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Rob C

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« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2009, 04:55:02 pm »

I´ve been the Rollei TLR route too, as most of my working photographer generation has. They were good cameras and quite reliable - as far as I was concerned - but they were very limited in practice because of non-interchangeability of lenses. It´s not much use offering a single, slightly longer lensed version and another wider lensed version. 135mm was fine for heads in 35mm camera terms, but even a 150mm is rather short on 6x6, never mind a 135mm! On 6x6 I found 180mm as with the Mamiya TLR to be a good length but hopeless to use because of the parallax correction system - could Rollei have made a 180mm work better?

Rollei did make slrs early on (SL 66 - not a Mercedes) but they used focal plane shutters (back in the dim past of Hasselblad 500C days) and even Hasselblad gave those up for a few years in favour of lens shutters though they did re-introduce a few fp versions later on as specialist alternative cameras.

However, all these special considerations aside, Rolleiflex TLR cameras became just too expensive to make sense, and sense has to be made if you are working in photography for your keep. Despite having a couple of ´blads I would have liked to have gone back to a standard 80mm version of the Rollei TLR if only to provide hand-held options without mirror bounce in available light shooting. But not at the price.

Feet and shooting comes to mind, and I don´t mean mine.

Rob C

mattlap2

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« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2009, 05:05:57 pm »

Quote from: Christian Miersch
Eric, guess you have a point there. After all they cant have been totally incompetent if they lasted that long.

Christian

Christian,

It takes surprisingly long for some very bad businesses to disappear.  While Rollei made some truly great products over the years, they also had their share of missteps as well.   Many of the mistakes were made on the business side, others were the result of just bad timing.    Combined they took their toll and added enough baggage that they could not keep their heads above water.  

They had a number of very weak importers in the United States.   Repair was not thru the importer in the United States, it was done thru Marflex until their demise.   Their price structure was extremely high compared to even Hasselblad.   HP Marketing was their importer for many years, and never really did the line justice.   After HP it went thru at least one or 2 importers, before being sold via DSM, and then finally a short stay with Sinar Bron.  

They never really had a direction to their product line in the later years.   The 6008 was a beautifully designed camera, but had initial quality control problems.   The first batch of cameras were full of defects.  The first 5 systems I delivered to customers were all defective for entirely different reasons.   Eventually they got their act together but by them many of the initial customers went to other systems.  

Their scanning back was top notch, but they missed the move to capture devices.   At one time they had actually announced a capture back, but I don't think a prototype was ever shown or any delivered.  

In the end, they were just unable to play catch up and the weight of earlier mistakes took their toll.    I am surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Matt
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EricWHiss

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« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2009, 05:16:31 pm »

Actually a lot of complaints about this system are probably also voice for other makes - certainly I have read many on this forum anyhow.  I guess this is the issue with MF cameras in general.   It's going to be very interesting to see how the landscape changes for this format over time.  So many factors in play.
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cmi

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« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2009, 06:38:11 pm »

Quote from: mattlap2
Christian,

It takes surprisingly long for some very bad businesses to disappear.  While Rollei made some truly great products over the years, they also had their share of missteps as well.   Many of the mistakes were made on the business side, others were the result of just bad timing.    Combined they took their toll and added enough baggage that they could not keep their heads above water.  

They had a number of very weak importers in the United States.   Repair was not thru the importer in the United States, it was done thru Marflex until their demise.   Their price structure was extremely high compared to even Hasselblad.   HP Marketing was their importer for many years, and never really did the line justice.   After HP it went thru at least one or 2 importers, before being sold via DSM, and then finally a short stay with Sinar Bron.  

They never really had a direction to their product line in the later years.   The 6008 was a beautifully designed camera, but had initial quality control problems.   The first batch of cameras were full of defects.  The first 5 systems I delivered to customers were all defective for entirely different reasons.   Eventually they got their act together but by them many of the initial customers went to other systems.  

Their scanning back was top notch, but they missed the move to capture devices.   At one time they had actually announced a capture back, but I don't think a prototype was ever shown or any delivered.  

