Frank & Heidecke
1938 Rolleiflex Automat, Freshly Serviced, with leather case. FRESHLY SERVICED!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
Recently I’ve been going through my collection of cameras in an attempt to reorganize things, trying to decide what to keep and what to sell on ebay, when I came across this lovely Rolleiflex. 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 was often mentioned by 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 an very early example of the camera that started it all. This is the first version of the Rolleiflex Automat and it is unique in that it does not have a bayonet mounts on the top f2.8/ Heidoscop-Anastigmat lens. Only the bottom 3.5/75mm Tessar has a bayonet mount for lens shades and accessory filters. This model was introduced by Frank & Heidecke in 1937 starting with serial number 568516.
The serial number of the camera we have up for auction is camera is 618878. Understandably such 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…
78 years after it was produced, this Rolleiflex is still in excellent condition and it works very nicely. It uses easily available 120 roll film. Additionally, it’s been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Focusing is accurate. The Compur-Rapid shutter functions 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 Carl Zeiss 3.5/75mm Tessar lens (four elements in three groups) is in fine condition protected from serious harm for years by the camera case. It does have cleaning marks but you’ll need a magnifier to see them. This lens is very clean and clear. There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
It comes complete with a used brown leather camera case.
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…
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