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Home > Using a Rollei 16

Rollei 16s,0016 Photo F.W. Stutterheim
Photograph of Ferdi‘s black Rollei 16 S camera.
Photo © 2022  F.W. Stutterheim [Rolleiflex 6008i, Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 4/120 mm PQS HFT]

Using a Rollei 16 for photography

The Rollei 16 camera is a well built beautiful camera, so owners may be keen to use it for photography. It is not at all easy. There are some issues with the camera itself, obtaining and processing of film and the necessary cassettes. It can be done but there is more to it than just buying ready to load film and bringing it in at a local shop for processing. There is a lot of DIY to be done.

I have not done any photography with the Rollei 16 myself. My camera looks beautiful but is not in full working order. The finder opens fine and the shutter is working The film speed dial and filter setting button cannot be moved. They should be blocked only with an open finder and un-blocked with the finder closed. I have not been able the check the light-meter and the green light indicating sufficient light. I purchased the camera mainly to take some pictures of it and I have not decided on having it serviced.

The camera

The Rollei 16 camera is designed as a fully automatic camera meaning automatic exposure. There is no option of manual exposure except for the flash setting with a shutter speed of 1/30 s and any aperture. The automatic exposure is controlled by a Selenium light-meter that may be unreliable after 50 years.

The film cassette

The cassette itself is not necessary to take pictures. The camera works with film without a cassette and the film will be properly transported but loading and unloading film has to be done in complete darkness.

Original Rollei Super 16 cassettes

The Rollei 16 uses the same cassette as the Goldammer Goldeck 16 and Wirgin 16 (Edixa 16) cameras. The Super 16 cassettes are also known as Rada cassettes. They can only be found on the ‘used’ market and are very scarce and thus expensive when found. The positive side is that they are relatively easy to load with film.

Replica Rada cassettes

Replica Rada cassettes are offered on the internet. The molds to produce the replicas are made using an original cassette. I have no experience with this product.

Eastman 7222
Eastman 7222 Double-X 16 mm negative film.

The film

The film is standard 16 mm gauge. Film for 16 mm still photography is long gone, you will be limited to 16 mm motion picture film. Most film of that gauge is double perforated, but the Rollei 16 is made for single perforated film. Double perf film can be used but the larger image extends into the second line of perforations. I understand that Eastman 7222 Double X is a good choice of film. It is sold as 16 mm × 30.5 m (100 ft). The user has to cut a length of about 50 cm to take 18 exposures. D96 is the preferred developer.