In the end, they were just unable to play catch up and the weight of earlier mistakes took their toll.    I am surprised they lasted as long as they did.

Matt

Matt,  

what you say seem to echo some stuff of the translated comment. I think both views must be true at the same time. On the one hand a good and utilized product and on the other hand also the problems mentioned. But I am not the one to judge about it, I didnt knew about F&H until the posts here at LL. As Im reading these threads slowly an image begins to form for me. It reminds me of the decline of the high-end 3D market back at around 1997-2000 with the advent of NT and cheaper and more powerful Intel processors. The MIPS with their R-processors couldnt compete anymore to Intel, NT machines got better and better, and this affected also prices for the high-end 3D softwares, wich dropped dramatically. A lot of consolidation was going on ever since, and the market for Highend 3D animation broadened. I dont want to draw too much parallels, but this here reminds me of it, with the same type of discussions also.

For the people now unemployed, and the photographers wich maybe will not make it, it is a sad story of course. I think F&H tried their best, and I also feel from what I gathered that they must have had a sense of social responsibility and maybe tried to preserve the jobs for their people as long as possible. This makes sense, they where in their niche and could go on and on and on like they where used to. I also feel they where acting in a certain german spirit, to perfect existing things, or to stay with existing things for as long as possible, because it is good enough, or because the business just works. I feel that maybe it must have been like this at F&H, or Leica. Like perfecting combustion motors: dont talk about Anti-Gravitation or wind energy. Maybe one could call it anti-progressive, but it is not bad per se, it is just that a certain niche has set, and people are working with it - real innovation has to come from elsewhere. Then of course with all consequences. For the market as a whole and for photography in general the current development will be good undoubtely.

Thats roughly how I would view it.


Christian
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dseelig

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« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2009, 07:22:46 pm »

I had a Rollie 6008 and 6003 cameras. I loved them if I still shot in a studio situaition I would still own them. also the lenses were very expensive. I live out west and for landscape work they were heavy and lenses weighed a ton with those leaf shutters built in. However they were my faviorite medium format camera bar none and with Rollie dying I am saddened. I do not know what the problems with the HY 6 were I played with a few but all too briefly seemed like a great camera.
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mcfoto

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« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2009, 08:12:13 pm »

From what I have read on the F&H subject the problems seem to go back to last year. By the time the new director came on board with his 10+ m euros it was too late. At the end of Feb 2009 the truth came out. Months followed with no response until what we have today. Who is to blame? Did the 5DMKII & Red camera have that much impact. With Phase buying Leaf ( parts of ) & not going to support the AFi camera we can only read between the lines.
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rethmeier

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« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2009, 08:42:30 pm »

From what I've heard is that Phase was begging to get on board with the Hy6,however Sinar and Leaf locked them out.
That only means one thing.
If Phase was allowed on the Hy6 platform,many more Hy6 bodies would have been sold,however the money is in the Digital backs.
Leaf and Sinar wouldn't have gained much from selling more Hy6's.
They would have lost,because more people would go for the Phase option with the Hy6(if that was an option)

My 2cw.

Regards,
Willem.
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Jack Varney

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« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2009, 11:55:16 pm »

Quote from: rethmeier
From what I've heard is that Phase was begging to get on board with the Hy6,however Sinar and Leaf locked them out.
That only means one thing.
If Phase was allowed on the Hy6 platform,many more Hy6 bodies would have been sold,however the money is in the Digital backs.
Leaf and Sinar wouldn't have gained much from selling more Hy6's.
They would have lost,because more people would go for the Phase option with the Hy6(if that was an option)

Phase may have been "begging to get on board with the Hy6" but if they were I have to wonder why. I loved the Rolleiflexes and in the late 1960s and hoped they would make an SLR version. My adreniline still surges whenver I see a Rolleiflex. Having owned and sold Rollies, Burleigh Brooks was the American distributor in the fifties and earliy sixties, I was dissapointed when it was time to move up to interchangable lenses and film backs. Rollei did not produce a MF SLR early and, when they did their prices were steep. I bought an almost new Hasselblad 500C kit instead.

