The Wide Angle Rolleiflex, known to most collectors as the Rolleiwide, was introduced in 1961. The Rolleiwide, and itís companion, the Tele-Rollei were marketed in response to those wishing for Rolleiflex cameras with interchangeable lenses. Rollei had been pursuing a design with an interchangeable lens board, but the cost was so high that it was simpler to offer cameras with fixed wide and telephoto lenses.
The Rolleiwide is based on the same body as the Rolleiflex E series. It is fitted with a 55/4 Zeiss Distagon taking lens, and a 55/4.5 Heidosmat viewing lens. It takes Bayonet IV size accessories, which are unique to this model. The viewing hood is removable, and also unique. The sportsfinder in the hood has an optic, allowing it to cover the field of view of the wide angle lens.
Later examples have the ability to accept a sheet of glass at the focal plane insuring absolute film flatness. Early examples lack this feature. The Rolleiwide was not sold with the meter, but the Rollei T meter could be fitted.
Serial numbers run from 2,490,000 through 2,493,999, for a production run of 4000 units. Production was ended in 1967. Cost in 1961 was $399.50, compared with $336 or $349 for the Rolleiflex 2.8F with Xenotar or Planar respectively.
The cameras are coveted by both collectors, as clean examples are difficult to locate as many were professionally used, and also by users as they have a reputation for producing extremely sharp photos.
The viewing hood, removed from the camera with the sportsfinder open.
The shade and caps for the Rolleiwide.