Ron II’s Rolleicord III

My friend (and only known regular reader of this blog) Ron got a bit over-zealous bidding on twin-lens reflex cameras on ebay, and ended up ‘winning’ a Rolleicord III and a Yashica 635 at about the same time. He thought the Rolleicord might be broken, so he dropped it off one day for me to have a look.  I figured out that it worked fine, though the shutter speed adjusting lever seemed stuck at first – a bit of force loosened it, and it works fine though is still a bit tight to move at the higher shutter speeds. I held on to it and shot a couple rolls of film to see how it worked, and I really liked using it.

Ron liked both cameras, but grew more attached to the Yashica since he was shooting with it, and I was avoiding seeing him so I wouldn’t have to return the Rollei.  He enjoyed being able to shoot 35mm film in the Yashica (but don’t ask me why you’d want to use a big TLR camera to shoot little 35mm negatives).

Feeling a need to own just a couple more fly rods – flyfishing being his major avocation – Ron didn’t see the need to own two TLR cameras, so he offered to sell the camera to me for what he had paid. That put a small dent into the cost of his two new fly rods, and gave me a great new camera at a good price. Win-win.

The Rolleicord III is a great camera for me.  Not too big and heavy; good lens; decent, though a bit dark, viewfinder; rock-solid build; silky-smooth focusing and winding; auto-stop film winding and frame counter. The auto-stop is a great step up from my Ricohflex, as you don’t have to watch the red window while winding to make sure you stop at the right place for the next shot.  Just shoot and wind.

Rolleicord III

The Rolleicord line is the cheaper little-brother to the famed Rolleiflex. The Rolleicords, as I understand, were built similarly, but with not quite as good of lens, not quite as fast of lens, knob winding instead of the Rolleiflex’s lever-wind, and a few less features (for instance, no double-exposure prevention mechanism on my Rolleicord). They also sell these days for a fraction of the price of a Rolleiflex, so I think they’re a good buy.

The image quality I’ve gotten from it is great.  The lens is quite sharp corner-to-corner, with no apparent vignetting at all. Very crisp images.

The images shown here were shot on Tmax 400 black & white negative film. Scanned by North Coast Photo (Enhanced Scans). These were some of the scans that came back dark and overly-contrasty, but came out great when they redid them for me.

More info about the Rolleicord III


4 Comments on “Ron II’s Rolleicord III”

  1. Sara Kuehn says:

    I LOVE black and white photos and yours are wonderful! Keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Daniel Caridade says:

    Hi Rick!

    Mind if I ask you a few questions?

    I just bought a Rolleicord III – Model K3B and I’ve been struggling with exposures timings under certain environments, since this camera doesn.’t have a photometer.

    For instance, these photos you’re showing were taken with a 400 ASA film right? Is there any kind of chart or guidelines with aperture and exposures for 400 ASA films indoors and outdoors?

    With a digital camera, i could make a couple of tests easily enough but with a Rollei is precious film being burned just for tests…

    Thanks in advance,


    • Rick Schuster says:

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for reading my blog. Good question. I have a hand-held lightmeter, which makes it much easier to get accurate exposures, but I’ve also done pretty well just using a rule of thumb like the ‘sunny 16’ rule. Google search ‘sunny 16’ and you’ll find detailed descriptions. You need to really understand the relationship between shutter speed and aperture to make good use of the rules though.
      Here’s a great little exposure calculator that I found online that you could print out and carry with you, and gives great descriptions of lighting conditions so you can estimate a pretty accurate exposure:
      Or you could buy yourself a hand-held light meter, but I’d try one of the other methods first — they’re a lot cheaper and you’ll learn more about exposure. I’m starting to become more and more comfortable venturing out without a light meter, which is a good thing.

      • Daniel Caridade says:

        Wow, that’s exactly what I was looking for, thank you so much 😀 Building the calculator as I write!

        Thank you so much, you’re a life saver!


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