To me, sadly, Rollei never developed a MF single reflex camera that captured the interest of the market nearly as well as the Hasselblad, Bronica or Mamiya. In the US these competitors were regularly displayed and the Rolleis seldom.

Over the last 60 years I have used many cameras and sold several at retail. Those owned include Rolliecord, Rolleiflex, Hasselblad 500C, Besseler Topcon, Canon A1, Mamiya 1000S, Mamiya 645 Pro and Mamiya 645 AFD. In my opinion, the Rollei single reflex cameras, 6000 series, Hy6/AFy cameras, etc. always seemed in a way"odd" or overly expessive compared to their competitors. Maybe it was because they were not as available to try as were their competitors.  

I went on in the business world only to come back to photogrphy, my first love, some 40 years later. For those of you F&H/Rollei fans, you must forget the idea that some firm will magically pick up production of the Hy6. It is not impossible but you have no idea how complicated this is. Furthermore, I think that, as much as I want MF competition to increase, the Hy6 is a loser in the market, relative to the competition as limited as it now is.

Now,for all you 6008, Hy6 and AFY users with all of your investment in glass, etc. I know this is a bitter pill to swallow but it is reality. I wish you better.
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Geoffrey

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« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2009, 02:04:27 am »

Quote from: Beachconnection
Phase may have been "begging to get on board with the Hy6" but if they were I have to wonder why. I loved the Rolleiflexes and in the late 1960s and hoped they would make an SLR version. My adreniline still surges whenver I see a Rolleiflex. Having owned and sold Rollies, Burleigh Brooks was the American distributor in the fifties and earliy sixties, I was dissapointed when it was time to move up to interchangable lenses and film backs. Rollei did not produce a MF SLR early and, when they did their prices were steep. I bought an almost new Hasselblad 500C kit instead.

To me, sadly, Rollei never developed a MF single reflex camera that captured the interest of the market nearly as well as the Hasselblad, Bronica or Mamiya. In the US these competitors were regularly displayed and the Rolleis seldom.

Over the last 60 years I have used many cameras and sold several at retail. Those owned include Rolliecord, Rolleiflex, Hasselblad 500C, Besseler Topcon, Canon A1, Mamiya 1000S, Mamiya 645 Pro and Mamiya 645 AFD. In my opinion, the Rollei single reflex cameras, 6000 series, Hy6/AFy cameras, etc. always seemed in a way"odd" or overly expessive compared to their competitors. Maybe it was because they were not as available to try as were their competitors.  

I went on in the business world only to come back to photogrphy, my first love, some 40 years later. For those of you F&H/Rollei fans, you must forget the idea that some firm will magically pick up production of the Hy6. It is not impossible but you have no idea how complicated this is. Furthermore, I think that, as much as I want MF competition to increase, the Hy6 is a loser in the market, relative to the competition as limited as it now is.

Now,for all you 6008, Hy6 and AFY users with all of your investment in glass, etc. I know this is a bitter pill to swallow but it is reality. I wish you better.

Harrumph. OK - the truth is out. The world has moved on and F&H and Rollei is left behind. So be it, its now a fact. Sic transit gloria mundi.  

But that doesn't take away from how good the cameras are/were, and how the strengths of the cameras were well developed. There were clearly issues with marketing, and the approach of a design/engineering led company trying to find their way out of the woods did leave something to be desired in the sales department, to be sure. But the fact is that the Rollei was always a traditional but integrated camera system, and one which (to my hands, eyes) optimized ergonomics and usability over other trends. Yes, they were for the careful photographer, but they did somethings very well. The TLR remains a viable camera even today, and while there are terrible issues of film loading, and non-changeable lenses (probably unacceptable in 99.9% of the market), it takes remarkably good pictures.

