Photo (c) Die Hochzeitsfotografen Angelika & Arthur

The Rollei System Hy6

The fine art sector is known for its  perfectionism. There are many photographers who count on medium format and dally over the Contax system, which is always associated with wedding photography.

Paradoxically this camera brand is burned into wedding photographers minds with its medium format model 645 as an absolute standard. The production of this system found its end in year 2005 whereby 13 years later a maintenance and repair gets more and more difficult on the one hand and even more expensice on the other.

As with lot of things which are rare and in a good condition there are many myths – especially with the Contax645. Often the 1,2:80mm Zeiss lens is rated as the ultimate premium lens. Irrespective that there is a German system since 1973, which dwarfs the quality of the Contax645 by far: The Rollei system.

The american trend now reached Germany and we are asked by many fine art photographers which camera system is best for the professional work they are doing. We give advice with systems, which still are produced and maintained.

Jörg Bergs

The high-end process-controlled Rollei system

In year 1973 Rollei presented their Rolleiflex SLX which was the first process-controlled medium format camera on the market. A 6×6 camera with automatic exposure control, motorised film transport and linear motor shutters – known as the 6000 system. Technically this system overtook all other manufacturers who produced medium format cameras. Loads of cameras were produced in the last 30 years up to the Rollei 6008 AF, a fully automated medium format camera with autofocus.


 Rollei Hy6

As the best medium format camera of the current market the Hy6 must not dread the comparison with admired 6×4,5 medium format cameras in the wedding business. This camera is compatible with all PQ/PQS lenses of the 6000 system which were produced so far. Furthermore it’s still produced and maintained.

The design is facing the demands of the market. The camera with good ergonomics can be used with confidence and convenience even in frequently changing circumstances. All settings can easily be found at a glance on the casing.

What is also a interesting fact about this camera is that the Hy6 can be used digital as well as analog through a change of the camera back within a few seconds. And as if that were not enough it provides 6×4,5 and 6×6 format. Coupled with the 2,8:80mm Angulon PQS lens the Hy6 surpasses as integral system in handling, stability and quality the admired Contax645 system.

 Comarison: Hy6 & Contax 645


Let us compare both systems and demystify the Contax 645 system. Same as a used Contax body with 2,0/80mm Zeiss Planer AF lens you pay around 3000€ for a used Hy6 body with 1:2,8/80mm lens. The significant difference: You can buy the whole Hy6 System new with warranty and support.

Contax 645 & Rollei Hy6

Let us compare both systems and demystify the Contax 645 system. Same as a used Contax body with 2,0/80mm Zeiss Planer AF lens you pay around 3000€ for a used Hy6 body with 1:2,8/80mm lens. The significant difference: You can buy the whole Hy6 System new with warranty and support.

At the first sight the original price for the Hy6 System seems to be high, but the professional market requires a system which especially at weddings needs to work reliable and can be maintained.

The Contax needs a high current with using the autofocus whereby the battery is depleted in a minimum of time. The Hy6 allows 500 releases with a fully loaded  battery.

Also important to say is the reliable light metering of the Rollei system. There is the opportunity to use the multi-zone measurement with weighting on the lower third or spotmetering.

Currently we don’t know any other system with such an accurate intern metering which obviates the need for an extern light meter.

A classic in this area is the 1:2,0mm Zeiss auto focus lens for Contax 645. It renders photos with such an unusual glance and with its own soft bokeh. It’s said that the rarer the Contax system gets the more glorified gets a photo taken with this 80mm.

A comparable good lens from Rollei is the Xenotar 1:2,0/80mm HFT. The difference to the Contax lens is marginal. However, the current 1:2,8 80mm Xenotar or Angulon lens have beaten those two lenses by far: Even with the widest aperture these two Rollei lenses give sharp focuses to the edges but still have a bokeh, which matches up with the Contax lens 1:2,0/80mm. Furthermore the bokeh of the Rollei lenses are much more calm and harmonious.

Very important is the exposure time: While 1/1000 is working reliable with the Rollei lenses, the Contax often gets problems with fast exposure times. The shutter is not quick enough resulting in half blackened photos.

 The Rollei seconhand market

The secondhand market for the Rollei segment is huge. For around 400€ you can get a reliable Rollei 6002. Rollei 6008 is available for around 700 up to 1000€ which is a pro camera and very close to the Hy6. Also there are lenses from 30mm up to 300mm. The shutter of the PQ lenses are working up to 1/500 and up to 1/1000 with the PQS lenses.

As already mentioned in the text there is a full support for Rollei products by DW Photo GmbH

Rollei 6008AF + 80mm Xenotar

 Cell exchange of old Rollei 6000 accumulators

Older Rollei 6000 bodies are working with an accumulator whose cells barely have capacity. But old cells can be exchanged with new ones. Around 40 medium format films can be exposed with those per charge.

Find your Rollei system here:

DW Photo GmbH
Salzdahlumer Str. 196
38126 Braunschweig

Bokeh Hy6 1:2,8 80mm, Offenblende

Bokeh 6008 1:2,8 80mm, Offenblende

Bokeh Hy6 1:2,8 80mm, Offenblende

Bokeh Hy6 2:1,8 80mm, Rendering