The AFI/Hy6

The AFI/Hy6
The AFI/Hy6
Geoff Goldberg
4.28.2013
The AFI/Hy6
Purpose! ..................................................................................................3
Overall
...................................................................................................................................................................3
History
..................................................................................................................................................................3
The system!.............................................................................................4
Body
.......................................................................................................................................................................4
Backs - Digital
......................................................................................................................................................4
Backs - Film
..........................................................................................................................................................6
Lenses
....................................................................................................................................................................7
Schneider
..............................................................................................................................................................8
Zeiss
.......................................................................................................................................................................9
Other lenses
........................................................................................................................................................9
Prisms and viewers
.............................................................................................................................................9
Differences - Leaf, Rollei and Sinar
...............................................................................................................10
Other Information!.................................................................................12
Other platforms and the AFI mount
............................................................................................................12
Buying and Service
............................................................................................................................................12
Other Information Sources:
...........................................................................................................................12
Focus Adjustment on the Hy6!.............................................................14
Introduction
.......................................................................................................................................................14
Setup Process
....................................................................................................................................................14
DRAFT
4.28.13
Purpose
This informal “primer” on the Hy6 system was assembled to answer questions about the system, how it
works in real world with some user input on the use of digital backs on the Hy6.
Overall
The Hy6 system is a well regarded MF system, with a great deal of flexibility, easy to use. In one sense, it
can be seen as not just an extension of the Rollei 6000 series, but also, some might see it as a
continuation of the Hassy V system, which it is closer too in size, as a highly flexibly compact MF system.
Its components are fully modular and can be changed at any time: the backs are removable, the lens
lineup extensive, with different viewing options. Covered here are the basics of the system, differences
between the model offerings, descriptions of the lenses for the system, and use of digital backs. More
complete information can be found on the web at: Rolleiflex Pages, in their particular and very detailed
section on the Hy6.
Please note that this is a personal set of answers from a Hy6 owner and does not reflect any corporate
endorsement.
History
The Hy6 was the last product to be made from the Rollei factory, then called F&H (after the founders of
Rollei). It was developed with a number of partners and an outside design consultant to be a a fully
electronic MF SLR camera that would allow easy use of 6x6 film and digital backs, as well as all the lenses
and accessories from the 6000 series cameras.
Due to its shared ownership and complicated licensing agreements, the camera suffered from poor
marketing with a difficult introduction. The roles of each player in the project (Sinar, Leaf and Rollei) were
never clear, but each had their own labelled version with world-wide distribution arrangements too
complicated for anyone to understand.
At the same time, F&H struggled with debt taken out by their previous owner, and was to restart as a
much smaller company, now called DHW, with many of the older employees of the company. While they
have a very modest market presence, everything needed can be gotten from DHW, who continue to
service and sell the camera. They have remained in business for the past five years, and are busy with
between 25 and 50 employees, continuing to make older film cameras and the Hy6. Their products are
good, their service quick, and they continue to make modest improvements to the camera.
The system
Three things to be considered in the camera system are the body, the backs and the different lenses
available for use.
Body
The camera body was originally called the Hy6 and made by the Rollei firm (then called F&H). It was
made available in three flavors, with very minor variations and different names on its front - Rollei, Sinar
kept the Hy6 name. Leaf called theirs the Leaf AFI.
All the bodies are largely fully compatible. There were some minor differences, in the internal battery
slot in the handle (each one was matched to go with the back provider); also there were color
differences between the Sinar and Leaf versions of the camera and their accessories, the Sinar version
being a bit more blue-hued grey to match their eMotion digital back color and the Leaf more smoky grey
to match their Aptus digital back coloring. But in their basics, all lenses, finders, backs and accessories
work on all three versions, all parts are interchangeable.
