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Why Rollei Hy6 at all


Hello All,
Indeed, as a US consumer, one must ask: Why Rollei? Surely, my purchases were not in response to a US corporate marketing effort.

With the technology, history and reliability of these cameras, I cannot fathom why it is so recluse in the world's largest market. Does it treat dealers badly? Is the US distributor not engaged with the market? I don't know what the situation is in other nations, but I'd like to hear about marketing efforts in Europe and Asia.

Or, put another way: Does this company have a future?



Hi Ray,

In my opinion Rollei is one of the most underestimated cameras (in 6x6). If you look at the history, Rollei achieved always to put modern technique into Medium Format - in contrast to Hasselblad. Rollei gave the costumer always more bang for the buck in terms of features, usabilty/handling of the body etc.

I can talk only about Europe, especially Germany, and the service is excellent.

You have a support number which is available Mo-Fr. from 8am to 8pm. No other manufacturer offers this in Germany!

The repair service is fast, reliable and really tries to keep the costs for the costumers down. You can even talk to them directly on the phone and you will realize that they not only can repair the stuff, they enjoy photography themselves.

This is VERY rare nowadays with all other brands. In most cases you have a technicien who can repair the stuff, but does not know how to make a picture. And you will seldom get him on the phone

As with all other Medium Format brands, you will not find that many dealers in Europe/Germany who have Medium Format in stock. Hasselblad has here the edge over Rollei. But If you want to test a lens or just use it for a shooting, you can simply call Rollei and tell them to which dealer they shall send it and the next day it is there!

Again I do not know any brand in Germany who is doing this!

But I do not know the situation in the US and the marketing/distribution sytem there.

I picked my Rollei 6003 over Hasselblad 500CM because:

1. I wanted to have the lightmetering included and the weight advantage of Hasselblad over Rollei bodies is gone after you have to use the additional Prism. You have also more alternatives.

2. The film exchange is A LOT better with Rollei than with Hasselblad

3. You have with the PQS lenses shutter speed up to 1/1000! Very good if you have different light situations outside but do not want to change film all the time for only one shot.

4. Rollei has a way better solution for keeping the film flat in the body. Hasselblad has basically nothing comparable.

5. Rollei has a very convenient way of handling the camera, if you are under time pressure (snapshots) you are way faster with Rollei than with Hasselblad.

6. You get an internal winder basically for free with the Rollei. Of course it makes it slightly more heavy, but with Medium Format this argument is superficial. And come on, which 35mm SLR is sold nowadays without an internal winder? If I want to have technology from the 60ies, I would rather buy a Rolleiflex 2.8F

Nevertheless the Hasselblad 500 is always looking sexy and I like it to have it in the hands. But if you compare prices and what you get for your money, the Rollei wins easily.

Just my 2 cents




Is it not a special "homemarket" treat that you experience such super service on Rollie - In Denmark you can hardly buy one! - by the way you are right - holding the hasselblad feels very right - but Rollie, Fuji or Hasselblad - they are all great cameras tools - what works for one might not be right for another - may I compliment you with the great job you do with these forums - great place to get updated and learn more - regards Ruben


Active Member
In Canada the reputation isn't so great. No one's sure who distributing Rollei this month and there are reliability and service concerns. Mamiya and Hasselblad rule over here.


Active Member
I agree that the relative scarcity of Rolleis in the US is a mystery, especially compared with Hasselblad. I think the absence of an effective US distributor for many years contributed to this sad situation.

My 6002 - despite the shutter priority - is technologically ahead of anything Hasselblad offers, even now. The accurate metering and superb optics are a dream. To say nothing of the virtues of the film transport system and film plane flatness.

I can't imagine giving up waist-level viewing in MF, just to get TTL metering.

I shoot positives, and digitize them. I do my cropping and resizing in photoshop. Hence the square format is great - I'd gain nothing from using 645. AND, 6002/6006 systems are actually affordable if one shops carefully for the components! }
The low profile of Rollei here in the USA does not help the cause...but it is a far superior camera to the 'blad for working on people shoots...I have 3 backs and 4 inserts and 2 bodies...much faster than the 'blad.

As one of my art directors told me...years ago there was an ad that asked...Would you prefer the Rollei or the hassle? Says it all really.

