Rolleiflex SL66SE

Medium format MF film SLR camera


Production details
Announced:April 1986
System: Rolleiflex SL66 (1966)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:Medium format 6x6
Mount and Flange focal distance:Rolleiflex SL66 [102.8mm]
Imaging plane:56 × 56mm film
Speeds:1 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL)
Exposure modes:Manual
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description

Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and Rolleiflex SL66X - The State of the Art in Medium Format

Outstanding results can be achieved more easily and reliably with the advanced technology of a professional camera system.

These cameras incorporate the very latest developments in photographic technology but are easy and straightforward to operate. Now that the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and the Rolleiflex SL 66 X are on the market, very few technical obstacles stand between the photographer and the realization of his creative ideas. The main features of these systems are:

  • Mechanical SLR cameras for 6 x 6 (2 1/4 x 2 1/ 4) and 4.5 x 6 (1 5/8 x 2 1/4) format
  • Built-in bellows for close-up photography without accessories
  • Lens mounting with ± 8° tilt for application of the Scheimpflug principle (extended depth of field)
  • TTL exposure metering. Can be switched from spot to integral metering (on the Rolleiflex SL66SE)
  • TTL automatic flash control with flash metering at the film surface
  • Focal plane shutter, 1 to 1/ 1000 sec and B
  • Professional film magazine for 6 x 6 (2 1/4 x 2 1/4) or 4.5 x 6 (1 5/8 x 2 1/4) format or Polaroid stock
  • Top-performance Zeiss lenses from 30 to 1000 mm.

Both these cameras are distinguished by their great versatility, which is why they are so popular with serious photographers in many different fields of photography.

The Basis of a Perfect System

The photogropher can now rely on professional-quality mechanics without giving up the precision and speed offered by modern methods of exposure metering. The Rolleiflex SL66SE has built-in exposure metering which can be switched from integral to spot readings. In this sense, it is a "universal" camera, i.e. it can be used in the studio or outdoors, in constant or changing light conditions. Even when the battery is low, all the camera features apart from exposure metering remain fully operational.

The Rolleiflex SL66X is the ideal camera for assignments carried out mainly in constant light conditions, e. g. studio photography. Aperture and shutter speed are balanced using external metering. With this camera, even difficult shots, i.e. in the close-up or macro range, can be taken without major problems. This model also incorporates the modern TTL automatic flash system, which monitors and controls the flash light at the film.

The Whole Spectrum of Professional Photography

The wide range of applications of the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and the Rolleiflex SL 66 X is more than ample proof that these models represent the most advanced examples of pioneering photographic technology. This camera system successfully combines robust, reliable mechanics with fast-acting electronics that virtually make wear and tear a thing of the past. The system incorporates built-in bellows with a tilting lens holder, automatic flash with TTL flash exposure metering off the film, a range of lenses that leaves nothing to be desired - and much more. Every part of these cameras is built to the highest standards of precision. The truth is that these models are the envy of camera manufacturers all over the world! In terms of improved picture quality, they open up almost unlimited possibilities in every branch of classical photography.

Built-in TTL Exposure Metering - Spot or Integral Metering at the Flick of a Switch For the Last Word in Picture Quality

The Rolleiflex SL 66 SE has the most reliable exposure metering system available on the market today; through-the-Iens metering built into the camera body. LED indicators in the viewfinder show red for over- or under-exposure, yellow when the exposure deviates by half a stop, or green for the correct exposure. Exposure can be balanced with aperture or shutter priority. This method of exposure control simplifies and speeds up the photographer's work and ensures reliable measurements. The built-in exposure electronics provide problem-free camera operation, even with difficult shots or subjects. Angle of view and extension factors are automatically taken into account by the meter and remain fully operational with all the finder systems.

But the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE offers even more than this! The measurement characteristics can be set to either spot or weighted integral metering (simultaneous-multi-spot-measurementl. With integral metering, the centre-weighted silicon cell is connected up with four other photocells aimed at various points in the image field. This extensive metering not only provides a higher weighting in the lower half of the image, but also substantially compensates for any stray light entering through the viewfinder. This dual metering system makes the camera ideal for any photographic situation. It offers integral metering for relatively evenly lit large-area subjects and spot metering for back-lit shots and subjects with high contrast.

Through-the-Lens Flash Metering: for Reliable Results in the Studio or Outdoors

The flash metering system in the Rolleiflex SL66SE and SL66X incorporates the very latest photographic technology. When used in conjunction with automatic flash units and a special adapter on the SCA 300 system (e.g. Rollei SCA 356), a sensor monitors the light falling on the film through the lens during the exposure. It then meters out the flash energy required for the particular subject. This process automatically takes account of extension factors for filters, extension tubes or bellows - an invaluable asset, particularly in the close-up and macro range. And experienced photographers know that this is where exposure control is the most difficult, so the Rollei SL 66 accessory range includes a special macro flash.

Automatic flash can also be used with professional studio flash equipment, in conjunction with the FMI TTL flash exposure meter. The quantity of light can be regulated by adjusting the camera aperture or the light output of the flash equipment. For the trial flash required to balance the exposure, metering camera backs are available with spot or integral readings.