About 15 years ago I gave up the Hassy 500C for a Rollei 6003 and never looked back. I really liked the 6003 with its slimmer back and removable handle. It was a load to carry all day, but for a two hour walkaround, it worked remarkably well, and took some of my finest pictures. Coupled with the Schneider 60 mm lens, I'm not sure that progress on any other front was needed at all. The metering was impeccable, its operation always flawless, never a hiccup. And Rollei clearly understood something about film flatness. I'm wondering about going back to film, it was that good.

The 6008 AF was an extension (IMHO) gone too far - the AF was slow, the weight high, and the battery usage too great. On the other hand, new batteries now give days worth of charge, so that's not an issue anymore. The AFI/Hy6 was a good design coupling the older virtues with new technology, and while not for everyone, had great appeal. Maybe the 6x6 didn't make sense, but they were caught between keeping older customers in the loop and modernizing. It was a pretty good solution, again not for everyone. At $20-30k, it didn't make sense for me, but at $10-12k, I'd be cleaning out the closet for one....

As to Rollei being "head in the sand or the clouds", there is the terrible problem of being right, but with their timing being off. They had scan backs, digital backs, modular systems, two lens suppliers (and their own), etc. Just didn't hit the market at the right time in the right way. Yes, management is to blame, to be sure, but can we at least tip our hat to those people who made a fine camera for many years? If you can't, I surely will. My life and work is richer for the experience of these cameras, and that is no small pleasure.  

Geoff
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paratom

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« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2009, 07:27:55 am »

that an opinion not more.
Maybe they are/were sometimes slow with bringing a product, but they also brought some very good products to the market. The twin projector is one good example, and I do not see who else offered such a projector in such quality.
Also the Hy6 has been the first digial MF camera where you could exchange all kind of nice viewfinders, exp meter while using the WLF, use a rotating back, focus bracket,...
Maybe they were to early - bringing the Hy6 before there was a square large sensor available.




Quote from: Christian Miersch
In the comments to the first link at Photoscala wild discussion ensued, with some people avidly pointing out the unfairness of letting die F&H, while other companies getting resuced.

One commet there I found very interesting, in fact so interesting that I took the time to translate it. Im not an insider, I only follow these threads here at LL with great interest, so other may judge if it is true, or not, or whatever. So maybe its useful for some of you. At least for me it sounded partly plausible, and very true to german thinking. (I must say Im also a bit frightened about that hardness and frustration wich sounds through the lines, unfortunately.)

And please forgive my funny choose of words, it had to go fast.


Christian



And here the translated text:
http://www.photoscala.de/Artikel/Bei-Frank...#comment-106307
=====================================================================
Indeed, as mentioned in another comment: witnessing this fiasco in its full depth is truly no fun at all. A few remarks are in order:

There can't be any "long-experienced" F&H-Insiders since the "new" F&H doesnt even exists 5 years. Compared to the old FH/Rollei era this is hardly a blink of an eye. Whoever has witnessed the daily trot there will acknowledge this.  The overall view at Wikipedia about Rollei is quite correct, comprehensive and factual. Anyhow it also tells about the whole misery burgeoning since 50 years, if read right. Declarations about (wrong) strategies you will hardly find there, not because of lack of inquiry but because of the lack of formulated strategy since decades!

They bobbed up and down in a supposedly safe haven wich got smaller and smaller, so they shrunk too. Informed longterm decisions, guidelines, or goals: None. Beside of lots of hot air from the "management" there where no real intentions. Sample needed? "Just build 3000 projectors, we will manage to sell them" Said this decade - the whole market should have not much bigger.  Thus the Dia-Pro montage perpetued quasi until yesterday. And the two lensed systems owed their zombie-exsistence the continuous japanese insinuations of "Horseman" Komamura, mainly to service the collector market, and of course suddendly japanese parts got part in the high class german workmanship.

Wiki shows (indirect), that important trends where consitently missed in Braunschweig by 5-7 years, even then it was not much more than random tumblings into a general direction. Own big-mouthed announcements where only followed at least 2 years later with actions. Starting with the adherence to the two lensed system end of the 50's when the others built SLR's since long ago, to the "Start" of the 6008AF, without AF-lenses (wich came 2 years later...) Such behaviour is not only deadly in todays market, it was ever since.  And that became apparent very good in all new projects of the last 15 years.

