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Twin lens in my dark changing days

In June 1995, I was stolen all my photo equipment in Amsterdam. I came back to NY where I used be with full of depression, without camera . So the first thing I had to do in NY was buying any camera for shooting. As clasping $500 I went to a used camera store in downtown. I had longed for medium format camera. Yeah, I knew there are few medium format cameras under $500 even the second hand.
But on the day I found it, big as TV camera, in the showcase. "$467" it's said. "Oh, I can buy it" "Named Rolleiflex SLX, made in 70s" A shop owner told me as taking shutters. A huge reflex mirror was flipping inside the camera. In the primitive electric camera which looked like an archaeopteryx, giant mirror wing flipped and powered film winder whirred after that. The shop owner allowed me the trial shooting. I tried it for an hour then told him I decide to buy it.

I was happy with the medium format camera for a week. But on the 8th day when I took a shutter, the mirror was flipped up with huge sound and would not return forever. The $500 Rolleiflex was dead on the 8th day. The body might be too big for the electric systems like a story "Why dinosaur was extinct?"
I showed the broken SLX to an elder teacher of the International Center of Photography where I worked for. He said "Why did you buy such a cheesy camera? Primitive electric products often have a trouble. You had better buying brand-new Nikon with extra dollars instead of the cheap antique" I thought he was right. But I was optimistic at the moment "All right, I'll get a refund and buy a Nikon.

However when I visited the store again and asked refund, the shop owner shook his head without mercy. "You did test shooting and bought the secondhand. It's all on your responsibility, isn't it?" "Oh boy, You kidding?"
I visited the store following days and asked him for refund. But his answer was NO. Finally he suggested changing to another camera instead of refunding. Again I checked dozens of cheap second hands in the show case. I found a corner of classic Rollei. Maybe the twin lens Reflex was one of the most well known classic camera. "Rolleiflex f3.5 e2" A price card said $650. I paid extra money and got it. I thought they let me buy more and more expensive camera.
Then I showed it once again to the old teacher. "Come on Fumi. Do you think I'm happy with seeing such a classic camera(made in 1962) one after another? Well, it's more tough than the SLX. Cos it's all mechanical"

But strictly speaking, the mechanical camera was broken. The camera focused as moving the front twin lens mounted panel back'n forward. Although the panel was not upright. It's slightly tilted in rectangle direction. I suppose the ex-owner hit the camera somewhere. As a result, the picture is unnaturally out of focus on the edge as if using a shift-lens.
Meanwhile the twin lens had unexpected good points too. The "f3.5 e2" model was cheaper edition in the line up. It had a slow lens called Xenotar 3.5 by Schneider. Well in short, the lens was excellent. Sharp enough, crispy but rich tone, especially with B/W film.

The mechanism of this camera was also superb. When you open the top lid, a finder hood was automatically assembled. You could pull out a built-in loupe if you need. Bent your upper body and have a look into the finder. You would see an image on the square matte screen inside. It's the image you were looking through the upper lens. Well, the twin lens was not for taking 3D image. The upper lens was just for framing and focusing. Then the lower lens was just for taking picture. In another words, the two lens had to be perfectly synchronized. The German old machine precisely traced it. Couldn't believe the twin lens and SLX were made by same manufacturer.
Let's talk about exterior design. The lens' rim and cog like dial made a circle shape design group while the case itself was drawn by the rounded rectangles. In addition to that the part of "Rollei" logo and small lever switch had leaf plates design. The exterior was drawn only three design theme.
It's said design was culture. Well, we Japanese never got the idea like that. Could copy the idea. But fake is fake forever, you know?

In my personal history, the Rolleiflex f3.5 e2 was the camera in tough luck . It's just a temporariness for the stolen camera. It's refused to enter the US at passport control in Portland. We got same day round trip to Oregon together. I also brought this heavy paper weight camera to Havana then Paris. My youth was getting over and felt my life was in a dark change, and I became desperate for everything. I recall the days.
As I felt a little bit sorry to the twin lens, I brought it to the Roillei craftsman in Tokyo and asked it thoroughly repair. It took a couple of month and more money. But my Rolleiflex finally got a perfect condition.

Well, I had talked about the cameras in my memories. I counted the number of the cameras I had owned ever. Twelve. Twelve cameras I have owned for last 40 years. Most of them has gone. But when I see each photo in this museum, I clearly remember the name of camera and lens to use. It's funny.

Nov. 2014

Today's piece
" Rolleiflex f3.5 e2 " 2014

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