The Rolleiflex “Baby” models are twin lens reflex cameras made by Rollei. This particular model is the post war “Black Baby” and was made in 1963. The Rolleiflex “Baby” lineage goes all the way back to 1931 and ended around 1968.
The camera takes 127 film or otherwise known as 4×4 (cm) which is considered an obsolete or “dead” format because 127 film is no longer made, at least not in bulk or by major manufacturers.
You can find 127 film quite easily on eBay, but most of these are outdated and overpriced, and usually sold by Eastern European sellers. However, hang around and I’ll tell you where you can buy some fresh 127 film.
I have not used this camera extensively so this is by no means an official “review.” I initially got this as a collector’s piece knowing that I would not be doing much shooting with it.
The camera as is stated is pretty much a “baby” Rolleiflex TLR. You focus through the waist level finder using the knob on the left hand side and wind the film with the right hand knob. It’s basically a miniature Rolleiflex TLR.
The shooting lens is a 60mm f/3.5 Schneider Kreuznach Xenar which is basically a Tessar type lens that should be quite sharp and contrasty.
In my experience, you can’t go wrong with either Zeiss or Schneider lenses and on these Rollei cameras, they are top notch.
The camera feels well built, but may be a little awkward to hold and use especially if you are used to “normal” sized TLR’s.
The Rollei “Baby” models are quite popular with collectors, with the “Baby Grey” being the most popular and abundant. These can go anywhere from $50 to $250 if priced fairly.
The Black Baby goes for a bit more. I personally find this one to be the most desirable model because it is the one that looks closest to a modern Rollei TLR.
I got mine for a little over $300, but I’ve seen sellers asking over $1000 for them. However, those over $1000 usually do not sell. Why? Because people aren’t stupid! They know that 127 film is virtually gone and you can get a 6×6 Rollei for that price. A fair price I would say would be from $300-450 for this particular model.
Even though 127 film is basically obsolete, you can now get 127 film, fresh, from…B&H! Yes, that’s right, good old B&H. The film is only available in ISO 100 speed and is called “Rerapan 100” and it is a little pricey at $11.99 for each roll. If you go in there, tell ’em Sam sent you 🙂
Although I would greatly prefer the added versatility of ISO 400 film and a lower price, I’m happy to have at least one source of fresh 127 film.
Some folks have taken the widely available 120 medium format film, cut it down and re-spooled it into 127 film. I have not had the time, the skills, nor the inclination to do that however, not that it seems that hard.
Needless to say, at $11.99 a roll, this camera will not be a daily shooter for me. As I said in the beginning, I basically bought it for my collection, and to be able to actually shoot it is an added pleasure.
I still have my first roll of 127 film in this camera. When I get the results, and if they’re good enough, I will update you on another posting.
While most of these “Baby” Rollei cameras are sought for collections, they are also great shooters, and they are an interesting part of the Camera Legend that is Rollei.