Ricardo Kalaidjian
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Blog

No. 18 ROLLEIFLEX

Recently I repaired my grandfathers old Rolleiflex 3.5F camera. He passed away over 20 years ago, and I don't think anyone used the camera since. 

I had gotten the camera from my uncle's house a few years ago, I wasn't as familiar with film photography at the time, however the camera appeared to be working. What I found out later was that the shutter would only fire at 500 or 250, and would stick at slower speeds. The lenses also appeared to have some haze, and when I shot a roll, only 1/12 images turned out

I finally got it repaired and now its in perfect working order, it still looks the same on the outside but now it actually works! I hate the thought of having cameras around and not using them, thats why I sold off all of my other cameras (apart from my Leica) and decided to invest in repairing this one that has sentimental value to me

My father tells me that his father bought this camera on his honey-moon in Europe which would have been around 1960. That makes sense based on my research of the serial number. Rolleiflex's also came in a 2.8 model that is somewhat bigger and heavier with the faster lens. My grandfather really loved photography and had a darkroom in his house all his life, he also shot 16mm film and developed and edited all the footage himself, all of this despite being blind in one eye from birth. 

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This is a cool detail that Brazilians will recognize. Inside the camera there is this "sticker" from FOTOPTICA, which was a huge photo-lab in Brazil, back before the days of digital. This would be similar to finding a KODAK engraving on a camera in the US. I remember vividly going there to drop off disposable cameras as a kid! Nowadays they still exist but only sell glasses, and are nothing like before obviously.

I took the camera out for a spin with a roll of HP5 and Portra 400. The shutter is so quiet it made me wonder if it was firing at all in the loud streets of Times Square. Seriously, I thought the Leica was quiet but this is practically silent. 

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It takes some getting used to shooting a TLR. While in the street I set my shutter speed to the max (500) and the aperture accordingly (8 in the sun 5.6 in the shade) and just worried about focusing. Most people that saw me standing there smiled and I got some curious looks

I was so happy by the way the camera is working so well after being in a closet for almost 30 years. Shoutout to Nippon Camera on 39th St for the great work.

I would love to hear what you've been shooting in the comments!

Have a great weekend,

Ricardo