Tag Archives: Franke & Heidecke

Rolleicord … the front end.

I was finally able to get a hold of a Rollei TLR. This Rolleicord III came in a pretty banged up state. The front cover metal was bent out of shape … and I think some prevous owner continued to use the camera. The mechanisms all appear to work, so my job is to get it somewhat back in shape.

I will say that TLR’s are one of the easiest cameras to work on … hmm, I think I may have said this before … as they seem to be so mechanically similiar that it is easy to work them out.

The hood did not close cleanly … this is because it was also bent out of shape. This was the easy part, as all I needed to do was lightly twist (and push) the opened hood until the metal leafs were back in alignment.

The magnifier was also too flappy … the pivoting pin has slipped out of one side. It appears that one of the metal sides was also bend out of shape, so just needed to be pushed back into position to keep the pin from moving sideways.

I ned to get the front cover off. Carefully peel off the leatherette. You should be able to get it off in one piece as it has a paper backing.

Note: if you just want to get at the blades you do not need to remove the cover. You can just unscrew the front element.

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Next unscrew the knobs from the shutter, aperture, and speed arms.

The four large shiny screws hold the entire front onto the the rest of the camera. I suggest you go with the inner layers. Remove the four small brass screws hold the outside cover plate on. The next set of five screws holds the lens/shutter.

Lift and jiggle to get these two covers off.

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You will notice that there is a hidden arm (lower left corner) that is coupled to the lens/shutter plate … this arm is used to move the paralax correcting screen in the viewfinder. Make a mark to note its position if you take the screw off.

Lets look at the shutter since we are here …

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Very typical.

Unscrew the front lens element.

Then turn the lock.

Twist the cover to match up with the notches.DSC00528

 

Always note the position of the speed cam … and all the little thingies that ride the grooves.

 

 

 

 

 

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… and there we are.

The shutter cocking ring sits in the middle here and is spring loaded … so it may pop out. This image shows it in firing position.

 

 

 

 

You can continue to take of the rest of the front by removing the four large screws … and as I noted before, the arm for the parallax correction.

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Note where the shims go.

At this point you can also get at the viewing mirror to clean it … but watch out for the ground screen.

 

 

 

The front cover was the major fault on this camera. The sides and top of the cover had been impacted by things (it had to be more than once to affect that many areas).

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You can unscrew the retaing ring and all those layers of dials will slide right out.

Use a wood dowel and a hammer to tap out the dents.

Before putting it back together, remember to clean the old lube off and make the numbers easier to read.

Add a little dab of new lubricant between the dials. After you secure the retaining ring, make sure everything is moving smoothly.

Set the shutter and aperture to their topmost position so you know where they are when you put the front plate back on. Don’t secure it until you know that the dials have coupled with them properly.

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Rollei, rollei, rollei … keep them wagons rollei’n.

Soooo, I finally ended up with a Rollei TLR … though not the one I really wanted, but heck Rollei’s are over-priced these days so I had to make due with a Rolleicord.

The Rolleicord is the little brother of the infamous Rolleiflex. Franke & Heidecke decided to make a cheaper (more economical) version of their very popular Flex line of twin lense reflex cameras … this way more amateur photographers could get a hold of a high quality camera.

The Rolleicord line started in 1933, and there were many variations of it over the 44 years it was in production. The Rolleicord is easily recognized by its knob winding, instead of the crank winding that the Flex’s have.
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I got this one in … of course … “for parts” condition. It has issues with the shutter, the shutter lever knob is bent and not really attached, the leatherette is distrested, and probably a number of other things that are broken.

I was reading up on various versions made by F&H and the model I have appears to be a Rolleicord III with a Triotar lens … 1950-53.

The Triotar, as you may guess, is a triple element lens … and even though it sounds like a simple cheap setup, it can produce some nice dreamy images. It appears that it is very favourable to portrait photographers.

Ok for you Bokeh lovers !!!

Rollei … rhymes with poly … but not F&H

Reinhold Heidecke was employed by Voigtlander making precision instruments. After learning the trade, he left the company to try to form his own to make new roll film cameras that were easier to use (than the current products out there). Reinhold Heidecke teamed up with Paul Franke in 1920 to form a new company called … wait for it … Franke and Heidecke. Their first cameras were stereoscopic types, but the third one was a charm. This was their first TLR, the Rolleiflex made in 1929.

The Rolleiflex is considered the mother of all TLR’s (ok, I made that up … but it could be true). The design of the Rollei TLRs will be copied by everyone else that came after it, and the Rollei’s are still one of the most coveted cameras to this date (I should know as I am still trying to get a hold of a cheap one).

In 1966, Rollei made their first viewfinder 35mm camera … and it also happened to be the smallest 135 film camera ever. It was so cool that Queen Elizabeth went out and bought one (Ok, she probably didn’t actually do that … but she does own a gold one).

The company name did change with the addition of Rollei-Werke before the F&H, and in 1979 the company changed name to Rollei, then in 2007 the company broke up into three bits … these bits broke, kinda.

Before it’s end, Rollei made a number of cameras (TLR, 135, 6×6, sub, and even digital) and other photographic equipment like slide projectors … but if you told someone today that you have a “Rollei” it will always refer to the Rolleiflex TLR.