Rolleiflex 2.8E
Posted 8-20-'02

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1. Focusing magnifier ~ 16
2. Magnifier flap ~ 16 
3. Focusing hood ~ 16 
4. Locking clip for back hinge ~ 37 
5. Neck strap ~ 12 
6. Film frame counter window ~ 40 
7. Crank release (to retention shutter for double exposures) ~ 30 
8. Light value scale ~ 24 
9. Film advance and shutter tensioning crank ~ 30
10. Shutter release guard ~ 30
11. Shutter release with cable release socket ~ 30
12. Locating sockets for panorama
13. Back lack clip ~ 36
14. Pin-socket for Rolleikin direct view finder mask ~ 17
15. Direct view finder panel ~17
16. Sensitivity range control ~ 19
17. Photo-cell ~ 19
18. Attaching diffuser ~ 20
19. Indicator window for shutter and diaphragm settings ~ 26
20. Synchro lever (also serves as cocking lever far self-timer) ~ 31
21. Double bayonet mount for lens accessories and lens hood (bayonet size 111)
22. Viewing lens
23. Locking button ~ 24
24. Diaphragm control ~ 24
25. Shutter speed control ~ 24
27. Locking device for flash card plug ~ 33
28. Flash cable socket ~ 32

29. Tripod socket ~ 37

30. Back locking lever ~ 36

31. Adjustable film pressure plate ~ 38

32. Combination back for No. 120 (B 11 8) and 35 mm film ~ 36

33. Winding key far take-up spool ~ 38

34. Anti-reflection

35. Automatic film feeler mechanism rollers ~ 40


36. Automatic depth-of-field indication ~ 26
37. Focusing scale ~ 26
38. Light value indication ~ 19
39. Adjusting for film speed ~19
40. Measuring portion of exposure meter ~ 19
41. Adjustment of film type and speed reminder ~ 19
42. Exposure meter adjustment ring ~ 19
43. Focusing knob ~ 26
44. Film-spool knob (Rolleikin rewinding knob) ~ 38
45. Magnifier lifting handle ~ 16
46. Rear sight for direct view finder ~ 17
47. Magnifier for eye-level focusing ~ 17
48. Retaining device far Rolleigrid lens ~16
49. Take-up spool knob (Rolleikin counter knob) ~ 38
50. Light value table far time exposures ~ 23
51. Focal or film plane (focusing distances measured from this line)


Click here for the image "PREPARING TO SHOOT"

As today's example of a practical precision camera, the Rollei offers not only the highest degree of performance and optical quality, but also all the ease of use one could wish for. Just three controls and three operations suffice for everyday use. Correct operation is simplicity itself. Because of the virtues of its design and construction, Rollei easily copes with all the special tasks that the photographer who wishes to take full advantage of his and its capabilities will set himself.

The following pages constitute a detailed "Instructions for Rollei-Photography" and therefore will be suitable even for later reference. The illustrations will quickly acquaint you with the handling characteristics and operations. Moreover, if you wish to get into photographic action immediately, note that everything important is especially emphasized by arrows in the fallowing abstract.


6.  I. A Brief Rolleiflex.


12.  II. Rolleiflex in Operation

12. Neck Strap 
13. Ever Ready Case 
13. Lens Cap 
14. Holding the Camera 
16. Focusing Hood 
16. Focusing Magnifier 
17. Direct View Finder 
19. Exposure Meter 
20. Measuring reflected and incident light


24. Light Value (shutter speed and diaphragm combination) 
26. Sharpness and Depth of-field 
30. Shutter Tensioning 
30. Releasing 
31. Self-Timer
32. III. Flashlight Technique
36. IV. Landing and Film Transport
36. Back
38. Inserting the Film Spool
40. Threading the Film
40. Film Transport
43. Film Reminder



