CAMERAS > FRANKA > FRANKA ROLFIX

Franka Rolfix

Rolfix was another of the camera series that most popularly sold Franka Werk between 1935 and 1955. It could be considered the Solida's big sister, since proviced 6x9 negatives (and smaller, with the accessory mask in the units that take it), while the Solida was limited to 6x6 negatives. The lenses it was most frequently sold with were Cooke's triplets, either home made (Frankar) or from third-party vendors (notably, Schneider Kreuznach with their Radionar glass), and Gauthier shutters, Vario or Pronto.

Three basic models of Franka Rolfix were manufactured:

Rolfix:
The first model, and the one that more time lasted under production. Seven different variations have been observed, first of which appeared in 1935 and the last in 1953. The first models only have a small reflex viewfinder, while later units add an Albada finder. The 1953 version features a full top cover housing direct viewfinder and flash shoe. The release button is located in the upper part, and the bellows deploy by means of a side-opening front door opened with a side button.
Rolfix I:
With the 50s and the new trends, Rolfix I adds a metallic top cover that also sports a double exposure prevention mechanism: the typical window between the film advance wheel and the release button shows if film must be wounded and button is locked if so. Shutter on this camera tends to be a Prontor-S or higher, and 3-elements lenses such as the aforementioned Radionar, with focal length of 105mm and f/4.5 as their maximum aperture
Rolfix II y Rolfix IIE:
Like the previous model but with a few improvements, mostly cosmetic changes. The Rolfix IIE is the rangefinder version (E = Entfernungmesser). The top cover now also houses a non-coupled rangefinder that is also non-combined, meaning that there are different images for viewfinder and rangefinder, and therefore there are two windows at the back of the top cover. Once distance is measured, reading must be manually transferred to the lens by means of rotating its front element.

Around 1957 this series of cameras were dropped from production. Porst also sold Rolfix cameras rebadged as Hapo 5. As part of the company's marketing strategy, versions with lesser quality lenses and shutters were dubbed Junior models.

Those 3-element designs such as Schneider-Kreuznach's Radionar or Rodenstock's Trinar give the most out of them when stopped down a bit, aroud f/11, but their performance is quite good and even better when compared with other similar designs. It is posible to date the Radionar lens based on its serial number, you can find the data at Schneider Optics

In all cases, focussing is achieved by means of rotating the front element of the lens. The advance is also performed taking into account the rear ruby window for film positioning, that also has a sliding cover to avoid light filtering into the film chamber and that should remain closed when not in use. Depending on the variation of our Franka Rolfix, it may have one or more ruby windows in the back door.

Most of these cameras were made for export purposes, and there are imprints on the leatherette external covering reading "Made in Germany - US Zone" and were sold at Montgomery Ward, world's first mail order business founded in 1872 and that during the 20th century competed against other known firms such as Sears or Macy's.



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