This test proved to me several things. First, c.1956 Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex cameras can keep up with modern photographic equipment. Let me put this another way; I’m blown away by the fact that a 50 year old single coated lens camera can produce large prints that show as much fine resolution and detail as the best modern multicoated lens that I currently own. Both Rolleiflex tested at 96 lines per mm against the USAF Resolution test chart. This equals the newer Zeiss Planar optics in the Hasselblad. Both Rolleiflex controlled flare better than the 500CM too. In practical use, a photographer would be very hard pressed to tell the difference between images taken with c.1956 Rolleiflex and the latest greatest mulitcoated wonder-camera. In oh so many ways, this was a staggering realization.
My tried and true Mamiya 7 travel companion came shining through. I had assumed its optics were slightly less contrasty than the Hasselblads 80mm CT* Planar. With the possible exception of its interchangable film backs, I no longer feel that I’m missing something now that I sold the beautiful 500CM. While Mamiya has made consistantly fine camera equipment, I somehow believed that the Hasselblad was a sharper, more constrasty solution. In this test, the Mamiya 7 is the hands down winner on all accounts. On this day, there was none better. But there were these two little 50 year old cameras that gave the young pups on the block a good run for their money. I knew there was a reason I needed to give Rolleiflex twin lens reflex a third try. I’m glad I did.
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