Downgrading: the Rolleiflex (New) Standard

The Rolleiflex Standard of 1939 (later called the ‘New’ Standard to distinguish from the ‘Old’ Standard of 1932) had a short life span, cut by the war in 1941. Its production is thus relatively modest, with a total of 8340 cameras made. The camera looks much like an Automat, but that is simply derived from the cosmetics of the Rolleiflex at the time. The Old Standard looked like a 4x4 Original, and the Rolleiflex T may be considered as the equivalent in the late 50s. But the Rolleiflex (New) Standard, as much as it may look like an Automat of the late 30s, lacks key functions of the top model and is in fact a bridge between the Automat and the Rolleicord II. Has a Zeiss Tessar lens like an Automat but mechanically much closer to the Rolleicord.

The 1939 Standard filled the price gap between the Automat of 1939 and the Rolleicords of the time, the II types 2/3 and IA. In this range a number of alternative brands were producing decent TLRs and that may have driven Franke & Heidecke to make an intermediate model. Its price was however closer to the Automat than to the Rolleicords, and in difficult times, such as the war period, only last the better and the cheaper, and so in 1941 the Standard eventually was discarded from production.

 

The camera lacks the basic core advance of the Automat, the ability to perform automatic positioning on the first frame after closing the door. It thus depends on a red window to stop at frame 1 as in Rolleicords and earlier Rolleiflexes. The reset button will set frame 1 instead of 0. The red window mechanism is quite clever, operated by the locking lever of the door. The drawback is that one has to carefully advance the film while holding the door semi-locked, as to prevent the door from opening during the process and burn the film.

Inside the camera we notice a number of downgraded features. The double roller is missing, as also the lever/catch mechanism. Also the roller at the inside of the backdoor is missing. The camera also lacks the seftimer function. So the camera shares with the Automat the lens and the advance crank that cocks the shutter from frame 2, but is similar to the Rolleicord with lever operation and first frame positioning on frame 1. This combination would re-emerge in the Rolleiflex T of the late 50s, the ‘Standard’ of the time.

Rolleiflex (New) Standard

Model

Factory name (Prochnow/Phillips): K.6 Model 640

Factory name (Parker): 6x6 K.4 Model 640

Parker/Phillips name: New Standard

Prochnow name: New Standard (PR 073)

Serial numbers

806,000 – 927,999

Production dates

May 1939 - June 1941

Production: 8340

Serial no.: 852898

Date: 1940

Viewing lens: Heidoscop-Anastigmat (Steinheil Cassar) 7.5cm 1:3.1 (serial no. 799659) - double bayonet 1

Taking lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 7.5cm 1:3.5 (serial no. 2487877) - double bayonet 1

Notes: Exposure table on back in German. Focusing knob leather covered (camera for domestic market).

As in most early Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords the name of the company (Franke & Heidecke) is displayed between both lenses, and ‘Compur-Rapid’ below the taking lens. The back has an exposure table in German.

On the left side, the focusing knob accomplishes all distances from 0.8m to infinity. On the opposite side there is the crank wind, and above you find the small window of the frame counter, which resets to 1.

(A-D) View of the four sides of the viewing hood in position for waiste level view. The viewing hood is similar to the Automat models, with angle mirror for eye-level view, set by lever.

 

(E-F) The viewing hood from top, closed and opened, showing the magnifying loupe.

(G) The viewing hood from top in position for eye level view.

 

(H) Bottom of the camera.

 A

 B

 C

 D

 E

 F

 F

 E

G

H

The whole front plate is movable by focus as in any other Rolleiflex. The lens mount encases the Compur-Rapid shutter, and lateral levers operate speeds and apertures as in Rolleicords and Rolleiflex (Old) Standard. Values are displayed in the small window on the top of the viewing lens. The viewing lens, a triplet Heidoscop-Anastigmat (7.5cm 1:3.1), has double bayonet 1. The taking lens is a four-element Tessar from Carl Zeiss Jena (7.5cm 1:3.5) fitted with double bayonet 1. Apertures are within the range 3.5 to 22 in a normal scale. Note the release button with safety lock as in Automat 1 type 2. See that no seftimer button is present.

 A

B

(A) The taking chamber, and the upper uptake spool chamber.

 

(B) The lower spool chamber. Note on the right of the picture that no lever/catch mechanism is present, as well as no double rollers.

(C) The back is hinged and detachable. The tripod mount is 3/8-16’ fitted with conversion to 1/4-20’. Note on the inside the absence of roller and the red window.

C

The closing mechanism and the operation of the red window.

Bibliography

Web pages

Claus Prochnow (1993) Rollei Report 1

Ian Parker (1993) Complete Rollei TLR: collector’s guide

Ian Parker (1996) Rollei TLR: The History

John Phillips (2010) The classic Rollei: a definitive guide

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