Frank & Heidecke
Excellent! 1938 Rolleiflex Automat, 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’s often mentioned on photographic websites as an excellent way to get into medium format. It’s a very famous design, which just like Leica, inspired countless copies over the decades.
This is a fine, early example of the camera that started it all. This is the first version of the Rolleiflex Automat and it is unique in that there is no bayonet mount on the top f2.8/ Heidoscop-Anastigmat focus lens. Only the bottom 3.5/75mm Tessar has a bayonet mount for lens shades and accessory filters. This model was introduced and produced in Germany by Frank & Heidecke in 1937 starting with serial number 568516 (and ended in 1939 with serial number 805,000.)
The serial number of the camera we have up for auction is camera is 729951. The lens serial number indicates that it was produced in 1938 as Europe slid ever closer to the dark years of WWII. Understandably an early Rolleiflex is a desirable and significant camera. It can be difficult to find early examples in good working condition. Many were used by war photographers during WWII and subsequently damaged, worn out or lost in action…
It uses normal 120 roll film.
Nearly 80 years after it was produced, this Rolleiflex is still in excellent condition and thanks to the careful attention we’ve given it, everything on this camera works. As is nearly always the case, the original mirror is oxidized but it still produces a usable image on the viewfinder glass Everything has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Focusing is accurate. The film advance and film counter works correctly. The Compur-Rapid shutter fires 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. Unusual for this era, the shutter is synchronized for flash. It’s been re-adjusted & tested and now works with a normal electronic flash. (Rather than flash bulbs.) Your flash will fire correctly at any desired shutter speed. This is of course a very convenient feature for flash fill.
The sharp Zeiss 3.5/75mm Tessar lens (four elements in three groups) is in excellent condition. This lens is very clean. There are no scratches, no cleaning marks. There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and black & white films.
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 classic vintage 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