1934 Rolleicord (Part 2)

I recently wrote an article about my new-found love for medium format film photography and my late grandad's antique TLR Rolleicord at the same time showing you a few examples of what I've shot so far. Here are 2 more, of course with some light leaks but I think it is part of the charm of using an old camera.


Launched in November 1933 by German manufacturer Franke & Heidecke following the success of early Rolleiflex models, the model 1 aka Rolleicord "Art Deco" (nicknamed after its trompe l'oeil diamond pattern) was being sold for $62.50. This may not seem like much but in today's money this is the equivalent of $1100 or £655. This particular model was sold until 1936 and a total of 32,508 were produced.

I'm told my grandad bought his, second hand, in the mid 1930's. Cameras and photography back then were certainly not accessible to everyone, unlike today with camera phones.

In the French advert above, the key selling point of twin reflex cameras, such as the Rolleicord or Rolleiflex, was the fact you can shoot all year round even in lower light conditions such as grey weather or snow. Hardly something to be excited about when buying a camera today!

The very attractive nickel plated Rolleicord 1, with its fixed Zeiss Triotar f4.5/75mm lens, was aimed at people who didn't want to compromise on image quality yet couldn't necessarily afford the more expensive Rolleiflex.

Vivian Maier, Helmut Newton, Robert Capa, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Doisneau are only a few examples of many famous photographers who used Rolleiflex cameras for their professional work.

Celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, James Franco, James Dean, Grace Kelly and Natalie Portman are also known for their keen interest in these excellent cameras.

The Rolleicord is a perfect introduction to medium format cameras, it's fun, reliable and easy to use. And since mine which was once my grandad's is 80yr old and still shoots well, one could say they are very durable.

What I like most when using this camera is that I rediscover the simple joy of taking photos for no other reason than just taking photos. It's not about likes, re-tweets, etc... It costs quite a bit to develop the film so I have to think a lot more about what I want to shoot which is a very good exercise. And then there is the excitement of how the shots will come out and I'm actually surprised that all so far have turned out well.

This is something I recommend to anyone with a passion for photography. The feeling of holding and looking at a photo shot on film simply can't be replicated with digital, as much as I am a digital photographer.

What's your experience with film photography? Share your views by leaving a comment!

You may also be interested in Part 1 of Photography with grandad's 1934 Rolleicord