For the body operation, a few features stand out: ergonomically, the Dedicated Mirror Lock Up button is
just near thumb position, for easy finding and use in regular operation. Remote shutter release is
available for either the shutter or a digital back, but also a release delay (1/2-30 seconds) can be readily
programmed into the camera, so that its not needed.
Other little known but cool features of the Hy6 include: focus trap, focus stepping (bracketing), exposure
bracketing (adjustable) read out for focus distance (distance to object), fully customizable settings for AF,
exposure, and flash compensation. Separate buttons for exposure and flash metering adjustment
compensation, among others. There are also adjustments for resizing the AF reading, shooting speed and
focus offset (see below).
In 2012 DHW introduced a newer version of the Hy6, called the mod. 2. Now all in black, this model has
been improved to reduce mirror vibration, better software control of focus offset, a correction to the
body to limit the possibility of damaging the AF through overtightening the tripod mounting, and other
minor improvements. Older Hy6 models can be upgraded with all of these improvements except for the
color changes.
Backs - Digital
The Hy6 was designed to take both digital and film backs. The backs click onto the camera with a
proprietary mount, using four pins (called the AFI mount). Originally two digital back makers made backs
for the camera system - Sinar and Leaf - which fit on all versions of the Hy6. Phase One never fitted
their back to the camera. At this time, Leaf makes the most current back for the camera, making two
models, one based on the older Aptus arrangement, and another on their new Credo chassis.
Initially, Leaf made an AFI 5, 6, 7, 10 and then improved these with the AFI II 7 and 10, with rotating
internal sensors and a flip rear screen, very preferable. Leaf then put into production a further improved
model, their AFI 12R, using the 80 mb sensor from Phase One (their parent company), subsequently
relabeled as the Aptus II 12 in the AFI mount. This back is still available, and is the last back available with
the rotating sensor. The revolving sensor in the AFI II 7, 10, and 12 means the back can remained
attached to the camera regardless of orientation, thus reducing the possibilities of dust and mishap. The
Leaf Aptus II 12 (in the AFI mount) takes remarkable files, but uses batteries more rapidly; so too full
zoom to 100% takes a bit longer than in the 7 or 10.
Leaf AFI with articulating rear screen of their older AFI backs
In 2012 Leaf announced that their new style back, their Credo would be available in 60 and 80 mp in AFI
mounts. This back features the updated internals of the Phase IQ backs with its rapid zoom and live view
and faster controls on the back. but is without some features such as Phase One’s pixel binning. Also lost
is the articulated sensor screen and the rotating sensor from the previous Leaf backs.
Sinar did produce several backs for the Hy6 platform, including their more recent eMotion series and
their 54 and 75 series. Knowledge on these is limited, as Sinar has very limited presence in the US. The
backs used the same Dalsa sensor as the Leaf backs, and once Sinar software was mastered, gave good
results. Sinar used an interchangeable rotating adapter, allowing mounting on alternative platforms by
changing 4 screws. The last iteration of these backs (eSpirits?) I believe had files could be processed in
third party software. For their older tethered backs, there was a non-rotating Hy6 adapter as well.
Sinar Hy6 with their rotating back mount.
Backs - Film
Two film backs are available for the Hy6, one for 6x6 and another for 645, both have built-in darkslides.
They work well, are modest in size, but are somewhat more complex than the 6008 film backs. Both
backs take 120 or 220 film, and have small batteries with some intelligence built in, for film size, ISO, and
film counting. While it takes a moment to figure it all out, it becomes apparent after a while. One, called
the 6060, takes 12 6x6 shots on a 120 roll.
The other back, called the 6450, takes 16 6x4.5 cm shots per roll. The 6450 works by fitting into an
adapter for the Hy6, so it uses the 6450 back from the 6008 system. To change orientation, you remove
the back from the adapter and rotate it.
Lenses
One of the joys of the Hy6 system is the extensive range of lenses that are available for the camera.