44. V. Tips on Picture Taking


22. Light Values
23. Light Value and time Exposures
25. Speed of Moving Objects and Shutter Speeds
29. Depth of Field 
34. Flash-Contact and Shutter Speeds
43. Speed of Emulsions
55. Color Conversion Filters
56. Rollei Filters
58. Rolleinars
59. Practical Accessories


In the Rolleiflex two separate cameras are joined in a twin-camera with a common sturdy die-cast body: the bottom half is the taking-camera, in which the film is exposed, and the upper half is the viewing-camera, which is designed on the mirror-reflex principle. Its special task is to make the focusing visible on the ground glass and to supply o control image essentially similar to that of the prospective

The image forming rays are transmitted by the fully open viewing lens, projected on to the ground glass screen via the mirror and the result is a right-side-up ground glass image, in the full size of the original picture. This viewing image is visible at all times and every detail of composition and framing may be watched even during exposure.

The ground glass screen is ruled with a number of vertical and horizontal lines making it possible to detect errors, such as lines which converge but should be parallel or a slanting horizon, in time to notice and correct them. It is easy to straighten or level the camera by means of the lines on the ground glass screen.
Above all, the ground glass screen provides the means for focusing the camera. This is accomplished by rotating the focusing knob. Both lenses, which are inflexibly coupled to each other by means of a sturdy common front plate, are thereby adjusted simultaneously a sharp viewing image therefore guarantees an equally sharp picture. Since the Rolleiflex is equipped with o fast viewing lens and on optically prepared ground glass screen, the viewing image is extremely bright and clear and focusing can be done very critically.

The focusing hood, which is designed far one-hand operation is kept in both open and closed positions by spring tension. It is equipped with o swinging magnifier. It offers at approximately 2.5 times magnification of the entire ground gloss image, a still more precise means for focusing the

If the front panel of the focusing hood is pushed inward,~ it is transformed into a direct view finder; through which the subject may be seen in natural size making it particularly easy to follow fast action. In this case it is still possible at all times to maintain control over focus this is mode possible by means of a second magnifier in the back of focusing hood, and a diagonally mounted mirror. A slight raising or lowering of the Rolleiflex is all that is required to alternate between the right-side-up open view in the direct finder, and the reversed center portion of the ground gloss focusing image. The fact that the two finder openings are located so close together, enables quick framing of the subject offer focusing. The usefulness of the open direct view finder is thereby enhanced for sports pictures.

Focusing the front lens panel throughout the range from no (infinity) -- 40 inches (distances measured from the focal or film plane to the subject) is accomplished by nearly one full turn of the focusing knob. The special design of the focusing mechanism (a cam drive based on the principle of the Archimedes spiral) insures uniform movement of the lens panel in both directions without play or

Tied in with the movement of the lenses is a simple sliding mechanism, located beneath the ground glass, providing completely automatic parallax compensation. Consequently, the final picture is always framed exactly as originally viewed an the ground glass screen. Similarly complete control is had even when using supplementary Rolleinor lenses for close-up work because of the prism which is built into the Heidosmat-Rolleinar.

The exposure meter is made up of the light sensitive element, or photo-cell, in the name plate of the camera and the measuring mechanism in the focusing knob. It can be adjusted far two ranges of sensitivity In brilliant light the photo-cell is partially covered by an opaque shutter behind the honey comb lenses of the photo-cell. In dim light the photo-cell receives all the light coming through the honey comb far full sensitivity. The reading is supplied in the form of the light value far the film speed being used. The light value can be obtained by measuring the light reflected from the object or scene, or the incident light, through the attachable diffuser.

