The original SL66 entered the market in the fall of 1966 at the Photokina in Cologne.
This camera was an instant hit and has been the only Rollei model ever to stay in production for over 25 years: Proof of the ingenuous and timeless design of this camera.
In 1982, Rollei introduced a model with the integrated TTL metering developed for the SLX/6000 series and updated the camera's design. Later model changes include addition of spot metering in 1986.7
The SL66 was and still is the only medium format camera combining five unique features:
- Built in bellows (5cm or 2")
- Reverse mounting of the lens (retro)
- Tilting the lens up and down 8 degrees
- Completely mechanical design
- TTL metering with special hood SL66 (SL66 E and SL66SE have built in TTL metering)
Rollei uses only the best lenses for this camera: Carl Zeiss Germany. See lens page. The lens line covers everything from 180 degree Fisheye (30mm) up to a mirror reflex lens of 1000mm (Mirotar f 5,6).
Camera comes with a film magazine for roll film format 6x6cm (2 1/2 x 2 1/2"). Magazine has a switch for 120 or 220 film length. Also available are magazines for 4,5x6 vertical and horizontal, a Polaroid magazine, and a sheet film adapter.
Camera is completely mechanical and does not depend on a battery. Shutter times run from B, 1 second to 1/1000 second. Flash synchronization is 1/30 second. For studio use, leaf shutter lenses with 1/500 synchronization time are available in 80 and 150mm focal lengths.
The focusing knob and the Scheimpflug tilt release knob are located on the left side of the camera. The focusing knob has built in scales for 50-250mm lenses. Camera with lens in normal position will focus as close as:
- 50mm lens: 5 cm (2")
- 80mm lens: 16 cm (6")
- 150mm lens: 60cm (2')
- 250mm lens: 153cm (5')
In normal position, the standard 80mm lens will focus as close as 16cm ( 6") from the front lens element at a magnification of 0,6x.
Retro mounting of the standard lens enables the camera to picture objects up to 1,5x enlarged without the need to use any accessories. Retro mounting is great with lenses from 50mm to 150mm and ensures a much better picture quality. Retro also increases object to lens distance.
Shown here, 80mm lens retro mounted and camera bellows fully extended. This results in a magnification of 1,5x without using accessories.
Of course, retro mounting can be combined with extension rings or extra bellows. For extreme close up of 2-20x, special adapters for Zeiss Luminar macro photo lenses are available. Camera can also be mounted on a microscope. Special attachments hold small objects or slides for duplicating.
The SL66's most unique feature: lens tilting up and down 8 degrees. This makes it possible to enlarge depth of field dramatically without using a smaller diaphragm. Useful for table top items, architecture (walls, ceilings) and landscape (flower beds) and more. In combination with the optional ball bearing tilt head and a Rolleigon 75 mm shift lens, the SL66 challenges large format cameras with ease.
*Hotshoe bracket missing*