Newest to the range are the AF lenses, including a 50, 80, 150 and 180 mm lenses, which I believe are still
available new from DHW. Of greater interest though is the vast range of older manual focusing lenses
that work fine with the camera, most of which are available either new or in as-new condition in the
secondary market. One of the features of the Hy6 is its very accurate focus confirmation system, making
it easy to use these manual lenses. This is a remarkable feature of the camera, making it more usable than
say the Hassy V series. The focus confirmation area can be sized in the camera software as well. Once set
up, there is little need to “chimp” for confirmation of focus.
There is a large lineup of compatible lenses from the past two decades, and are easily identified as being
PQ or PQS type. All are of very high quality and will work on the Hy6 without issue. The lens lineup
was configured to meet a variety of needs - for example, one way is to look for fast MF primes there is a
50/2.8, 80/2.0, 110/2, 180/2.8, and a 300/4. Alternatively, compact lenses include the 40 f 3.5, the 80, and
the 150 TeleXenar by Schneider.
They are leaf shutter lenses, with an electronically activated shutter. The maximum shutter speed of the
PQS is 1/1000, on the PQ 1/500. All these Rollei system lenses use a sophisticated proprietary mounting,
and thus far, mounting adapters to other platforms have not been made. Both Linhof and Alpa made an
adapter plate, so that the Rollei lenses could be used on their cameras, but this required use of the
external Rollei shutter control package, limiting use to the studio only.
Schneider AFD lenses in current production
Schneider
The Schneider lenses for the Rollei 6000 series cameras were designed to become one of the best MF
lens lineups ever made. This was possible as both Schneider and Rollei companies were owned in the
early 1990s by German businessman Mandelmann, who sponsored this unusual development. All the
lenses designed at this time are still of top optical quality, and are fully usable on the Hy6. All the
Schneider focal lengths are color matched and have similar rending characteristics, enabling a
photographer shooting with multiple lenses to have the same look throughout.
This body of lenses includes the 40, 50 AF, 60, 80 2.0 and 2.8 (both manual and AF), 90 Macro, 150
TeleXenar, 150 4.6 for the bellows (a special lens as well), 180 in both manual and AF, and a 300. All their
current lenses (AF type) are available in AFD, a higher specification lens just for digital use.
In specialty lenses: there were a couple of zoom lenses made in the past, a 75-150 and a 140-280, but
now there is a 60-140 AF lens. They also made a 55 PC lens, featuring shift in both directions and tilt.
While large and heavy, it still resolves well at f 11-16. There is also a Schneider 150 4.6 lens for the
bellows attachment; seemingly for closeups, it has a extraordinarty rendition that makes this lens
fascinating.
Their 90 Apo macro is thought by many to be the best MF lens ever made, and holds up favorably in
comparison to a Rodenstock 90 HRW on a view camera. Their standard 80/2.8 Xenotar is very very
close - truly a remarkable 'standard' lens, the 80/2.0 is similar, possibly better. The 150 Tele-xenar has
close focusing capabilities, the 180 and 300 even more sharp. The distortion in these lenses (if any at all)
is of simple barrel shape easily corrected, to the extent that even architectural drawings can be shot with
a 50 mm AF lens. Finally, I shoot regularly with a Schneider 60mm Curtagon, made in the early 1990s. I
have difficulty finding any lens superior to this gem.
Zeiss
Zeiss lenses for the 6000 series Rollei cameras are fully usable on the Hy6. For a short time, some
duplicated the Schneider lineup (40 with a floating lens element, 50, 60, 80 and 150) while others were
unique: such as their a 30 3.5 fisheye, 110 2.0, a 120 f4 macro, and two telephoto lenses, 250 and 350
mm. The Zeiss lenses are similar to those they offered for Hasselblad. About 15 years older in design
than the Schneiders, they perform well when stopped down, but are more prone to flare and suffer in
backlit situations. They also have a charming Zeiss look.
Other lenses
DHW put into production a couple of newer lenses a year or so ago - a 150 AF, and a 120, as well as a
newer version of the 80 mm AF lens, now an Apogon.
