One outstanding product to emerge from this period was the Rolleiflex SLX in 1974. The electronics, automatic functions and integrated motorised film advance feature were unique for a medium format camera at this point in time. Fully electronic cameras, which enabled the aperture, shutter speeds and focus to be automatically adjusted, made taking photographs increasingly more user-friendly. A further milestone in photo history.
From 1974, a period followed for the company that was characterized by what was in some cases confused model policy, bad investments and changes of management. In 1981, the company Rollei-Werke returned to “private ownership”, with Norddeutsche Landesbank selling its shares to a number of shareholders — amongst these Hansheinz Porst. From this point on, the bank that had once been associated with the company ceased to provide any funding. Only three months later, the company became insolvent, resulting in the subsequent liquidation of the business by its creditors.
New company concept - Rollei Fototechnic
In that very same year, a “small contingency solution” was worked out. The new company “Rollei Fototechnic” was to take up the old Rollei concept again and use the production facilities in Braunschweig for producing high-quality, unrivalled professional products in small quantities.
In January 1982, United Scientific Holdings of London took over “Rollei Fototechnic”. The new product range included the proven Rollei cameras Rolleiflex SLX, SL 66 and the SL 2000F, Rollei’s first 35 mm reflex camera with an interchangeable magazine. In addition, high-precision opto-electronic equipment for civil and military use was produced.
The years up to 1986 were also characterised by the return to the Rollei classics. Special limited editions such as the twin-lens Rolleiflex 2,8 F Aurum and the Rollei 35 in gold and platinum were greeted with enthusiasm the world over.
On 10 July 1987, the German company Optische Werke Schneider of Bad Kreuznach took over “Rollei Fototechnic”. The focus was on know-how transfer and the joint utilisation of the research capacities, taking the latest technologies into account. In the same year, the modified classics Rolleiflex 2,8 GX with TTL exposure metering and flash control and the Rollei 35 classic caused a sensation. At the photokina exhibition in 1988, the Rolleiflex 6008 was presented as the most cutting-edge medium format camera featuring a new lens. [more...]