The Synchro-Compur-Shutter is adjusted automatically for the correct exposure when set to the previously determined light value. After this is done the two controls (speed and diaphragm) may be lacked together by the very simply operated coupling button. Shutter speed and companion diaphragm opening may thereafter be changed at will, within the available range of operation, using a single control and without altering the exposure. Each speed-diaphragm combination appears, as the control is turned, in the peep window in front of the ground glass. When required the two controls may be separately adjusted by merely uncoupling the

The depth-of-field indicator on the focusing knob is permanently coupled to the diaphragm and indicates by means of a white band, that portion of the field which is in the actual range at sharpness

Since the two lenses are of identical focal length (f = 80 mm, picture angle Across diagonal, 53) it follows that the image in both sections of the camera will always be critically focused on the same portion of the subject simultaneously. The f :2.8 taking lens is a five glass construction with two cemented elements (modified Gauss-type) and features outstanding correction for black and white and color pictures, while the viewing-Heidosmat f 2.8 lens meets with the special requirements for critical ground glass screen focusing. Both lenses are treated with abrasion resistant coating. The bayonet receptacles circling the mounts are intended far attaching the lens hood and supplementary optical accessories, which in this way will be held' in optically correct position and form a solid unit with the camera.

The removable combination bark is attached to the camera by means of two hinges with automatic lack and at the bottom it contains the tripod socket and the safety back lock. Its adaptability for the two picture sizes 2 1/4 X 2 1/4" and 24X36 mm is the result of the adjustable film pressure plate which can be set for 120 (B II 8)-film (with paper backing), or for 35 mm film (without paper backing) when used in conjunction with the Rolleikin attachment. In bath cases a film channel is created with a width that corresponds to the thickness of the film being used. Thus the film can be properly held in the focal plane, and also can slide through without undue friction when

The quick acting crank coupled with an automatic gear mechanism performs five important functions with each pendulum swing 
1. advances film to next frame, 
2. advances film frame counter, 
3. tensions the shutter, 
4. releases shutter lock, 
5. engages film lack. 
The shutter release and film advance crank are lacked and unlocked alternately, thereby offering full insurance against double exposures or skipped frames.

For intentional double exposures the crank must be unlocked at the crank base Turning the crank a full turn to the left cocks the shutter again without advancing the film.

Automatic stops limit the extent of crank swing. With the increasing thickness of the film on the take-up spool the crank swing decreases from 3/4 Of a turn in the beginning to just under 1/2 turn at the end of the roll. Thus the film is always advanced exactly one full

In addition to this, each swing of the crank automatically brings up the next number in the film counter window.

The positioning of the film so that the first frame is correctly placed also is accomplished automatically. After inserting the full film spool in the bottom chamber, the paper leader must be passed through the two feeler rollers and drawn up an to the empty take-up spool. The feeler rollers will allow uninterrupted passage of the thin backing paper. Only when the increased thickness (at the point where film joins paper) goes through the rollers, does the automatic tripping mechanism allow the counter to go into action. The crank continues briefly and then stops, firmly--the film has reached the position for exposure No.1. The pressure of the rollers is released immediately after the passage of the film's beginning so that the rest of the roll will slip through freely.

After the twelfth exposure, the counter mechanism automatically disengages and the crank turns freely, permitting the complete winding up of the fully exposed film.

Neck Strap

The neck strap is adjustable and is secured by a unique quick fastening device; it serves also as the carrying case strap (I).

To Fasten: insert the retaining prongs at the ends of the strap into the camera's strap holders and snap closed (2).
To Release: press the retaining prongs together and remove strap.

Ever Ready Carrying Case
To Open: release snap on back and open cover forward(3). Before closing set camera to focus an infinity.
Removing the Camera: detach the neck strap (2) lift crank outward, spread the sides of the case slightly and pull camera forward (4).
Inserting the Camera: spread the two sides of the case slightly, guide the raised crank through opening from the inside and lower the camera backwards into the case; fasten the

The film can be changed without completely disengaging the camera from the case. Merely unfasten the strap an the left (focusing) side of camera and refasten it to the camera only, on the inside of the case. Remove camera from case, leaving the case still attached through the strap fastening on the right side. A reverse procedure, taking care that crank handle protrudes through the opening will get the camera and case together again in shooting and carrying position.

Lens Cap

The upper part is attached in front of the viewing lens by bayonet mounting and the lower part through friction fit.

