I heard a voice in my head “buy me, buy me!”, I hear it often when I’m on West Yorkshire Cameras web site! This time it was a Rolleicord Va that was calling me. I’ve owned a Rolleiflex 28a before and I was impressed by the camera in all aspects except the focus screen was so dull! I just didn’t get on with it. To cut a long story short WY Cameras very kindly took it back, and I ended up with the “Texas Leica” Fuji GSW 690III, that I get on with much better – now that’s a service you don’t get on Ebay!
Back to the Rolleicord, I missed not having a TLR, and although these days I have to have my glasses on and off to use them, which is a bit of a pain in the ****, I do enjoy using one none the less. So I clicked and bought it! The guys at WY Cameras are great to deal with, they have both enthusiasm, knowledge and a sense of humour that I enjoy. It’s always a pleasure to buy from them. This time after I’d completed checkout I noticed they had a Bay 1 yellow filter, so I emailed the next day, and adding it to the order was no problem. They sent it to me with extras….
First of all the camera is in lovely condition, better than I expected – always nice. They had included a book “The Rollei Way” which is open on the Va page just to my right as I type! A roll of TMAX 400, the yellow filter and a hood. Three tea bags, camera, case and it’s box. These boxes always remind me of chocolate boxes! So kettle on…
The Rolleicord Va K3E Type 1, was manufactured between April 1957 and February 1958. 23,000 of them were made, so assuming the serial numbers run in order, this one must have rolled off the production line late 1957. The lens is a Schneider Xenar 75mm f 3.5, while the viewing lens is a Heidosmat 75mm, both are the Bay 1 size for filters and attachments. The photo above shows the taking lens with the Rollei yellow filter and the hood in place. The format is 6x6cm on 120 film giving 12 exposures a roll. Then lens stops down to f22, but as usual the sweet spot is around f8. It’s coupled, so that changing the aperture, also changes the shutter speed, but not the other way around! Shutter speeds are B, then 1 sec – up to 500th sec. As using the camera, with it facing forward focussing is on the left, different from most other Rollei’s and this seems to upset some. Can’t say it bothers me, all cameras are different and that’s part of the fun! Focus is down to 3 feet. The critical thing is that the focussing screen seems to be much, much brighter in this camera! So what of the results? I loaded up a roll of FP4.
I’m very happy with the results, and in trying so many different films recently it almost took my by surprise just how good, Ilford’s FP4 is! It’s a good street camera as it’s not eye level shooting, and also very quiet. Better still I enjoyed using it, so I’m waiting for the next trip out, to use the camera more!