Rolleiflex, one of the most iconic brands in photography, is apparently set for resurrection next month.
If you're a fan of the twin-lens reflex (TLR) film cameras from Rolleiflex, made popular by the likes of Eve Arnold, David Bailey, and Vivian Maier, then you will know that these have become very popular to own in the current analog resurgence.
• Check out the best film cameras (opens in new tab) and shoot like the old masters
However, it hasn't always been that way. As the original single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras became more popular back in the day, the TLR soon died a slow death (opens in new tab)… until now!
The newly-made Twitter account named OfficialRollei (opens in new tab) is teasing "The Worlds [sic] First Modern TLR" as being announced on April 20 2023. As this is a totally new account we have to take this with a big pinch of salt, as it could be just a joke.
But what if it isn't? What if a digital TLR really is on the way? I mean if it is true, and it uses the same iconic designs of the popular Rolleiflex models, then I would be the first in line on release day – but I do have some reservations.
My main concern is how a modern TLR would work in the digital age. If they go with the traditional waist-level finder, how would we be able to see the image through the lens? This could be done through an intuitive EVF integrated in the body, but would that digital and analog mix work? I'd be curious to see more on this.
The Twitter account has also released the potential specs of this new DTLR. It will have a 70mm f/2.8 lens, be fully weather-sealed, come with two SD card slots, weigh 860 grams, and will also come with an optional digital viewfinder – again I would be interested in this option to see how they implement this technology.
Bringing the past into the future! #Rolleiflex #RE1X pic.twitter.com/aCO2q2W49pMarch 23, 2023
What I'd like to see on the Rolleiflex DTLR
1) Analog advanced frame
This might sound like a very odd thing to wish for, but it certainly has been done before and I think it would really work on a digital TLR. Epson first introduced this idea on its rangefinder camera, the Epson R1Ds.
I basically want to be able to advance to the "next frame" before I can take another digital photo; I think this would work well with that digital and film crossover.
2) Square format
This might seem more reasonable or completely idiotic to some, but when you shot with a Rollei on 120 medium format film you were getting the traditional 6x6 square format images.
I also want this on the DTLR, and no I don't want it to be an "option" to crop into a sensor. I want a square sensor, believe it or not – they are out there and they do exist. Admittedly they might have to be older, more dated sensors to keep it as an affordable "novelty" – rather than the highest tier models like Phase One cameras (opens in new tab) that cost $60,000, but also have square sensors!
3) Film simulations
With the current climate of photographers running to some of the best Fujifilm cameras (opens in new tab), and seeing this as a digital take on a film camera masterpiece, I would love the new Rolleiflex to develop some popular film simulations of the time built into the DTLR. These could include Kodak Tri-X, Aerochrome, or even Ilford HP5.
Obviously, this is my own digital TLR wishlist. And if they do actually produce this camera, and it's not a toy or a novelty shelf item, and it has a few of the above wishes, I think I'd be lining up to buy it… but would you?