Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Baby Rolleiflex 4x4

The Rolleiflex 4x4, also know as the "Gray" or "Baby" Rolleiflex, is a twin lens reflex camera that was produced between 1957-1963.  They were originally made by the German camera manufacturer Franke & Heidecke (current Rolleiflex TLRs are made by DHW Fototechnik, a group formed by the former employees of Franke & Heidecke).  Double lens cameras were first developed in 1870, but Rollei helped to popularize the TLR camera with the well designed and well built Rolleiflex and Rolleicord cameras.  By 1929, the Rolleiflex was mass marketed and widely imitated, so it's no wonder that the Rollei name goes hand-in-hand with the evolution of twin lens reflex cameras.


This particular Rolleiflex 4x4 was made with a gray leather finish, hence the "Gray" nickname.  While most TLRs use 120 roll film, the "Baby" Rolleiflex model uses smaller 127 roll film for a 4x4 square image.  It is also approximately 2/3 the size of a 120 TLR camera, ergo the "Baby" designation.  The Rolleiflex 4x4 features a Schneider Xenar 60mm f3.5 as the objective or "taking lens", and a Heidosmat 60mm f2.8 as the viewing lens.  The camera uses an EV (exposure value) system, and it has a Synchro Compur MXV shutter and a self timer.  The viewfinder must be open to take a photograph, and the image is laterally reversed in the viewfinder.

Many users enjoy the smaller size of the "Baby" as it is more convenient for travel.  It also weighs 1.5 lbs, which is less than most 120 cameras.  Batteries are not required in the Rolleiflex 4x4, and there is no viewfinder black out (the image you see is exactly what is taken).  With its square dimensions, the shooter does not have to turn the camera to get a vertical image.  Although 127 film is available in limited quantities, the "Baby" Rolleiflex 4x4 is still popular today.  The classic look of this vintage TLR is definitely a conversation starter!

Click HERE to view the Baby Rolleiflex 4x4 on the KEH Camera Outlet on eBay.
~L.M.

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