Some very first notes on the Rolleiflex T09. March 2019 | link this post
I used to own a Rolleiflex SLX and when I didn't really grow warm with my Pentacon Six this got me to thinking maybe I should go with a Rollei again. After all that SLX had been a great camera, the 6000series SLR just wasn't for me. Thus I got to thinking about what to do. I like the flexibility that comes with a system like the Hasselblad 500 series but I simply thought them a bit to expensive. I'm sure they are worth every penny but I wasn't sure I'd make to much use of the full system they are offering. This brought me to look at the Rolleiflexes, those can get expensive as well but its a bit easier to get into and also a little more compact to have with you.
The camera I have gotten is the Rolleiflex T and it came with a gorgeous Zeiss Tessar 75mm f3,5 lens, by the serial number is should be from the early sixties. The T was made to be a bit more affordable, however that still meant really high quality in the sixties. It lacks the automatic film-detection of some of the more expensive Rolleiflexes and also comes without a light-meter. Another difference to the "big" models is in its handling: instead to two rotating knobs next to the lenses there is a slider along the taking lens that can be slided up and down and also pressed in to control both values. When it's used while pressed in it changes f-stop and shutter-speed at the same time, keeping the EV constant. I'll get into this in more detail at a later point, suffice to say that after a bit of getting used to it it's really nice because you can control you exposure with one single control-input.
If you want to read more then I can say right now about the different models of Rolleiflexes, rolleigraphy.org has a lot of interesting information.
A first walk with the camera
I used my lunchbreak they day after I got the camera to take a walk, get a feel for the camera and expose a roll of HP5+ so that I'd see if the camera is alright. After my initial impressions had already been very positive the camera really is a joy to use. Because of the way you are holding a TLR (or most medium-format SLRs) and the quite shutter it feels very inconspicous to use, too.
After developing the film the image-quality on this camera is aboslutely great, I had expected nothing less. All images in this post were shot in Ilford HP5+ and developed in Rodinal. While the grain in a film like HP5+ is quite pronounced in 35mm format it looks really pleasant - visible but not too visible - in the 120 image. I am sure that there are visible differences to the models with different lenses and that there are good arguments for chosing one over the other. For me these things come down to be rather subjective, and to that extend I can simply say that I find the images this camera produces very pleasant.