But in one thing they where simply ingenious: To attract investors of all kind, size and couleur, and to bestow losses measured in millions upon them. In the case of separation wondrously and repeatedly as relinquishments in favour of some "earned division-manager" at the MBO (management buy out). A equally big throw was the revival of the "nostalgic legend" F&H through utilisation of said grandchild generation, however only with abandonement of the brand name + the last machines & real estates in favour of the last looted investor. Whoever gets vilified as locust should at least keep the warm ashes of the burnt millions...

The questions about technical competence, quality, etc., are pretty much answered by the things told above.
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Graham Mitchell

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« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2009, 08:09:30 am »

Quote from: paratom
Maybe they were to early - bringing the Hy6 before there was a square large sensor available.

A 6x6 sensor isn't necessary (and might never be competitive with 645 prices). Even a 645 sensor on the Hy6 would be amazing (especially with the upcoming 35mm lens - thereby silencing the 'lack of wide angle' critics), and this is very close to being achievable now. I hope the Hy6 players recognize that the design is close to paying off, after so much was invested in it. Abandoning it now would be equivalent to selling all your stocks at the bottom of the market. Despite Phase One's posturing, I think they recognize this and I still hope for an interesting deal to be made.


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Rune Werner Molnes

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« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2009, 08:48:37 am »

Quote from: foto-z
A 6x6 sensor isn't necessary (and might never be competitive with 645 prices). Even a 645 sensor on the Hy6 would be amazing (especially with the upcoming 35mm lens - thereby silencing the 'lack of wide angle' critics), and this is very close to being achievable now.


Do you really expect that the AFD 35mm lens will be released after the discontinuation of the AFi?
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Graham Mitchell

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« Reply #32 on: July 04, 2009, 08:53:46 am »

Quote from: Rune Werner Molnes
Do you really expect that the AFD 35mm lens will be released after the discontinuation of the AFi?

Probably not, if the Hy6 IS actually discontinued. The point is, that lens is ready for production, and 645 sensors are a reality now. The Hy6 is so close to plugging that wide angle gap, which seems to be the only real criticism of the platform.

(A 35mm lens on that sensor would give same FOV as a 30mm lens on a 48x36mm sensor, more or less catching up with the Hasselblad 28mm).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2009, 08:55:37 am by foto-z »
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mcfoto

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« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2009, 10:11:59 am »

Latest from British Journal Of Photography

Title: Franke & Heidecke to close
Feature: Daily News
Date: 4 July 2009

The German manufacturer responsible for 6x6 format camera bodies for both Leaf and Sinar is to close, BJP can confirm. The firm broke the news to its 131 employees earlier this week. The closure could dramatically affect the medium format camera market, days after Phase One announced it would buy Leaf's assets

Franke & Heidecke owns and develops new products for the legendary Rolleiflex twin-lens camera system, but it also produces a 6x6 format camera body for both Leaf and Sinar, named the AFi and the Hy6 respectively. Last March, it announced that it was going into insolvency, saying it couldn't pay its bills.

BJP can now confirm that Franke & Heidecke will close its operations before September 2009. In the meantime, servicing and back orders will continue to be fulfilled, according to press reports in Germany.

Leaf and Sinar didn't return call and email queries as this article was published, however it is understood that Sinar still has significant stocks of its Hy6 system and shouldn't be affected, in the short term, by the closure.

As for Leaf, last week Phase One announced it was to form a new company, Leaf Imaging Ltd, which would purchase Leaf's assets and enter into an intellectual property licence with Eastman Kodak Company.

