Rollei is a German manufacturer of optical goods founded in 1920 by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, and maker of the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord series of cameras. Current products also include specialty and nostalgic type films for the photo hobbyist market.
After being purchased in 1995 by Samsung Techwin, part of the South Korean Samsung Group, it was sold back to its internal management in 1999. In 2002 it was bought by a Danish investment group, and in 2005 was split into two different companies: "Rollei GmbH" in Berlin, owner of the Rollei brand and selling various OEM equipments, and "Franke & Heidecke GmbH, Feinmechanik und Optik" in Brunswick, an equipment factory.
In early 2009, Franke & Heidecke GmbH, Feinmechanik und Optik declared itself insolvent. Rollei cameras typically use Carl Zeiss or Schneider Kreuznach lenses, as well as lenses manufactured by Rollei based on designs by Zeiss, and occasionally lenses made by Japanese manufacturers.
Classic examples — medium format
- Rolleiflex 3.5F TLR with 75 mm F3.5 Planar — as used by David Bailey and Diane Arbus.
- Rolleiflex SL66 and SL66E SLR with rise and fall lens plane and exceptional close-up abilities — as used by Brett Weston.
- Rolleicord Vb — A medium format twin-lens reflex camera designed for non-professional users, like the rest of the Rolleicord line.
- Rolleiflex 2.8GX as used by Helmut Newton
Classic examples — 35 mm
- Rollei 35 compact original viewfinder (Germany) with 40 mm F3.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar.
- Rollei 35S compact camera (Singapore) with 40 mm f2.8 Zeiss Sonnar made by Rollei.
- Rolleimatic compact camera with unique film transport mechanism.
- Rolleiflex SL2000 (or 3003) SLR — a 35 mm SLR with interchangeable magazines — not the first, but now unique for a modern 35 mm SLR.
- Rolleiflex SL35 range — 35 mm SLRs produced from 1970 until the late 1980s, using Carl Zeiss optics. Other lenses, like the Schneider, and the Rolleinar (manufactured for Rollei mainly by Mamiya) were also available.
Modern examples — 35mm
- Rollei 35 RF rangefinder camera introduced in 2002.
Modern examples — medium format
- Rollei 6008 integral — advanced SLR with fast handling.
- Rollei 4.0 FW TLR with 50 mm F4 Super-Angulon — classic reissue.
- HY6 — in conjunction with Leaf and Sinar
a Rollei history : www.mir.com.my
About Rollei, there is a beautiful book of photographies, made by French photographer Denis Broussard and his Rollei and written by Vincent Perrot."No limits " a vision of the Bonneville salt lake