Removal of Lens Cop: lift the rawer port by the tab at the lower edge and fold it against the upper part (5). Remove cap from the bayonet by turning it counter-clockwise 1/4 of a turn (6).
Attaching Lens Cap: fit the folded cap into the bayonet of the viewing lens -- hinge pointing to the right (focusing knob) -- and fasten it with a 1/4 turn clockwise. Fold down the lower part and snap into place.

Holding the Camera
Basic rule camera hanging around the neck with taut strap and the camera held firmly by bath hands. The right hand grasps the camera at the bottom, the index finger on the shutter release, the thumb supporting the uplifted crank (quick handling of the film transport: ~ p. 42). The left hand does the focusing (1). In this position diaphragm and shutter controls may be operated

The camera is usually carried with a taut strap over the shoulder. The strap remains taut and gives required steadiness when using ground glass (2). When using the magnifier, merely farm a loop to shorten the strap, using the thumb of the right hand and adjusting camera to required position (3). This method of holding will aid materially in achieving the steadiness required far sharp pictures.

Caution: a wrong or uncomfortable "grip" may cause you to lift inadvertently the hanging top of the ever ready case.

In order to assure solid contact when working with a tripod, do not use the ever ready case. Far a practical method of quick mounting: use the Rollei tripod head !

Waist-level or eye-level positions for the camera are considered normal for most pictures. The extremely flexible Rollei, however, readily permits exposures at or near floor level, overhead, shooting straight up or down. and occasionally, surprise snaps 'around, the corner'. The illustrations (4 - 7) show a few possibilities for such pictures with the camera in different positions.

Focusing Hood

To Open: lift the rear edge of the focusing hood cover Spring tension keeps it open (1)
To Close: pull back focusing hood (2)
Note: the focusing hood may be closed only with the magnified in folded position.

The focusing hood may also be closed with the same hand movement that closes the ever ready case. The push-button at the rear of the focusing hood serves to hold the Rolleigrid lens or the Rolleikin ground glass screen mask.

Focusing Magnifier

To Raise: pull release lever in the open focusing hood upwards - the magnifier springs into position (3).
To Lower (before closing the focusing hood) push down magnifier flap until it snaps into position. Avoid touching the lens itself (4).
Use of the Magnifier: use the magnifier as close to the eye as possible.

The magnifier is interchangeable and may be replaced tar the convenience of near or far sighted people. Strengths from minus three to plus three diopters ore

Direct View Finder

To Open (after raising the magnifier): push the direct view finder flap inwards until it snaps into place (5).
To Close: depress magnifier flap slightly - the direct view finder panel immediately returns to nor- position (6).

The subject is viewed at eye-level through the direct view finder and focusing may be checked by means of the second (also interchangeable) magnifier.

The two pin sockets and small knob on the front of the hood permit attachment of the Rolleikin direct view finder mask.

Changing Magnifier (if eyesight demands)

To Remove: pull back ring mount against retaining spring and lift out. To insert put into position (back first), pull back against spring and snap dawn.

Rear Magnifier: to remove push in slightly at tap and lift out. To insert slip magnifier (white dot uppermost) between retaining springs-- push down until it snaps into place.


Exposure Meter

Adjusting to DIN/ASA Speed Ratings: turn the adjusting ring beyond the left or right stop Ad, until the correct speed rating appears above the indicator mark. The dots are for the usual intermediate half value DIN/ASA graduations.

Setting Sensitivity Range: in bright light move control (corner of nameplate) to upper stop so that red dot is covered -- use forward light value window (1). In weak light, move control downward, uncovering red dot--use red light value window (2). 
Measuring far Light Value: turn adjusting ring
(3) until red and black indicators are exactly covered-- read the indicated full or half-value in the appropriate light value window. If the indicators do not reach covering change the range with the sensitivity

The exposure meter is ruggedly built and will withstand the strangest light in bath ranges of measurement.


