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© 1998-2020 Ferdi Stutterheim

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Introduction

Some remarks. Assembling this chart for a modular camera system like the SL 66 cameras is complicated and perhaps the result is confusing. All lenses fit all cameras and all magazines fit all cameras. However not all system functions work with any combination of components. Most lenses are what was called ‘auto’ lenses at the time. They have an automatic diaphragm that only closes to the set aperture when exposing or when the stop-down toggle switch is used. The exposure meter does not work when that switch is pressed. It means metering at working aperture is not possible.

So, for exposure metering one needs a camera with a meter, a magazine capable of setting the film-speed and a lens that communicates the set aperture to the body. The exception is automatic flash control with the SCA adator. Flash exposure is read from the film during exposure, so any lens type will do and the film-speed is set at the adaptor so any magazine can be used.

The original SL 66 has no built-in exposure meter. The SL 66 X is basically an original SL 66 with flash metering only. The SL 66 E and SE can easily be recognised from the front by the exposure correction knob above the lens, on top of the lens carrier. The lenses fit for metering have black aperture rings and the film-speed setting on magazines is clearly visible. Early lenses could be upgraded and I suppose the upgraded ones have black aperture rings too.

Comparative chart of SL 66 line of cameras

Rolleiflex SL 66, SL 66 E, SL 66 X, SL 66 SE cameras
Item Description SL 66 SL 66 E SL 66 X SL 66 SE
Camera type Fully mechanical medium format Single Lens Reflex camera. yes yes yes yes
Production from:
until:
October 1966
March 1986
October 1982
September 1992
April 1986
October 1992
October 1986
Early 1993
Frame size 6×6 cm, 4.5×6 cm, 6×4.5 cm. yes no no no
6×6 cm, 4.5×6 cm only. no yes yes yes
Film types 120 and 220 roll film for 12/24 exposures of 6x6 or 6x4.5 cm or 16/32 exposures of 4.5x6 cm. Polaroid films, sheet-films. yes no no no
120 and 220 roll film for 12/24 exposures of 6x6 or 16/32 exposures of 4.5x6 cm. Polaroid film, sheet-films. no yes yes yes
Film speed Can be set on suitable Magazines in 1/3 step increments from ISO 25 to 6400 no exposure meter yes no exposure meter, film speed for flash metering set at SCA adaptor. yes
Focussing Manual, with knob on left side of the camera yes yes yes yes
Supported lenstypes Carl Zeiss T coated lenses, not labelled as T (1966 - 1973). intended lenses,
no exposure metering
no exposure metering flash metering only no exposure metering
Carl Zeiss (1972 - 1974) or ‘Made by RolleiHFT coated lenses (1974 - 1982). intended lenses,
no exposure metering
no exposure metering flash metering only no exposure metering
Made by RolleiHFT coated lenses with open-aperture-metering (1982 - 1992). intended lenses,
no exposure metering
intended lenses intended lenses,
flash metering only
intended lenses
Exposure metering 1. Centre and bottom-weighted multi-zone metering with 5 Silicon photocells behind the instant-return mirror no no no yes
2. Spot metering in centre of focusing screen by special photo diode, 3% of frame area no no no yes
3. Automatic stray-light compensation during metering and exposure no yes no yes
4. Centre-weighted integral metering with 3 Silicon photocells behind the instant-return mirror no yes no no
Exposure modes 1. Exposure balanced using shutter priority. no yes no yes
2. Exposure balanced using aperture priority. no yes no yes
Metering range In EV at ISO 100/21, f/2.8 lens no 1 to 18 no 1 to 18
Exposure correction Manually from -1.5 to +1.5 stops no yes no yes
Automatic flash control with dedicated (Metz) system flash units TTL flash metering off the film plane via additional Silicon photo diode for full flash illumination. no yes yes yes
X-contact for electronic flash with shutter speeds up to 1/30 s. no1 yes yes yes
Hot shoe with contacts for dedicated (Metz) flash units in conjuction with Rollei SCA adaptor. no yes yes yes