However, in an exclusive interview with BJP, Henrik O Hakonsson, president and CEO at Phase One said that the new partnership could spell the end of the AFi system. 'The Leaf AFi is a camera system that is currently on hold,' he tells BJP. 'We have to determine if it is commercially viable and we are still not convinced by it. The new company - Leaf Imaging Ltd - has the rights for the Leaf AFi but we are not going to produce it.'
Franke & Heideke's closure could quicken Leaf's AFi death, unless Phase One decides to produce and support the system on its own.

The full effect of Franke & Heidecke's demise has yet to be felt as it could force another wave of consolidation in the medium format camera market. Check back on bjp-online.com/news for regular updates.

Source:

© Incisive Media Ltd. 2009
Incisive Media Limited, Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RX, is a company registered in the United Kingdom with company registration number 04038503
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uaiomex

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« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2009, 12:05:22 pm »

I'd guess that P1 decision to adopt or not the Hy6/Afi depends on how deep they are involved with Mamiya.


Quote from: mcfoto
Latest from British Journal Of Photography

Title: Franke & Heidecke to close
Feature: Daily News
Date: 4 July 2009

The German manufacturer responsible for 6x6 format camera bodies for both Leaf and Sinar is to close, BJP can confirm. The firm broke the news to its 131 employees earlier this week. The closure could dramatically affect the medium format camera market, days after Phase One announced it would buy Leaf's assets

Franke & Heidecke owns and develops new products for the legendary Rolleiflex twin-lens camera system, but it also produces a 6x6 format camera body for both Leaf and Sinar, named the AFi and the Hy6 respectively. Last March, it announced that it was going into insolvency, saying it couldn't pay its bills.

BJP can now confirm that Franke & Heidecke will close its operations before September 2009. In the meantime, servicing and back orders will continue to be fulfilled, according to press reports in Germany.

Leaf and Sinar didn't return call and email queries as this article was published, however it is understood that Sinar still has significant stocks of its Hy6 system and shouldn't be affected, in the short term, by the closure.

As for Leaf, last week Phase One announced it was to form a new company, Leaf Imaging Ltd, which would purchase Leaf's assets and enter into an intellectual property licence with Eastman Kodak Company.

However, in an exclusive interview with BJP, Henrik O Hakonsson, president and CEO at Phase One said that the new partnership could spell the end of the AFi system. 'The Leaf AFi is a camera system that is currently on hold,' he tells BJP. 'We have to determine if it is commercially viable and we are still not convinced by it. The new company - Leaf Imaging Ltd - has the rights for the Leaf AFi but we are not going to produce it.'
Franke & Heideke's closure could quicken Leaf's AFi death, unless Phase One decides to produce and support the system on its own.

The full effect of Franke & Heidecke's demise has yet to be felt as it could force another wave of consolidation in the medium format camera market. Check back on bjp-online.com/news for regular updates.

Source:

© Incisive Media Ltd. 2009
Incisive Media Limited, Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RX, is a company registered in the United Kingdom with company registration number 04038503
« Last Edit: July 04, 2009, 12:05:47 pm by uaiomex »
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Carsten W

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« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2009, 12:16:13 pm »

Quote from: uaiomex
I'd guess that P1 decision to adopt or not the Hy6/Afi depends on how deep they are involved with Mamiya.

I doubt it; they own a controlling share of Mamiya. More likely, it depends on the price that they have to pay for the AFi (I doubt the Hy6 is for sale; being Sinar's camera at this point). Combine the AFi with the P65+, a rotating adapter, and the Schneider lenses, and you have a compelling studio camera which can compete with Hasselblad on its own turf. It would take a long time before the AFD could evolve that far, and before the leaf shutter lenses are ready.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2009, 12:17:54 pm by carstenw »
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« Reply #37 on: July 08, 2009, 04:37:13 am »

Title: Franke & Heidecke facing the end
Feature: news
Date: 8 July 2009

The German company behind the Rolleiflex twin-lens camera system and the 6x6 format camera body for both Leaf and Sinar has closed, BJP can reveal. Its closure also deals a heavy blow to the Leaf AFi system and reshapes the entire medium format camera landscape.

