Frank & Heidecke
1934 Old Standard Rolleiflex, Freshly Serviced, CLA’d
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
If you’re familiar with the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord cameras you’ll know that it’s considered a cult classic by many fans. It was the camera of choice by pros until the middle of the 1960’s. And even today it’s still a camera that is often mentioned by websites as an excellent way to get into medium format photography. It’s a very famous design that just like Leica, inspired countless copies over the decades.
This is an early example of the camera that started it all. This is the original “Old Standard” Rolleiflex introduced by Frank & Heidecke in 1932, starting with serial number 200,000. It was the very first Rolleiflex that was designed to use 120 roll-film. This model ended production at serial no. 567550 in 1938. The serial number of the camera in this listing is 344728, and the lens serial number is 1568673. This indicates that this camera was produced in circa 1934.) Understandably such an early Rolleiflex is a desirable and significant camera. It can be difficult to find an early prewar example in good working condition. They were often used by war correspondents and photographers during WWII and subsequently many were worn out, damaged or lost in action…
After 84 years, other than missing a small strut on the collapsible hood, it has survived in outstanding condition. The hood still easily opens and closes as it should and most collectors would agree that the years have been kind to it. It uses easily available 120 roll film, it is fully functional and ready for immediate use. So, if you’ve been looking for a fine prewar camera to admire and use, then this might be it. It’s honest, historic, significant and enjoyable to use.
It’s been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Focusing is accurate. The camera is just as it left the factory and still has its original viewfinder mirror. The mirror has some age-related marks but this has no effect on the viewfinder image which is clean and clear. The Compur shutter works well and all speeds (T,B, 1 Sec-1/500th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along nicely and the faster ones are clean and snappy. The sharp Zeiss 3.5/75mm Tessar lens (four elements in three groups) is in exceptionally fine condition. The glass is very clean and clear. There are no scratches, just a few light cleaning wisps (but you’ll need a magnifier to see them). There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
Additionally the camera has a nice archaic detail that aids in the use of the so called “action finder”. In the center of the cross-hair sight is a small circular mirror that reflects the eye of the photographer. When you see your own iris in this mirror, then the sight is perfectly centered for accurate framing and allows you to quickly compose shots.
All in all, a very enjoyable vintage camera. Load it with your favorite film and keep it handy for that perfect shot you’ve been looking for. You know the one... the one with the perfect Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing that you had a vintage medium format camera with you…
Search terms: Carl Zeiss Jena, Tessar, 75mm, 7,5cm, Compur Rapid shutter, medium format, TLR, twin lens reflex, prewar, pre-war, camera, Heidoscope, Rolleidoscop 120 film, authentic, original, vintage, WWII, WW2, reenactor, re-enactor, signal corps, USAAF, war correspondent, war photographer, Frank & Heidecke, Germany