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© 1998-2021 Ferdi Stutterheim

High D-screen with split-image wedge 1520, Photo F.W. Stutterheim
Photograph of a bright matt screen with central split-image wedge and micro-prism ring, in its frame in my Rolleiflex SL 66. It has guidelines for horizontal and vertical-format 4.5×6 cm images. The finder hood was removed for this image.
Photo ©2021  F.W. Stutterheim

Page Index

Introduction

Rollei’s medium format single lens reflex camera SL 66 was equipped with a folding finder hood and a bright screen (Helleinstellscheibe) from the year of introduction. Both the finder hood and the focusing screen can be exchanged by the user. A choice of interchangeable finders and focusing screens were available. The screen itself is inserted in a detachable frame. The factory advised users to purchase additional frames when a choice of screens is to be used regularly. It is much quicker to exchange the screen in its frame than the screen alone. The SL 66 shares its focusing screens with the Rolleiflex SLX, System 6000 and modern TLRs like Rolleiflex 2.8 GX, 2.8 GX, 4.0 FT and 4.0 FW. The screens are of the same size and are interchangeable.

Finder systems

Finder components

Part Production years Particulars
Frame for focusing screen in case 1967 - Additional frame for focusing screen.
Standard folding hood 1966 - Interchangeable magnifier, magnifier lenses from
+3 to -3 diopters.
Folding hood with direct view 1969 - 1986 Finder hood can be moved backward over the
magazine. Masks for 150 mm and 250 mm.
Rigid magnifying hood 1966 - 1993 Increased viewfinder image brilliance. Adjustable
achromatic magnifier enlarges the screen image 2½×
times and by rotating it, the magnifier will adapt
from +0.6 to -2.1 diopters. Rubber eyecup for
eyeglass wearers.
Rotating 45° prism finder 1968 - Prism lens combination gives a brilliant, upright
and laterally correct viewfinder image. An
interchangeable eyepiece provides 2½×
image magnification. Rubber eyecup folds down and
can be removed. The finder rotates on its base and
engages in four positions.

Focusing screens of the SL 66 era

A number of focusing screens was available for the SL 66 line of camera’s. The later Rolleiflex SLX, System 6000 and modern TLRs like 2.8 GX, 2.8 FX, 4.0 FT and 4.0 FW were designed to accept screens of the same size. The screens are interchangeable. The following table lists the screens that were offered in the SL 66 era. I do not know when production ended. It was later than around 1994. Some were continued into the SLX and System 6000 era. Others were replaced for new ones with frame lines rather than grids.

Bright screens

Screen type Production years
focusing screen
Particulars Screen Size
Bright matt screen 1966 - Focusing screen with microfine structure for full-area focusing and
unobstructed composition. Also suitable for small-aperture lenses
and for depth-of-field monitoring. Grid lines. #560 0401, #560 045
56 × 63 mm
Finely ground glass screen 1966 - Finely ground glass screen for ultra-precise focusing, especially in
macro photography, at all apertures and with more powerful focusing
magnifiers. No grid lines. #560 030
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
split‑image wedge
1966 - Universal screen for the most demanding focusing requirements,
with wedge and matt screen. The split-image wedge gives extremely
precise focusing on vertical lines, e.g. for architectural photography.
Grid lines. #560 050, #94 9112
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
micro-prism spot
1966 - Universal screen for rapid shooting with micro-prism spot and matt
screen. Allows trouble-free focusing even in poor light. Sharpest
focus is marked by a ‘shimmer-free’ image. Grid lines.
#560 060, #560 065, #64 913
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
clear-view spot
1969 - 1988 Special focusing screen for macro‑photography and photomicrography
with clear-view spot, measuring scale and matt screen. The clear-view
spot allows parallax-free aerial image focusing at extremely small
apertures. e.g. through a microscope. Reproduction ratio is set on a
scale. Grid lines. #560 100
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
central split-image wedge
and micro-prism ring
1976 - Universal screen with split-image wedge, micro-prism ring and matt
screen. Split-image wedge for precise focusing on vertical lines.
Micro-prism ring for focusing to a ‘shimmer-free’ image. Matt screen
with microfine structure for full-area focusing. Grid lines. #560 180
56 × 63 mm