Last week, BJP learnt that Franke & Heidecke had sent a letter to its 131 employees, spelling the end of all operations. Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke formed the company in 1920, when they launched the Werkstatt fur Feinmechanik und Optik, Franke & Heidecke workshop. The company developed and successfully marketed the Rolleiflex brand and became a major player in the medium format camera market.

When digital took over, Franke & Heidecke developed the 6x6 body it marketed under the Rolleiflex Hy6 name, and licensed to Leaf and Sinar, which respectively sold it under the AFi and Hy6 brands.

Already, the news of Franke & Heidecke's demise has claimed one victim: the Leaf AFi camera system, which BJP can confirm is now on hold. Ziv Argov, head of sales and marketing for Leaf Imaging - a company created by Phase One and former managers at Leaf - tells BJP that while it has the rights for the Leaf AFi, it 'is not planning to manufacture it. With the complex situation in Germany, the Leaf AFi is currently on hold'.

He adds: 'Leaf Imaging will not be selling the AFi on Day One of operations. We have to determine its viability. We are very interested in participating with others in making the system commercially available. Obviously, this will require one more partner with production capabilities, including lenses, shutters, and so on.'

Franke & Heidecke's closure only precipitated the demise of the AFi system. Last month, in a wide-ranging interview with BJP, Henrik O Hakonsson, president and CEO at Phase One confirmed the AFi system was being re-evaluated after Phase One agreed to form Leaf Imaging to buy Leaf's assets. He had warned that the system's fate would be determined by Franke & Heidecke's financial situation.

Sinar is also affected by the Franke & Heidecke closure. Speaking to BJP, a Sinar spokeswoman reacted to the news: 'Unfortunately the final decision about the Sinar Hy6 camera is still pending,' she says. 'Sinar is still confident this product will continue. A final decision is expected around end of July.' However, the company is refusing to comment further in an effort to control its message, according to the spokeswoman.

The financial troubles at Franke & Heidecke started last year after the firm partnered with Hans R Schmid Beteiligungs to inject new finance to support an increase in its production of camera systems and lenses. However, by January this year the company appeared to be running into difficulties and it announced that its chief executive officer would leave the company following disagreements with the new partner, who had become the majority shareholder as part of the investment deal.

'In view of different views regarding past and future policies and cooperation with the new partner Hans R Schmid, Mr Bodo Fischer offered his resignation from the management of Franke & Heidecke, an offer that was accepted by the company,' the firm said in a statement in January.

In a March statement, the company said it was being forced into administration.

Closure

However, after three months of negotiations with the German government and banks, Franke & Heidecke told its employees on 01 July that it would close down and end all its operations by September this year, putting an end to 80 years of Rolleiflex cameras and the two-year old collaboration with Jenoptik, Leaf and Sinar to produce the 6x6 medium format camera.

The 'open' digital platform initiative came after Hasselblad announced its H3D camera would no longer be made compatible with competing digital backs (BJP, 18 October 2006), citing a lack of co-operative investment from other makers.

The development of the camera was, at first, largely financed by Jenoptik, which hoped to recuperate the costs by 'franchising' the camera to Leaf, and by distributing it through its subsiduary company, Sinar.

It is widely expected that Franke & Heidecke's demise will reshape the entire medium format camera market, with Sinar expected to communicate the future of its product lines this month.

Check bjp-online.com/news for further updates.

Source:

© Incisive Media Ltd. 2009
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Denis Montalbetti
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Franke & Heidecke closes
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2009, 08:18:17 am »

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Brent Daniels

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Franke & Heidecke closes
« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2009, 10:23:06 pm »

There is some good news for the owners of Rollei products. F&H has set-up a service centre that will not be affected by the financial situation and will offer service into the future.

The quoted items below are direct from inquiries made of F&H as of 2 days ago:

we, F&H, are still doing the service on all shutters, lenses and cameras. Of course you can send the
shutters to us for repairing, even in the future.

Best regards, Rolf Daus


No, service is not effected by the financial situation, also a small production-team is here.


Cheers

Brent Daniels



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