Rolleiflex is BACK? Unfortunately NOT!

(Image credit: Fans of Rolleiflex)

Update: March 28, 2030: We recently reported that a rumor seen on Twitter hinted at a return of the Roleiflex brand with a new digital TLR, first with a subtle "coming soon" post is a blacked-out TLR-style body, which then developed into a reasonable spec list that had a few questions marks hovering over it, but was a logical move.

Sadly, it has now been reviled that this news was a hoax by student  Josh Know, who is currently undergoing a course in media studies and this experiment was part of a study on product pirating and the spread of misinformation. 

It's sad to think this camera will never come to the market in its current state, and Josh did formally apologize to the photography community however, saying you didn't understand that Rollei was still a used brand name and the impact this information might have is a rather sub-par stance. 

So will we ever see a digital Rolleiflex TLR?  Josh adds in his apology that he will look at ways if the community or following is willing to help try and get a Digital TLR out in the market, but my advice would be don't hold your breath. 

Original Story: March 23, 2030:  Rolleiflex, one of the most iconic brands in photography, is apparently set for resurrection next month. 

If you're a fan of the twin-lens reflex (TLR) film cameras from Rolleiflex, made popular by the likes of Eve Arnold, David Bailey, and Vivian Maier, then you will know that these have become very popular to own in the current analog resurgence. 

• Check out the best film cameras  and shoot like the old masters

However, it hasn't always been that way. As the original single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras became more popular back in the day, the TLR soon died a slow death… until now!  

(Image credit: OfficialRollei)

The newly-made Twitter account named OfficialRollei is teasing "The Worlds [sic] First Modern TLR" as being announced on April 20 2023. As this is a totally new account we have to take this with a big pinch of salt, as it could be just a joke.

But what if it isn't? What if a digital TLR really is on the way? I mean if it is true, and it uses the same iconic designs of the popular Rolleiflex models, then I would be the first in line on release day – but I do have some reservations.

My main concern is how a modern TLR would work in the digital age. If they go with the traditional waist-level finder, how would we be able to see the image through the lens? This could be done through an intuitive EVF integrated in the body, but would that digital and analog mix work? I'd be curious to see more on this.

The Twitter account has also released the potential specs of this new DTLR. It will have a 70mm f/2.8 lens, be fully weather-sealed, come with two SD card slots, weigh 860 grams, and will also come with an optional digital viewfinder – again I would be interested in this option to see how they implement this technology.  

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(Image credit: Australian Camera)

What I'd like to see on the Rolleiflex DTLR

1) Analog advanced frame

This might sound like a very odd thing to wish for, but it certainly has been done before and I think it would really work on a digital TLR. Epson first introduced this idea on its rangefinder camera, the Epson R1Ds.

I basically want to be able to advance to the "next frame" before I can take another digital photo; I think this would work well with that digital and film crossover.

2) Square format

This might seem more reasonable or completely idiotic to some, but when you shot with a Rollei on 120 medium format film you were getting the traditional 6x6 square format images. 

I also want this on the DTLR, and no I don't want it to be an "option" to crop into a sensor. I want a square sensor, believe it or not – they are out there and they do exist. Admittedly they might have to be older, more dated sensors to keep it as an affordable "novelty" – rather than the highest tier models like Phase One cameras that cost $60,000, but also have square sensors!

3) Film simulations

With the current climate of photographers running to some of the best Fujifilm cameras, and seeing this as a digital take on a film camera masterpiece, I would love the new Rolleiflex to develop some popular film simulations of the time built into the DTLR. These could include Kodak Tri-X, Aerochrome, or even Ilford HP5.

Obviously, this is my own digital TLR wishlist. And if they do actually produce this camera, and it's not a toy or a novelty shelf item, and it has a few of the above wishes, I think I'd be lining up to buy it… but would you?

If this article has been helpful I recommend taking a look at our guide to the best 35mm film stock and best medium format film.

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.