Rolleicord III – Model K3B Review
To see images shot with this camera, click the category link at right.
The Rolleicord line is the cheaper little-brother to the famed Rolleiflex. The Rolleicords, as I understand, were built similarly to the Rolleiflex, 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.
Some stats for my particular Rolleicord III:
- Made in Germany by Rollei between Nov 1950 and July 1953
- Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar lens f/3.5 75mm
- Compur-Rapid shutter 1 sec to 1/500 sec, plus B
- Auto-stop film wind
- Exposure counter
- 6x6cm images on 120 film
The image quality I’ve gotten from it is great. The lens is quite sharp corner-to-corner, with no apparent vignetting at all. While I won’t argue with anyone who tells me a Rolleiflex is worth the price, I’m very happy with this camera. An f/2.8 lens that might be standard on a Rolleiflex would certainly be a step up, but besides that, I don’t see much that I’d prefer in a ‘flex. I don’t at all mind the knob crank instead of the lever on a ‘flex. Using a TLR camera is all about moving slowly for me, so I don’t care if I could wind it faster with a lever. I do like the auto-stop winding, so that I don’t have to look at a red window on back to carefully wind to the right spot, like I do on my other TLR cameras. Just push the button in the center of the wind knob and wind ’til it stops, and you’re ready for your next shot. There’s no double-exposure prevention, but that hasn’t tripped me up yet – I just always try to remember to wind it right after I shoot.
The build of this camera feels solid and high-quality, but not too big and heavy. Already older than me, I get the feeling that this camera will be functioning smoothly far past my lifetime.
My only minor complaint is that the viewfinder is kind of dim. This is a common complaint about Rolleis. Someday I might try one of these replacement screens for the viewfinder.
There’s a lot of info out there about these cameras, so I’m not going to write too much. Here are some links to useful information:
Here are some images showing some of the minor dismantling and cleaning that I did:
Here’s a very short video of the focus mechanism in action: