Rolleicord Va is a medium format (6×6) camera using 120 size films, with which you will get 12 frames per roll. It is a Twin-Lens Reflex (TLR) camera and has a Xenar 75mm f/3.5 as the taking lens and a 75mm f/3.2 as the viewing lens. My Rolleicord Va is a version 2, according to camera-wiki.org, and this model was in production from 1958 to 1961.
Rolleicord Va features a flash cable socket, a self-timer, a double-exposure prevention/release, a focusing knob, a film winding knob and a WLF (waist level finder), with which the framed view is reversed (left to right). It is an all manual and mechanical camera with shutter speeds from 1s to 1/500s with B (bulb) mode and apertures from f/3.5 to f/22.
A weakness of this medium format camera, for me as a spectacle wearer, is focusing. The ground glass without micro-prism is a bit tricky to focus in low light, so I often rely on the depth of scale on the focusing knob.
However, I like the simplicity of this camera which forces me to go back to the basics of photography. No more multiple dials, buttons and menus to contend with on modern digital cameras, which can be distracting. That said, it doesn’t have a built-in light meter, therefore, the speed of the film needs to be taken into account when you measure the light.
The build quality of Rolleicord Va which is over 60 years old is impressive – fairly heavy due to all-metal construction but light enough to be hand-held if needed. The taking lens is amazingly sharp.
In October last year, I visited Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire with this camera loaded with a roll of Ilford Delta 100. The weather was dry but very cloudy and the autumnal colours were not yet on full display. A black and white film might seem an odd choice for autumn colours but I wanted to play with tonal ranges and the contrast between the trees themselves and their light coloured autumnal leaves.
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