Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rolleicord III (K3B) and Focusing Screen

My Rolleicord III, sitting there being all awesome.
The Rolleicord is certainly the camera that got me back into film photography.  My Rolleicord III (along with a Rollei 35 that will surely be the subject of a later post) was given to me as a gift from my stepdad when he was getting rid of some of his unused equipment.

At the time, I had just dug myself even deeper into the digital camp by selling my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and buying the updated Mark III, but I was excited by the unexpected gift and couldn't wait to try it out (even though I knew absolutely nothing about Rollei). Medium format went off my radar when I went digital in 2003 but ever since the day I bought my first 35mm SLR in 1992, it had been a dream of mine. If I had known that quality, affordable 120 cameras like this were around I probably would have started a long time ago!

If you are unfamiliar with twin lens reflex cameras, their operation and build is relatively simple compared to SLR's.  The lower "taking lens" projects the image onto the film when
the shutter opens, and the light from the upper "viewing lens" is projected upward via a 45-degree mirror onto a matte viewing surface which is used to focus and compose.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Recesky TLR DIY Kit

Recesky DIY TLR, assembled.
The Recesky DIY TLR fascinates me for some reason. It's basically a super cheap (about US$15) kit that resembles one of those inexpensive airplane model kits that you can get at any hobby shop. Everything is molded plastic, all in the same color, with a few springs and a bag of screws, and two plastic lenses.

Everything is reduced to its component parts, so I found it pretty interesting, especially building out the shutter mechanism. Of course it's tragically basic, but it was still cool to put it all together and see it work.

Once fully assembled, you have a basic, no frills TLR; it has a flip-up hood that you can open to expose the matte waist-level finder, which like any TLR is reflecting an image back from the viewing lens (in reverse). The two lenses are linked by gear teeth so that when the viewing lens is being focused, the taking lens is focused by the same amount.

The shutter trips at what I can only imagine is a somewhat approximate 1/125 second, it's basically a spring-loaded piece of plastic that swings out and springs back when you press down on the shutter release lever, located at the front of the camera.  The aperture is fixed at f/11, so really the only actual exposure control you have is changing up the film speed when you switch rolls.