Super bright screen

Screen type Production years
focusing screen
Particulars Screen Size
Super bright matte screen with
split‑image wedge and micro-prism ring.
1987 - Special focusing screen for extreme unfavourable light.
Grid lines. #560 170
56 × 63 mm

Focusing screens of the SLX and System 6000 era

Focusing screens of the SL 66 and the 6000 models are of the same size. The SLX and the System 6000 used SL 66 screens to start with. The screens also fit in the Rolleiflex 2.8 GX, 2.8 FX, 4.0 FT and 4.0 FW. Some SL 66 screens were updated, mainly with respect to grid lines. Often the grid was omitted or replaced for 4.5×6 cm horizontal and vertical guidelines. In next table only new or updated screens are listed.

Bright screens

Screen type Production years
focusing screen
Particulars Screen Size
Bright matt screen with
micro-fine texture
1988 - 1992 Micro-fine structure for focusing anywhere in the frame and easy
composition, also suitable for very low-speed lenses and for checking
depth of field. No grid. #97 052
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
micro-fine texture
1993 - Micro-fine structure for focusing anywhere in the frame and easy
composition, also suitable for very low-speed lenses and for checking
depth of field. Guidelines for horizontal and vertical-format 4.5×6 cm
shots. #64 911
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
split‑image wedge
1993 - 1995 Micro‑fine structure and split‑image wedge for higly precise focusing.
Guidelines for horizontal and vertical-format 4.5×6 cm shots. #64 913
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt screen with
micro-prism spot
1988 - Universal screen for rapid focusing with micro-prism spot and matt
screen. For easy and precise focusing even in poor light. Focusing
criterion: no image shimmer. Guidelines for horizontal and
vertical-format 4.5×6 cm shots. #97 074
56 × 63 mm
Bright matt LSC screen 1966 - Special screen for use with Digital Scan Pack.
Guidelines for 41.2 ×35 mm shots. #61 396
56 × 63 mm

The brightest screen is the high definition High D screen. The SL 66 was already out of production, but the screen fits that camera line too. Two generations of High D screens have been available. The High D screens also fits the Rolleiflex 2.8 GX, 2.8 FX, 4.0 FT and 4.0 FW. The most recently produced TLRs and System 6000 camera’s had the second generation High D as factory fitted screen. I have a first generation High D screen in my Rolleiflex 2.8 GX (model 1, black series).

High D screen

Screen type Production years
focusing screen
Particulars Screen Size
High D‑screen with
split‑image wedge
1996 - High definition screen for outstanding brightness of viewfinder image
and precise focusing even in critical lighting conditions, such as in
twilight or in a portrait studio. A central split-image rangefinder
facilitates focusing on vertical lines. Guidelines for horizontal and
vertical-format 4.5×6 cm shots serve to align the camera with high
precision. #10 772 (1st generation)
56 × 63 mm

Suppliers

Original Rollei finders and focusing screens

All SL 66 finders and most original Rollei focusing screens can only be purchased in ‘used’ state. The present Rolleiflex Hy 6 is equipped with screens of the same size. New screens should be available from the factory and from remaining dealers.

Third party focusing screens

Quality third party screens in several sizes with or without a choice of focusing aids are made by Maxwell Precision Optics and Rick Oleson BrightScreen. Mr Bill Maxwell has no website but he can be found at Facebook. His screens are of the highest quality and he can advise which screen to use. His prices reflect the quality. Expect to pay a few hundred US$. I do not have any of his screens in my Rolleiflex but I do have one in my Linhof. I am very happy. Mr Rick Oleson does have a website. You can order on line, choosing camera brand, type of screen and size. His screens are said to be of high quality and his prices are under US$ 100. I have not yet been a customer. For a comparison between a Maxwell and an Oleson screen read Mr Edward Goodwin’s blog3. His comparison is not entirely valid because he compared a screen without focusing aid with one having a micro-prism focusing aid. Never the less he gives a fair assessment of the two screens and a good view on the differences.

Notes

[1]
The 6 digit number is the order number, now defunct. Back
[2]
The 5 digit number is the (present) identity number, that replaced the order number. Back
[3]
Edward Goodwin Photography
Maxwell and Oleson focusing screens side-by-side. Back

References