Cheers to all



Active Member
I think the "Rollei profile" in the US has gotten much better in recent years. Used equipment is fairly common and the big mail order stores in NYC seem to carry quite a bit of stuff new.
I like using older Rolleiflexes and the SL66 simply for their great feel and nice construction. I also started paying more attention to the 600x series after a photographer friend in Germany (
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) told me that he had adopted the system for studio and some location work because of the very precise meter. He uses all Schneider lenses.


Sometimes I ask not the question "Why Rollei?", but "Why Film?"

While us afficianados and hobbyists try to justify why we spend so much on our Rollei gear, larger wheels of change are upon us.

Talking to sales people at Keeble and Schuchat (Palo Alto, CA) and Bear Imaging (Rollei dealer also in Palo Alto) as well as W.B. Hunt's (Boston, MA), the reason is because professionals who require fast turn around and digital workflow for post-processing are changing over to digital systems in droves. This has been happening steadily in the past few years, and even photography college degree programs are focussing on digital. A newspaper editor today doesn't need the hires of MF nor does he/she want to delay the press release. A magazine editor may be more discriminating, but even National Geographic has allowed one "all digital" article recently.

I am told that some pro's inadvertantly regret the sale of their long-trusted film-based gear and enlarging equipment in their conversion to digital, esp. when they find that the full potential of film still surpasses digital at this date. However, as the megapixels climb up and prices creep downwards, and the convergence of analog and digital becomes closer (e.g. Voigtlander Bessa Digital version, result of collaboration with EPSON, takes Leica M lenses and may hit the market within a year), there will be a time soon when digital may inevitably eclipse film even for us afficianados.

Already at work where on occasion I have to engage in high volumes of medical photomacrography and pressing deadlines, my choice is digital for fulfilling requirements of scientific reports and other documentary write-ups. Deep in my heart I still love film and nothing will dislodge that 30+ year-old passion, not even a $20,000 digital back attached to my Rollei 6008i. I still resort to film for the shots that really matter, and when a shot is taken for posterity, guess what....I pick up the MF camera! You can always scan film (provided you have a good enough scanner to suit the task), but its a hassle the other way around, i.e. to get a negative from a digital image. When it comes to "Art", IMHO film is still king, and B&W is the ultimate print medium for artistic expression via photography. What do you guys think?


I don't really care what people say about the scarcity of Rollei here in US, I love this camera day by day and even more ( I use 6008i) and Man those schneider lenses is just amazing!, Digital? I've used 10D and sold it after 3 extensive use months and film still rules for me and for now.With my style doing portraiture. the emulsion of 160 NC from Fuji is none can beat this film.Also B&W still no comparable at all even if you do photoshop. So Rollei and Film still rule for me, cheeerrrsss!!!



Active Member
For my purposes (I am not a photojournalist), the look of film still surpasses what the affordable digital alternatives can produce. I can shoot chromes and have them processed and scanned with a 3-day turnaround, which suits me fine. I do all my printing from photoshop.

The balance of tonal hues and the dynamic range of film have not been surpassed, except maybe with some new, phenomenally expensive digital backs which are not yet cost-effective at all.

MF still yields the best scanned images and fine detail, for enlargements, for me. LF is more cumbersome and more expensive to scan, I find. 35mm can produce good scans with an emulsion such as Fuji Velvia, but only with more expensive high-resolution scans-in my experience it is therefore best used for snapshots and for images being prepared for the web instead of for printing.

Paul Butler


At the risk of this becoming a "mutual self-agreeing group", I support what you have all said so far. I also prefer medium format, from several vantagepoints:

- you can look at a proof sheet, or transparencies and still see what there is without a lupe.
- it is the most portable format that still will give outstanding images
- to compete with it, you either have to go LF (cumbersome) or extraordinary digital, which is costly and heavy.

I recently went looking for some way to solve the digital/ease of use/high qaulity/ carry it overseas dillemma, and ended up voting against the 6003 (my love at home) and in favor of a GX. A bit silly, but the joy of shooting (and composing) off the glass in unexcelled. THe competitors included:

- big DSLRs, but they weigh a ton and aren't fun to use
- sophisiticated point and shoots - but they really won't give the quality image
- other MF cameras (hassy 500, contax 645, Hassy H1), but they are all bigger, heavier, and not as easy to use. Plus they can cost a lot.
- other MF film based, such as Mamiya M6/7 , but they don't give the pleasure of composition.

Ironically, Rolleis have this wonderful combination of usability and practicality, with ergonomics built in. Once you get used to it, it is hard to give it up.

