the image upright but doesn't correct the reversal. Apart from barely noticing the reversal, I sense it actually helps me evaluate the image as it removes it just slightly from reality. A month ago I bought a Mamiya C330S TLR for portraits and have really enjoyed using it, again barely noticing the left-to-right reversal. In view of the strident objections to reversal in the comments above, I have to wonder if it's a right brain / left brain thing.

Note the title: "Resistance is Futile". Sooner or later you will change.

Actually, I know exactly what you and Carl mean when you remark that abstracting the subject in the viewfinder seems to aid composition.

I don't use my Rolleiflex often enough to "object" to its mirroring viewfinder but it is an initial distraction and does require (re-) accustomization each time I use it, particularly shooting anything moving. Un-coupling and reversing your eye from your motor reflexes is far from natural for anyone. If I was shooting with such a camera daily I'm sure it would seem "natural" after a few days.

Tracking shots, across the frame, were always un-natural. The car passing from left to right became right to left in the viewfinder.

Still it was those big 6 x 6 trannies that always got me. Even when cut down to 4 x 4 to fit in a 35mm projector they still made 35mm look puny

I finally got myself a Rollei not that long ago, a 3.5F.
Buying it and then having it serviced by the seller's recommended technician was an adventure in itself!
The seller was a retired wedding photographer whose outfit owned 52 (yes that's fifty two) Rolleiflex, the greater percentage being 3.5F's, weren't convinced those new fangled 2.8's were as good.
His recommended technician, who serviced all his cameras lived not far, also retired, Sargon Evanian, 84 not out and still going strong, working from his home, serving me with Turkish Coffee and telling me tales of middle east intrigue, all the while with the camera in myriad pieces.

I bought a RolleiMagic new with a leather case from Sears in the early 1960's for $100.00. It was what Sears called a closeout or special buy. Serial # 2523952. The lens was Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5/75mm. It took great pictures. I shot mostly color slide film. The view finder was a real pain so I soon went back to shooting with my 35mm Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Alpha and then moved up to a Honeyewell Pentax Spotmatic in 1965.

Both the RolleiMagic and the Contaflex still work just fine, but I now shoot digital and love it. Bob

I have a partially disassembled RolleiMagic that belonged to my father. Unfortunately the selenium-cell meter stopped working long ago. And when the selenium dies, the Magic goes away.

(My father apparently tried to rig up a manual override of some kind. It should be possible, since the trap-needle meter system just uses mechanical aperture and shutter linkages, but neither he nor I have quite licked that problem yet. Fortunately I have two other non-magical Rolleiflexes so it's not a high priority.)

Why haven't Pentax put themselves on your site?
If a company ever needed to raise their visibility a little it would have to be them - and you a K20D user and all! (Not to mention your erstwhile and savvy readership).
Here in Oz its hard to see their brand - or products - anywhere. I sometimes wonder if they actually have a marketing division. Be interested to hear your take on this.
Dennis F.

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