Two methods of measurement permit Rollei to master all light conditions

Reflected light or object measurement (Measuring the light reflected by the subject)

Advantage: Aiming camera in direction of subject is convenient. The meter covers the angle covered by the film so that it is very easy to point camera correctly, even when measuring light from specific objects or details.

Application: For block and white shots with well balanced differences in light (and strode) --for color shots with front lighting or with light partially from the side without visible shadows being included in picture.

For measuring details: When details ore most important and if subject is unevenly lit.

To get reading: Aim at subject or detail with ground glass and read light value in this position (1).

Incident light measurement with Diffuser (Measuring the light as it falls on the subject)

Advantage: Measuring incident light gives light value even in those cases where measurement of light from subject great detail cannot be achieved.

Application: For unbalanced lighting conditions when it is not possible to measure, separately, details important to the picture. Also for Rolleinar shots.

To get reading: Place diffuser in position over holding knobs on the photo-cell and aim in direction directly opposite to that to be used when shot is made. Example from subject to intended camera position, or (in open air) towards a place with same light conditions. Read off light value (2).

The sun or other strong sources of light may adversely affect the reading even when located outside the immediate angle covered by the picture. Shade the cell in such cases at a distance of about 20 inches.

Reflected light or subject measurements represent the norm, the most used method, when light and shade are about evenly apportioned throughout the picture. The measured light value corresponds to the overall brightness of the subject.

Detail measurements become necessary when either very light or very cork areas prevail. In this case individual measurements are token of the light and dark areas, and a mid-point light value is used. When advisable, this method can be varied to favor either the light or dark areas, whichever is more important. If the subject point of interest varies greatly in brightness from the rest of the picture, take the reading directly from this portion of the picture. Example a person in front of a light wall or, conversely before a very cork entrance. In both cases, take reading directly from the

Additional Hints:
1. When measuring light from landscape, tilt camera forward to favor ground over sky.
2. Take close-up readings when the reading from the whole picture does not favor main port of subject. For instance, measure the face in a portrait.
3. When a subject cannot be approached conveniently for measuring, choose a nearby substitute object of same brightness. Example animals in enclosures at a distance.

Incident light measurements (with diffuser) are often token as substitutes for averaged detail measure- A light value for overage brightness of subject results. For subjects of great contrast, the measured light value should be varied (usually 1/2 light value) according to whether the important part of the picture is lighter or darker than the average. Examples: Rolleinar shots of small objects as for instance, a light or brilliant blossom with dark background. Shots in shade with strong rays of sunshine. Objects with brilliant sky background. Against-the-light portraits. Pictures including bright reflections from snow, water, beach.

Click here to see the "LIGHT VALUES with adjustable speed-diaphragm combinations

Black and white films have great exposure latitude. Over-exposure can largely be offset by proper processing of the negative. Under-exposure, however, results in loss of shadow detail. A time-tried rule is to expose for the shadows, generally. If in doubt, it is better to err towards over rather than underexposure.

Color films have considerably less exposure latitude and strong lighting contrasts cannot be represented properly. Failure to observe this characteristic will result in changed color values. Over-exposure, in the case of color transparency films will be indicated by pale, washed put colors. Under-exposure will cause the colors to appear excessively deep, although this is sometimes an advantage. Unless you are going after a special effect, adhere strictly to this rule: Expose color film as exactly as possible and avoid excessive contrasts. Dark subjects tend to appear too deep in projection, even with good lighting and seemingly correct exposure. The opposite is true of light colored objects. Therefore, a second rule: Expose dark subjects fully ( - 1/2 light value) and light subjects sparingly ( + 1/2 light value).

Light values and time exposures
Below light value 8, the shutter runs out of suitable speeds and time exposures must be used.  Wit h the shutter speed dial set at "B", appropriate exposure times and diaphragm openings may be chosen from the table on the back of the camera. The measured light value is located at the tap, and the desired diaphragm opening at the left of the table. Where these columns cross the time of exposure, in seconds will be found. Example light value 4, diaphragm 11, 8 seconds. When the shutter is set at 'B', change diaphragm opening by operating the control with the coupling button depressed. The light value scale on the speed control is inoperative in this range.