Rollei Adaptor type (+ additional part) for dedicated (Metz) flash units. none SCA 356
(+ SCA 300 A cable)
SCA 356
(+ SCA 300 A cable)
SCA 356
(+ SCA 300 A cable)
SCA category of dedicated flash units. none SCA 300 SCA 300 SCA 300
Flash synchronisation X-contact: Electronic flash 1/30 - 1 s and B.
Flash bulbs (AGI, Osram XM5, Philips PF5) 1/15 - 1 s and B.
yes yes yes yes
FP-contact: Long peak FP flash bulbs (GE31, Philips PF45) 1/1000 - 1/60 s. yes no no no
‘Cold shoe’, no contacts. yes no no no
Studio flash metering Integral or spot-metering with Flashmeter FM 1 no yes yes yes
Release Mechanical release, on right-hand side of camera front. Locked by turning the release button. yes yes yes yes
Cable release2 thread yes yes yes yes
Depth of field preview By pressing the stop-down-button. Press again to open aperture. yes yes yes yes
Lens mount Rollei Bayonet VI. yes no no no
Rollei Bayonet VI adapted to communicate the aperture. no yes yes yes
Multiple exposures With film advance disengaged. Screen image permanently visible in the finder. yes yes yes yes
Reflex mirror Instant-return mirror with partially transmitting multi-coating and pneumatic mirror damper, pre-releasable. no yes no yes
Instant-return mirror, pneumatic mirror damper, pre-releasable. yes no yes no
Finder System Folding hood with swing-out magnifier, can be exchanged for 45 degree prism finder, 90 degree eye-level finder or rigid hood. Interchangeable focusing screens. yes yes yes yes
Bright focusing screen with central split-image wedge and microprism ring. standard screen standard screen standard screen standard screen
Fine ground glass focusing screen. option option option option
Bright matt focusing screen. option option option option
Bright matt focusing screen with split-image wedge. option option option option
Bright matt focusing screen with microprism spot. option option option option
Bright matt focusing screen with clear spot. option option option option
Superbright focusing screen with central split-image wedge and microprism ring. option option option option
High-D focusing screen with with central split-image wedge and microprism ring. option option option option
LED Finder display Digital LEDs for:
  1. 1 stop or more under-exposure
  2. 0.5 stop under-exposure
  3. Correct exposure
  4. 0.5 stop over-exposure
  5. 1 stop or more over-exposure
no yes no yes
Film transport Manual transport. By knob or small crank, depending on magazine, to frame 1 and from last frame to end. From frame 1 with body crank. yes yes yes yes
Power supply PX28 battery3 no yes yes yes
Action grip Removable, with removable leather hand strap. option option option option
Interchangeable magazines Magazines SL66: 6×6, 4.5×6, 6×4.5, 120 and 220 film,
no film-speed input.
standard magazines,
no exposure metering
no exposure metering yes4 no exposure metering
Magazines SL66E: 6×6, 4.5×6, 120 and 220 film,
film-speed input.
no exposure metering standard magazines yes yes
Magazines SL66X and SE: 6×6/120, 6×6/220, 4.5×6/120, 4.5×6/220, film-speed input. no exposure metering yes standard magazines standard magazines
Polaroid magazines: several magaines without and with film-speed input no exposure metering limited limited limited
Connection Quick release tripod coupling with 1/4 and 3/8" tripod mount. yes yes yes yes
Dimensions Complete camera: w150×d175×h112 mm w150×d175×h118 mm w150×d175×h118 mm w150×d175×h118 mm
Weight Complete camera without film in grams: 1930 1900 1910 1900

Notes

[1]
The SL 66 is equipped with an X-contact but it cannot be used for automatic flash control with Metz or SCA adaptors. Back
[2]
When using a cable release it is strongly advised to turn the body release to its ‘red’ i.e. ‘locked’ position. It seems to prevent the cable going in too deeply, possibly damaging internal camera parts. This advice appeared in the manual of the SL 66 SE. It was never mentioned in earlier manuals. Back
[3]
The battery is only used by exposure meter and flash meter circuits. The rest of the system is fully mechanical. Back
[4]
The film-speed is set at the SCA-adaptor for flash metering. Back