Digitalisation has had a major impact on the history of photography. The first commercially available digital cameras, which were still referred to as still video cameras, began to appear on the market from the mid-eighties on. After 1991, digital photography became increasingly more popular, with the launch of the first professional cameras.
Rollei Fototechnic entered the world of digital photography in 1991 with the Rollei Digital ScanPack – an add-on for the Rolleiflex 6008. The images were scanned by means of a high-resolution CCD line sensor, saved on the computer and edited on the monitor. In 1994, the digital imaging system was extended with the high-speed Rollei ChipPack camera back, which was followed 4 years later by the DSP-104 digital camera back.
Parallel to this, analogue photo technology was further advanced during the nineties. In launching the Prego AF in 1991, Rollei presented its first modern compact camera with autofocus. In 1995, the Rolleiflex 6008 integral, with a completely redesigned electronic concept, became the most state-of-the-art professional camera for the medium format. With this camera, Rollei succeeded once again in setting new standards.
In September 1995, “Rollei Fototechnic” was sold to the Korean conglomerate Samsung. Through integration into this globally-active corporation, Rollei hoped for a significantly enhanced competitive position in the high-tech future. The company was proud of the Rollei / Samsung research and development centre that was inaugurated in April 1996. Because of the Asian economic crisis, however, Samsung also soon found itself obliged to sell off its shares in the company. The new buyers in 1999 were Paul Dume and six other managers. In November 2002, the Danish investment company Capitellum, headquartered in Copenhagen, subsequently took over Rollei Fototechnic.
The new millennium brought a host of new product releases. In the spring of 2001, Rollei presented five new compact cameras, followed by the AFM 35 along with two new digital cameras in autumn. 2002 saw the market launch of six new compact cameras, the Rollei d530 flex (a digital reflex camera), the Rolleiflex 6008 AF (first medium format camera in 6x6 format with autofocus) and the digital 35 mm camera Rollei d330 motion. The Rollei 35 RF and the Rolleiflex 4,0 FW wide-angle camera were also introduced at photokina. The years that followed also saw the consistent development of the digital camera lines. [more...]