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Franka Rolfix viewed head-on

 

Franka Rolfix I with Schneider Kreuznach f4.5 105mm Radionar lens

lens serial no. 4768455 dates it to October 1956 

 

Franka Rolfix - close-up of lens shutter assembly with EV lock circled in red

 

Circled is the EV (Exposure Value) lock, a feature I've not encountered on any other EV featured camera.

This allows the user to uncouple shutter and aperture for initial setting, then lock them together for subsequent changes. In use it's immediately apparent how much easier this makes using the otherwise annoying EV coupled system. It also means that you have the option of not using the EV system, which is as it should be.

If you think the EV system strange, eventually it's the way all cameras went: from aperture or shutter priority modes in SLR's of the '70's through the electronic systems of 80's which evolved into the sophisticated systems we use today. Set my DSLR to 'A' (aperture priority) or 'T' (shutter/time priority) and it's using an electronic EV system. 

 

The shutter speeds sounded about right. However, testing revealed them to be otherwise:

indicated 1/300 1/125 1/60 1/30 1/15
actual 1/129 1/86 1/46 1/18 1/9
fraction 0.43 0.7 0.8 0.6 0.6

using ISO100 film:  for an actual 1/125 sec: set 1/300 and meter to ISO 250  :  for other speeds set meter to ISO 160

 

Usually these old dirty mechanisms get slower as they're worked. 'Exercising' them does no good and does not improve them.

However, this one bucked the trend. Much 'exercising' resulted in the 1/300 improving from that initial 1/129 to 1/150 and subsequently 1/190. Amazing!

This means that all speeds are roughly 2/3 the indicated speed, so adjusting on the meter by setting ISO 160 for ISO 100 will give correct exposures. Film exposure latitude will take care of any minor variations.

 

The Rolfix's dual format feature:

Franka Rolfix - close-up of lens shutter assembly with EV lock circled in red

The Rolfix top showing the dual format viewfinder changeover slide button.

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As yet no photographs have been taken with this camera.

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There's that well-known old English saying: "You wait ages for a bus and then three come along at once."

Or, as in my case, you wait for years to get a Rolfix and two come along at once - well, almost: the Rolfix I on 19th Aug, the Rolfix II on 22th Sept.

And this one, the one I really wanted, being the 'II' with the Rodenstock Trinar lens: 

1952 Rolfix II as seen on ebay

Rolfix II with  Rodenstock Trinar lens as seen listed on ebay by Americana Peddlars of Warren, Michigan: 

"This item is a vintage Franka Montgomery Wards Rolfix II F 3.5 105MM Camera with original instruction booklet. The camera uses 120 mm film. All aspects of the camera are working great. The camera is in excellent condition. The camera was manufactured in the U.S. Zone Germany probably in the early 1950's. The box worn with several stains on the top."

lens serial number 2575168 dates this camera to 1952

    

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