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Thread: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    My father-in-law just gave me his Rolleiflex SL66 (first version, I think) with 4 lenses (50,80,150,200). I've been wanting to try MF and film (not necessarily together) for a while, so this is as good of a opportunity as any.

    My first question is... Is there any compatible digital back for the SL66? I've searched a bit on the internet and there doesn't seem to be any, but most of the threads are from 2009 or so. I'm hoping something new has been developed recently?

    Maybe using film to learn is actually a good idea? since it'll require me to take better care at taking the limited number of exposures. But, I just feel like the first few rolls are just money down the drain.

    How will I process the 120 films? Is there a reliable online company that will develop it and send me back the scans with high quality? What is the cost per roll I should expect for this service?

    Sorry for all these newbie questions, but I'm really excited to be able to try the camera out!
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    Hi,
    There isn't a digital option for the SL66 as far as I know. The left side of the camera extends past the film plane to hold the film back so this prevents a lot of digital backs from being mounted. But if there were, it would be a neat set-up!

    Yes learning film is a good thing since its like relearning photography with discipline. You think more about what you'll shoot and how you want it to look before you start hitting the shutter. I find I get a much higher percentage of keepers with film than I do with digital.
    There are lots of places to develop film - I hear that Ilford has opened or will open a mail in service near you, but I'm in San Francisco - I use Oscars, Lightwaves, or Photoworks for color, but process my own black and white. It's pretty simple.
    E

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    Agreed about the digital option, or lack off. The SL66 was alive before digital imaging was a twinkle in the Kodak engineers eye.

    Your path to digital is film fornthis great camera. (I loved the Zeiss glass and built in movements).

    Take a look at www.120processing.com if you want a process service dedicated to larger format film. I use a great lab in Portland Blue Moon Camera and Machine | Cameras, Typewriters, and Film Processing | Portland, Oregon, USA too.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    The SL66 was a great concept, but the camera went out of production long ago. If you like the older 6x6 film cameras with a digital back, the Hasselblad V is the most accessible. But as stated above, the film to digital work flow is the best bet with this camera.

    I think a quick search will point to some labs in LA. If you shoot color, there is not a lot the lab can do to screw up. B&W is different, but if a lab is offering B&W, then they probably can do a good job. At least until you start developing your own.

    Great thing about photography is there is always one more thing to spend money and time on. And so many people to help you do that...

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    No, he's already got the SL66. He should use it! Plus the SL66 has movements that won't be found on the V. Even a '60's SL66 makes the V look primitive. Have you seen how well built a SL66 is? Incredible!

    The SL66 has experienced somewhat of a comeback - all of a sudden a lot of people I know have purchased one and started using them.

    Matt the owner at Glass Key Photo here in San Francisco had one on the counter and I started to play with it. He had to tell me and several other people who came through the store that sorry this was his own personal one and he had been looking a long time for one for himself.

    When I was at DHW this Summer, Hans Hartje pointed to one in their conference room and told me that they could still service them. That's cool too!

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    Senior Member ondebanks's Avatar
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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    You are out of luck regarding a digital back. I think that of all the medium format SLRs with fully interchangeable film backs (as opposed to inserts), the SL66 is probably the only one not to have been supported for digital backs - not even by Sinar and Imacon, who each offered a vast range of DB adapters for various cameras.

    It must be because of mechanical constraints arising from the unique design of the rear of the SL66 - as Eric said above, "the left side of the camera extends past the film plane to hold the film back so this prevents a lot of digital backs from being mounted".

    Ray

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    thanks,guys! i guess it's time to order some films
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com

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    Re: Digital possibilities for Rolleiflex SL66?

    Years ago, my uncle had a beautiful SL66 kit. I was crushed when he sold it without telling me ... Oh well, bygones ...

    Just like with my Hassies, shoot film. I simplify: most of what I shoot is either Ilford XP2 Super or Fuji ACROS 100. I sometimes try other films, but it's generally easier to stick with one film until you get your feet solidly on the ground... I usually have the negatives processed at the local camera shop in Palo Alto (Keeble & Shuchat).

    Early this year I went for the gusto and bought a Nikon Coolscan 9000ED from a friend who was no longer using it. Best scanner I've used for anything ... I now scan nearly all my subminiature, 35mm, and 120 format film with it. It's a big whacking lumpkin and cost a bit, but such it is. I like having full control of my scans ... I run 120 frames to 80 Mpixel DNG files using a raw workflow, then use Lightroom to render them. The results are terrific.



    Hasselblad 500 SWC
    Ilford Delta 3200
    scanned with Nikon Super Coolscan 9000ED

    enjoy!
    Godfrey
    Godfrey - GDGPhoto Flickr Stream
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