Also, some other hidden joys of the GX -
- a simple batttery, change every once and a while. No need for chargers, remembering when it last was done....
- mechanical operation (thank goodness, something works)
- film won't need to be transferred, updated, burned, etc. It self files itslef, by proofing number.

What could be easier? Spend a night looking through old proof sheets, and you'll wonder if all those CD's are really so wonderful for storing images. Hard to hold a CD in your hand late at night. And don't we get tired of seeing everything on screen? At least I do.

Just one person's thoughts (and yes, I'm taking a Canon S40 p/shoot too, for the kid shots!). Life is not pure, but rather a combination of things.


yes to much of that - but - how come rollei insted of making the wide and the tele, never got around to make a trl with exchangeable optics a 38, 50, 80, 110, 135, 150, ? without making the tlr into a monster like the japaneese models - I think it is hard to decide "only" to bring a normal lens for "overseas" travel. But the thought of also bringing a "wide" and a "tele" and how that would make you stand out in the crowd as an overloaded donkey - (a bit envy from my side as i don't have the wide nor the tele, and as I would probably bring them along and dont give a ... what people thought of me) well anyway it would be nice with the interchangeable lenses! - Happy glass composing and tlr shooting


Active Member
Rollei's answer to your question was the SL66. It gave you all the lenses you needed and was much more versatile than any TLR with interchangeable lenses could have been. The SL66 also opened the door to 3rd party accessories from Novoflex or Schneider via adapters and lens plates. It's great fun to experiment with this modular system. Admittedly it is not a small travel camera (but neither is the 6008!), yet SL66 lenses are fairly light weight and robust. Outdoor and travel photographers like Fritz Henle used the SL66 in their later years after having been committed to the TLR. The SL66 and esp. the SL66(S)E with TTL metering just came too late and were too expensive to make an impact in the MF market.


A question of service.

I own a 20 year old 6002 that I bought secondhand - I needed an English manual, Rollei sent me one free of charge, I needed help with TTL flash (see the 6002 forum), they replied within hours. In terms of support for my needs I consider that outstanding. That's not why I bought the camera but it's a great advert for their service.
Why do I use Rollei? It is a "friendly" camera.

I originally had a Rolleiflex T, then a 2.8D. When the SLX MkII came out I bought it because the feel in the hands was similar to the TLR's.

I now use a 6008 professional with a few goodies. Perhaps because I started out with a Rolleiflex I have never found any of the Hasselblads as quick or easy to use and the loading of the 6008 series is superior.

I also have a 6006, SL2000, 3003 and a 35SE along with 3 Rollei projectors.

Here in Australia Rollei 6x6 seems unheard of yet the 35mm compact type is readily available.



it may be emotion to me. My father used Rollei c-35 which is the frist i know camera.and the the phote is veru good by this


Active Member
I got into Rollei because it was less expensive to get into vs the Hasselblad in the terms of used equipment. I think that the marketing of Hassy in the US totally eclipsed Rollei and because of it the price of used Hassies remained high. After using the Rollei for the first time I was amazed on it's usablility. I've been upgrading my system ever since from 6006 to 6008i to the new 6008AF. I'm a believer in the Schneider lenses as the ultimate in sharpness and color. I will NEVER get rid of my Rollei no matter how many Megapixles they come up with. I figure that when the time comes to use a digital back, I've got the best body and lenses, giving me an advantage over what other systems will produce. My ultimate system, Rollei 6008AF with Schneider lenses and an Imacon 6x6 full frame sensor back in the range of 40MP's...... just missing the back now, one day soon!


Active Member
Phtoman48230 wrote: "...I will NEVER get rid of my Rollei no matter how many Megapixles they come up with..."

I can probably say the same for my Rolleiflex 3.5E (Xenotar). I did "get rid" of my SL66SE and bought a Contax 645 instead. Just didn't take the SL66 out enough because of its bulk and awkward handling. The Contax 645 is very intuitive if you use traditional layout SLRs. I considered the 600x system but the lenses are too pricey (esp. the Macro which I need first). I may reconsider if Kyocera no longer supports the 645. I do covet the excellent metering system in the Rolleiflex 6000 system and prefer the square format.


> I totally agree - now if only Imacon will cooperate and come down to a price that's affordable we could have the ideal system! >


New Member
> Do not look to imacon (actually hasselblad now) as the best digital > back solution. The eye-like eMotion 22 is a new back with Rollei > fitting and it costs less than the 132c back... further more it is > non-tethered and considered the best out there. Look into it on > forum on non-phase backs.