Rollei made their own lenses in the 1980s-1990s, called Rolleigons in the far east, and also the EL lineup
(under license from Zeiss), but they were not to the same standards as the Schneider or Zeiss and while
they will work, they are not well suited for the Hy6 platform. Older non-PQ lenses from the 6006 of
SL66 series will not work on the Hy6 camera.
Many lenses can be found on the second hand market at prices, which while not cheap, are less than half
of new costs. These lenses are amazing quality - I use the Schneider 80 2.8 AF happily as a copy lens, its
that sharp.
The Rollei range with the 6008 legacy is very deep and fully compatible. For accessories, there is a 1.4X
and 2X teleconverter - the 1.4X was designed to go nicely with the 80 mm Schneider AF, the 180 and
the 300. Used with the 80 2.8 AF, it makes for a nice 110 f4 for travel; and the 180/2.8 becomes a 250 f4,
both with no perceivable loss in performance. It can also be used with the 55 PC lens with extension
rings for shooting product.
A surprising range of macro equipment was provided for the 6000 series cameras and can be used with
the Hy6. This includes extension rings (both a modular set of fixed rings, as well as an adjustable one), a
closeup bellows used with the 150 f 4.6 lens, reverse mounting coupling for extreme closeups. There is
also a fitting for mounting view camera lenses into a fully operational Rollei shutter then mounted on
the camera.
Flash provisions include use of TTL flash via Metz modules, or TTL strobe connection via lumedyne +
metz. Prisms and viewers
A variety of viewing arrangements, easily changed, remain available. The camera is sold with a WLF, with a
different mounting than the 6008 series, but similar in operation. Prisms were available, made slightly
different by Sinar, Rollei and Leaf in both 90 and 45 degree configuration., the 90º being more scarce. The
I prefer the 45º prism, and use it about half the time with the camera; its a bit heavy, but with a nice
magnification. They replace the WLF for viewing without the possible distractions.
Two versions of the 45º prism were made for the Hy6 - Sinar’s had a concave carving out of the rear,
which allows for rotation of the Sinar version of the Hy6 digital back. The Leaf prism did not rotate, as
the Leaf back had its internal rotating sensor.
Focusing screens are removable, and in fact, all screens from the SLX to Hy6 are interchangeable. A
magnifying loupe viewer is also available - the one that Rollei made for the 6000 series cameras had two
parts - an upper magnifier and a lower base for fitting on the camera.You could use the upper one to
view transparencies. DHW will modify the base to work on the Hy6, or will also provide a new base for
the Hy6.
Differences - Leaf, Rollei and Sinar
Overall, the Hy6 system is a modular system. The lenses, viewfinders and backs are readily changed and
easily available. Pick what you want, and all these pieces will go on all versions of the camera. Rollei (and
DHW) were not so good at explaining all this, but the product is very usable and comprehensive. It was
built by people who clearly like to build well.
The camera body are very much the same, regardless of the name on the top. The lenses are totally
compatible across the entire platform, as are all accessories. Leaf’s digital AFI backs physically mount and
function on all versions of the Hy6 cameras (Rollei, Sinar and Leaf AFI).
Along with the nameplate change, there were some minor color differences between the cameras.
However, the main difference is in the battery configuration in the handle. The battery in the handle
powers the body and while it can also power the back, typically the backs have their own power
If one battery is used (located in the handle) it will power the camera and the back, and will turn on and
off with the camera switch. With two batteries (one in the handle and one in the back), the camera and
back will turn on together with the camera switch - very nice. Turning off the camera will just do that, as
the back also needs to be turned off on its own. So the camera will start with one button, but you have
to hit two buttons to turn it off. Its not a big issue.