Unique Feature: the Built-in Tilting Bellows with Three Different Applications

The Rolleiflex SL66SE and SL66X have a built-in bellows for distance adjustment, which can also be tilted up to ± 8° in the vertical plane. This device offers the photographer additional advantages and creative opportunities:

1. Extended depth of field by tilting the bellows (the so-called Scheimpflug* effect)

2. Access to close-up and macro photography without accessories, especially when using a reverse- mounted lens

3. Shorter distance from the subject, even with long-focus lenses (e. g. 60 cm with 150 mm focal length)

Photos Sharp Right to the Edge: No Other Camera Can Offer This Kind of Quality!

By tilting the bellows ± 8° relative to the film plane, the depth of field can be significantly increased without altering the aperture. This is an advantage when poor light conditions require a wide aperture.

Or when the edges of the subject extend further than the depth of field available with the smallest aperture. The Scheimpflug* principle provides the answer to the problems of photographing subjects with vertical surfaces, e.g. in architectural photography (fronts of buildings, facades, walls, frescos, painted ceilings, etc!. And it has its advantages in table-top photography too. Less flat subjects can be brought into sharp focus by stopping down. This procedure is particularly useful when employed in conjunction with the PCS-Rolleigon shift lens.

* Named after the man who discovered it, the geodetic surveyor Theodore Scheimpflug. This principle states that if the planes of the film, lens and subject can be made to converge, the resulting image will be sharp overall.

Close-up and Macro Photography with Reverse-mounted Lenses

With the bellows, close-up and macro photography are possible without any other accessories. In particular, the image scale can be significantly increased without any need for extra equipment by simply mounting the lens back to front. For example, over 3:1 can be achieved with a 50 mm wide-angle lens. The lenses that can be reverse-mounted on the SL 66 SE and SL66X are the f4/50 mm, f3.5/60 mm, f2.8/80 mm and f5.6/120 mm lenses. With the aid of the scales on the bellows extension, the camera can be set directly to the required magnification for each focal length. For superior reproduction, the image scale should be greater than 1:1.

Shorter Subject Distance - even with Longer Focal Lengths

The full extension of the bellows is 50 mm. With the standard f2.8/80 mm lens, a bellows movement of 7.5 mm covers the range 1 m to infinity. The remaining 42.5 mm extension is available for close-up photography. The scales on the slide rail also show, next to the magnification factors, the exposure value corrections for three lenses (80, 120, 150 mm). (This is only significant for the Rolleiflex SL 66 X, since the SL66SE has automatic exposure metering). A millimetre scale is a further aid to precision.

The Rolleiflex Interchangeable Magazine System: the Right Film for Every Situation

Photographers know the situation only too well: a new subject or a fundamentally different interpretation calls for a change of film stock. Or you want to slip in a Polaroid shot to check the lighting. With this in mind, the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and SL 66 X incorporate a professional interchangeable magazine system. Magazines for 6x6/120, 6x6/220, 4.5x6/120 and 4.5x6/220 films were designed in close cooperation with well-known photographers. These magazines can be changed in an instant without losing a single frame. The small, handy crank for leading in and winding up the film, the film speed input facility (for exposure metering), the interchangeable film inserts and the slot for storing the darkslide are just a few of the useful features on these magazines.

In addition, the accessory range includes a cassette adapter for use with sheet film cassettes and a Polaroid magazine for 8.3 x 10.8 cm (3 1/4 X 4 1/4 in) Polaroid pack film-types 107, 108, 667, 668, 669 and 665. The Polaroid magazine gives you the choice, for each frame, of exposing two photographs in the 4.5x6 format or a single shot in the 6x6 format. The use of a single frame for two 4.5x6 exposures has obvious advantages for the cost-conscious professional: two lighting or exposure alternatives can be compared on a single Polaroid print.

Peak Lens Performance

The key advantages of a professional camera design are quality and versatility. Here, the lenses available for the camera system are vital. Even the best camera is only as efficient and versatile as its interchangeable lenses. A complete range of lenses was designed for the Rolleiflex SL66SE and Rolleiflex SL66X in close collaboration with Carl Zeiss. The outstanding performance of these lenses has earned them a world-wide reputation for being "Made in Germany."

Special Tasks Need Special Solutions: Rollei Has Them

Photography is a fascinating pursuit for people from all walks of life. The tasks and requirements of photographers are just as varied. Rollei offer top-performance professional equipment for unusual and "way-out" applications as well as standard photographic assignments. This is evident from their elaborately developed technology and their range of lenses for special applications.

For instance, the PCS-Rolleigon shift lens with a ball/tilt adapter is an ideal addition to the SL 66 SE and SL 66 X. It opens up the wide field of still life photography and for many jobs makes these models real alternatives to the view camera.

The Luminar magnifying lenses serve a completely different purpose. They give access to subjects that are invisible to the human eye and show fascinating and even disturbing aspects of the microscopic world. Thus, whether it's for architectural photography or macro work, the preparation of photographic records or creative portrait photography, Rollei's advanced camera technology and lens designs have the answer.

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.