In my first article on this subject I talked about the specs of my Rolleiflex Automat, and my experiences shooting 35mm film with the Rolleikin 2 installed. In this article, I am going to expand on that by talking more about the adapter and the pictures that can be had with this set-up.
The Adapter Kit
I touched on the Rolleikin in the former article, but I would like to get into it in a little more detail.
In the early 1930’s, the owners of Rolleiflex decided to create an adapter for 35mm film because at the time the world needed a more economic way to take pictures. Practices were different then they are now. Back then, they used bulk rolls of film and cut them down to size in a darkroom. So the original kit came with a special back to put on the camera that had a film cutter equipped within it. There were several improvements made on it as the decade went on and the daylight loading cartridge like we use today was becoming more common.
Then came the Rolleikin 1 from 1939-1950. This included a rewind mechanism so that the film could now be rewound into the cartridge the same way we do today with our 35mm film. This kit works for all 6×6 models that have removable backs, except ones from the early 1930’s and the Rollei Magics. In this kit, the special back came with a pressure plate and sprocket wheel built into the door.
Then, in 1951 they created the Rolleikin 2 which is the set I use for my Rolleiflex Automat. This set does not come with a special back door because it is for the models that already have the door with the changeable pressure plate. It has two variants, one set comes with a 36 frame counter knob for the models that don’t already have one, and then another one does not include the knob. So make sure you buy the correct one for your model if you decide to try this out.
The kit, pictured below, comes with 3 masks, one for the lens hood, one for the waist level finder, and one for the top window. It comes with the pieces you need to be able to fit the 35mm cartridge in the loading bay and it also comes with a take up spool. Make sure it has all of these pieces when you purchase one, and as I mentioned earlier, if you have a Rolleiflex that already has a counter knob for 36 frames then you do not need to buy one with the knob. I did need it and it can be seen below in the bottom right hand corner.
Instaling & Loading the Rolleikin 2
Below are pictures from the manual I own on installing the Rolleikin Kit and on loading film into it. I also have a Youtube video that I made a while back on how to load 35mm film into it.
Taking Pictures with the Rolleikin
What I love most about this camera is how sharp the lens is. The Automat isn’t the best model of the Rolleiflex you can buy, that would be the more expensive f2.8 model. Even so, my camera sports the 75mm f/3.5 Xenar taking lens which is nothing to scoff at. Even with 35mm film, you can see the detail in a picture simply because of the sharpness of the lens.
Still Life with the Rollei
I’ve done several still life sessions with the Rolleiflex and Rolleikin. I used a regular lamp for light and my handheld Sekonic meter in the following pictures.
Shooting in Low Light
I took these shots of my dog and cat sitting in the window on an overcast day with the Rollei on a tripod, and used a cable release to reduce camera shake caused by touching the shutter button. There were no lights on in my house, only the natural light coming in from the window. So I had to use a slow shutter speed. With the soft contrast of Ilford HP5, I really love how they came out.
My Rolleiflex came with several filters that I still haven’t used, for lack of knowledge, so I hope to do another blog on those soon. The following pics were taken using the yellow filter. I like it because it makes the clouds more pronounced.
I have enjoyed using the Rolleikin and I hope you will give it a try too. If it wasn’t for that adapter I probably wouldn’t have been able to shoot with my Rolleiflex for many years until the resurgence of film came back around. I am appreciative of that because I truly love this camera. To me it is a piece of art.
Writing this article has been bitter sweet because it was the final time I would be using the Rolliekin now that I have my Nikon F 35mm cameras. I have taken the training wheels off, so to speak, and I will be shooting 120 film in my Rolleiflex for the first time. Wish me luck and I hope you’ll subscribe to read more of my adventures in the future.
Until next time stay motivated and keep shooting.