Light value (Shutter speed and diaphragm) 

A. Normal case: Adjustment with speed-diaphragm coupling 

To couple speed and diaphragm: Align the coupling button with the marks on the diaphragm control wheel (1).

Adjusting the light value: Temporarily decouple by depressing the button and set to desired full or huff light value by turning speed control (a). If the light value cannot be reached before a stop is encountered, release the button, turn back the speed control and repeat the above operation.

Adjusting speed and diaphragm: Turn the speed control ring or, even better, turn both control wheels simultaneously in the same direction (3)

B. Special case: Adjustment without speed-diaphragm coupling

To uncouple: Set the coupling button so that it is diagonal to the marks an the central wheel (4)

Adjusting speed and diaphragm: Operate both control wheels independently. This manner of operation is usually used with flash, when the light value is not measured.

chart of "Speed of Moving Subjects"

Moving Objects require short shutter speeds in order to be reproduced sharply. Far this purpose the table contains computed minimum values, depending on the factors: speed, distance and direction.

Taking distance: the yard-column on the left stands for sufficient sharpness (f/1400), the yard column on the right for increased sharpness (f/2000, ~ p. 28). In spite of these normally correct figures, it is often possible in actual photography to use longer shutter speeds. This is because the eye interprets slight unsharpness as giving an added impression of speed.

Long arrow = direction movement.

A short arrow = taking direction ( -> up to 10, angle up to 30 and straight up arrow, up to 90 to the direction of movement).

Shutter Speed
The shutter speed chosen must be suited to the speed of motion of the subject ( ~ page 25). The Synchro Compur shutter can be adjusted to the above designated speeds. Distinct click stops will be felt as each speed is reached and in-between speeds cannot be used. 1/60th sec. is the most commonly used speed, minimizing camera movement nicely. Shutter speeds longer than 1/30th sec. are not generally safe, except with a tripod. The figures indicating speed appear in the peep window in red and represent fractions of seconds; for example 30 = 1/30 sec. The green letter "B" setting permits longer time exposures. When using any combination of speed and diaphragm the setting of the speed must appear exactly in the center of the peep window.

Diaphragm--Sharpness--Depth of Field
The adjusted diaphragm opening figures appear in the peep window in black. The lines between the figures indicate mid paint diaphragm openings. Either the figure or the half-value mark will be in the center of the peep window. When uncoupled, the diaphragm may be set anywhere, at will.

The diaphragm, amongst other things, regulates depth of field. Best sharp focusing technique requires that the area of sharpest focus be used to bracket the principal abject in the picture. Of course, sufficient definition should also be present both before and behind the paint of focus. The zone of this depth of field sharpness can be artfully enlarged. It is increased bath by closing down the diaphragm and taking the picture from a greater distance.

If the subject has an extended-depth (for example, landscape with foreground), you must either change the speed-diaphragm combination to one with a smaller opening, or move back with the camera.

The range of the depth of field covered by any given setting is shown by the white band adjacent to the distance. scale. The indicator is coupled to, and changes with, the diaphragm.

1. Example: Focusing on 12 ft with diaphragm at f 8 provides a depth of field from approximately 10 to 15 ft.
 Focusing on 12 ft with diaphragm at 22 provides, an the other hand, an increased depth of field from 7.5 to 40 ft.

Very small diaphragm openings usually require excessively long exposure times so that same compromise is sometimes necessary:

2. Example: The subject requires a sharpness range from 8 to 15 ft (both figures may be ascertained exactly by focusing separately on the two points which bracket the subject). Solution: focus on the midpoint between the two distance figures and change the diaphragm so that the white band reaches bath figures. In this way you will have selected the most favorable stop, in this instance f:11.

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