Love Affair with a Rollei T

by John Powell on 11 May 2011

I’m not bragging, but I’ve had quite a few love affairs in my life! However, if I were to be asked which was my favourite love affair, I think I’d probably answer, the little gray babe with two vertical eyes. Of course, the love affair I’m referring to is “ROLLEI. “ You may, or may not, have read my story on my website. If not, I imagine you now have some reason to visit.

My Rollei T1 Gray

About 10 years ago someone tipped me off to a website in Holland. It’s called, “Collectcamera.” I paid a visit, and I found a somewhat small but interesting treasure trove of Rollei’s. Among them I found a Rolleiflex T1 Gray.

Rollei T1 Gray - Left side

It was love at first sight! This was to become my first gray covered Rollei, and it became one of my favorites. Of course, mechanically it’s no different to the T models that are covered in black. But it was different. And It appeared to be in very nice condition. A couple of weeks later it appeared at my door. I introduced myself by lovingly cleaning it until it screamed for help. In fact, if I’m honest, my love affair with Rollei cameras was not so much about using them; it was about having daily conversations with them. It was about delving into books, surfing the Net, looking for anything that would educate me about Rollei’s. Perhaps that’s what some of you readers are doing. Isn’t it fun?


Back of the T1 Gray

Back to the T1 Gray. After a couple or 3 years of ownership, I discovered that the slow speeds were a tad slow, so I lovingly packed it up and sent it to my favorite Rollei techie in Vancouver, Canada. For a CLA.(clean with loving affection!) After examining the T1, he emailed me saying that it needed this and that doing to it. And he also said that if I wished, he could replace the taking lens with a brand new one (old stock) from Rollei. He must have known that I’m a stickler for perfection, so I told him “go ahead and make it like new.” A few weeks later I received the camera together with a bag of parts (and I still have that bag of parts.) Apparently he stripped it down to the chassis and rebuilt it. I now had a MINT T1 Gray in my hands. And with tears in my eyes, I hugged it like it was my son. Now, if you think I’m a little nuts about Rollei’s, you’re right.

Rolleiflex T1 Gray

But this story has a sad ending: in a moment of insanity, I sold it! Am I kicking myself? You bet I am. But the man who bought it from me is also in love with it. He lives in Switzerland. And he sometimes sends me images from my ex-lover. Now, since the story is over, you may be thinking that this “Love Affair” is fictitious. I’m happy to tell you, it’s 100% true. And my wife knows all about it!

Now I’ll issue my personal challenge: Send your own true stories about how you came across one or more of your Rollei’s. It would be great for members on this site to be able to share those experiences with you. Nike says! Just do it! (email and I will make it happen - AD)

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