My Precious, Rolleiflex SL 2000F Motor Camera
By Karen Curran
20 Jul 2009
My Precious is about 29 years old, big loud and yes it takes film. You know that capture medium that you don't see until you process the film. As luck would have it I was cleaning out a camera store for a friend of mine and found my precious, which at the time didn't work. There is only one repair place in the US that I am aware of that can restore this old beauty to good working order. I became so attached to this camera that I had to get it repaired and restored. This Rolleiflex looks like and feels like a Medium Format Camera but is actually 35mm.
What is so special about this camera ? For starters, there are two viewfinders, an eye level and a waist level. You can actually place the camera on the ground, preferably on something soft, to protect the base of the camera. The fact that I do a number of abstracts, makes this a unique feature. With the waist level finder the image is reversed.
The SL 2000F can be considered modular. At the rear of the camera is the battery compartment, which requires five AA batteries. House in front of the battery chamber is the film chamber, which is composed of three parts, the dark slide, the film insert in which you load the film with the emulsion towards the lens and basically wound backwards, and the chamber itself which has the rewind on the base. On one side of the battery chamber you have the frame counter and the ASA/ISO selection dial. And on the other side you have the load mode, rewind mode, single exposure and multiple exposure selection. On the top of the camera chassis is the exposure compensation dial and the shutter speed dial with a provision for aperture priority. In addition on the top of the camera is the waist level viewfinder. On the backside above the battery chamber is the on/off switch and the diopter adjustment.
The only lens that I have is a 50mm F/1.4, which is manual focus. Zeiss also makes lenses for this camera. Also on the front is the lens release button.
Considering that not all photographers are right handed, my Precious Rolleiflex has both port and starboard shutter release buttons.
So why is this old beauty my Precious ? I was trained on film and I love the process, though today film might be considered "an Alternative Process." One has to be methodical when using this camera. Best exposures are obtained by turning the camera off between exposures. The meter though very accurate for early 80's vintage is not as sensitive as some of the more modern cameras. The lens is incredibly sharp and great for available light because of it' s fast F/1.4 lens. I have to think about each exposure, whereas sometimes with newer cameras being so easy to use, sometimes we are like roving bank cameras, since two button clicks will delete any images that we don't like. Two of the other associates at the camera store, wish that they were the ones who found this old Beauty, My Precious, even though the only available manuals are in German.