Sunday, January 5, 2014

Rolleikin Installed - My Rolleicord is Now The Portrait Making Machine!

My Rolleicord
I recently picked up a Rolleikin 3.5 kit from KEH, for around $40, shipped. What's a Rolleikin, you may ask? It's a set of components (which comes in the nice zipper container on right), which allow you to load and shoot 35mm film in your medium format Rolleiflex or Rolleicord Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera. The neat thing is, the frame of the 35mm image will be oriented in portrait position, which should be a lot of fun.
(Click Here) to go to KEH, the best used camera store I know.
It took me a little while to figure out which Rolleikin kit I needed for my Rolleicord. The Rolleikin 3.5 fits Rolleicords with serial numbers higher than 1137000, and Rolleiflexes (with f3.5 lenses) with serial numbers above 1100000. My Rolleicord is number 1542806, so I'm in good shape.
Installation requires replacing one knob on the right side of the camera (while you're looking at the front of the camera), where you see the red check mark above. That's the only step that requires tools at all, a small screwdriver, to remove and replace three screws.
For complete installation instructions, (Click Here) to download the accessories manual from Be sure to donate a little something to Mr. Butkus (there's a simple Paypal "Donate" button on the site). I think $5 is appropriate for this manual, but that's up to you.
In any case, it took me about 20 minutes to get the kit full installed and working. It's really quite cool. Here's what the 35mm film guide looks like installed:
Rolleikin Installed
So, you can see that this should be an ideal setup for shooting portraits. I think for head shots, it'll require using the Rolleinar closeup lenses (simple screw-in filter type closeup lenses), which I have. The Rolleinar also makes the depth of field more shallow, which should be great for portraiture. Wider portraits won't need the Rolleinar.
So, I can't wait to get some film in this old beast and give it a try! I'll report back once I have some results to share.