A friend of mine, Nigel, is a professional photographer. We’ve chatted a little bit about photography – I want to pick his brain a bit more, but I’m way of ‘busman’s holiday’-type problems about asking him a million questions.
So I was picking up my daughter who’d been round at his house (his daughter and mine are in the same class at school) and we were talking as usual about photography when we brought out his lovely Rolleiflex and asked if I wanted to borrow it for a bit to try it out. Of course, I immediately said yes!
I’ve been looking at them a while but hadn’t really considered getting one.They are a little out of my budget, but they have this great ‘olden days’ feel to them.
With a little bit of research I think it’s a Rolleiflex 3.5 F Model 3 (type K4F). It loads 120 format film, which I’d gotten used to a bit using in my Diana F+.
I’d gotten frustrated with the Diana. Whilst it can take a nice picture, many things have to be in alignment. it’s not a reflex, so what you see in the viewfinder isn’t what’s actually in the frame. No lightmeter so you have to judge the exposure yourself, along with minimal apeture control, and literally only two speeds of shutter – open and shut or ‘bulb’ mode.
So I was eager to see what the Rolleiflex could do.
I’d looked at a couple of videos on youtube of how to load the film, it’s pretty simple really – just make sure you have it go through the roller at the bottom which is how the camera knows it has film loaded. Crank the winder so that the start line on the paper backing loads up with the line specified on the camera, close it up and off you go. You have to make sure the winder it wound the other way to ‘cock’ the shutter.
I went out with my friend Rob who was keen to get some pictures taken and we had a lovely walk in South Manchester. It took a little bit of adjusting to get things lined up in the viewfinder properly. It shows things backwards so it’s a bit like doing things in a mirror.
I found the meter pretty easy to use, it’s just a matter of trusting it. However, later on in the roll I was a little too relaxed with it and took some very underexposed indoor shots. The film was HP5 ISO400, so probably would have struggled. It’s something I want to work on a bit, perhaps I need to push it a bit to 800 or 1600, but obviously then you’re doing it for the whole roll?
I developed the shots the next day and was overall quite pleased with the pictures.
Nigel hasn’t asked for it back yet, so I’m wondering if I can get away with putting another roll through it…