There are some advantages in this - if you run out of power on the back, you can still keep going using
the single battery in the handle. Its like an emergency reserve. Better yet, the camera takes so little
power, you can swap the batteries, and use the depleted battery from the digital back to power the
camera, and have a fresher battery to put on the back. This will get you another 20-40 shots, for
example, assuming both batteries are the same. Initially, the Rollei version of the Hy6 and the Sinar used
a different handle battery than the Leaf, but DHW will happily supply (or modify) the camera with the
Leaf battery in the handle.
Hy6 and X-act 2 system diagram
Other Information
Other platforms and the AFI mount
AFI backs (or digital backs in Hy6 configurations) can be mounted view cameras.
Mounting plates for the Leaf AFI back can be found for the Alpa, Arca Swiss, Cambo, and Linhof. In
addition, Kapture Group and Silvestri make stitching backs for technical cameras with an AFI mount.
Leaf adapter plates exist for Cambo, Mamiya RZ, Graflok (works on many 4x5), and Alpa. Other view
camera manufacturers made adapters for the AFi backs: Arca Swiss, ALPA, Silvestri, Cambo, Linhof,
KaptureGroup and MerginX. The only other medium format camera that the AFI backs can be mounted
onto was the Mamiya RZ (with a Leaf-made adapter). The AFI back cannot be mounted on Hasselblad
and/or Bronica cameras.
Sinar’s digital back adapter allowed for easy mount changing, so their back can be used on a broader
range of cameras. Some of Sinar’s cameras were able to accept an AFI mount, although curiously not all.
Buying and Service
The Hy6 body, lenses and accessories can be bought from DHW directly. At one time, Sinar sold their
version also, but no longer.
Camera service is best done by sending it back to DHW. They receive the camera, send a quote and
then provide fairly quick turnaround. They also will service lenses.
Other Information Sources:
DHW Fototechnik GmbH
Salzdahlumer Str. 196 38126 Braunschweig Telefon (0531) 68 00 100 Telefax (0531) 68 00 295
DHW Fototechnik GmbH
read this also:
Rolleiflex Pages
image2output Limited: Unit 19, io Centre, Hearle Way, Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9EW
Compatible Schneider and Zeiss lenses, a rather large and complex lineup.
The “P” lenses were put into production
http://www.image2output.com Tel: +44 (0)1707 282 710 mailto: [email protected]
Focus Adjustment on the Hy6
Introduction
One of the features of the Hy6 is its adjustment for focus offset. Key is understanding that the offset
doesn’t change the physical lens or back location - it is a correction that changes what is “indicated” as
being in focus. The adjustment works at the level of camera software - it is, in short, "mental", not
"'physical". It doesn't actually change anything. Rather, it changes where the lens/camera tells you what is
in focus, so that when you focus, your results are sharp.
This adjustment can be done for each lens and allows the user to “dial in” each len’s in-focus setting to
give the most accurate results. It is not well addressed in factory literature, so these notes are to help
show how to use this feature. These apply for the manual setting of the Hy6, as the more recent Mod 2
(introduced in 2012) has an ability to store some AF lens offsets in the camera; these are not addressed
here.
Focus offset is easily set. It requires first finding out the best offset for your lenses, based on a simple, but
time consuming, initial set up. Once the correct offset value is known, applying it is done simply and
quickly. The offset will be different for each lens, so once a determination has been made for each lens,
record that offset on an easily referenced piece of paper. When you change lenses, set the appropriate
offset for that lens. Remember to change the offset for each lens when mounted.
Why is this needed? The simple answer is that the tolerances for focusing on a digital back are much less
than they are for film, and the offset allows for a micro-adjustment, to get the focusing exactly on the
film/sensor plane. If you are happy using a film back and get good results, there is no reason to get into
this. But digital backs require another level of precision and this kind of “tuning” turns out to be more
important than one would at first think. Some years back, Joseph Holmes broke open this issue, as he
shimmed an Alpa back and got a much higher level of sharpness with the back "dialed in" than he (or
anyone else) expected. Once tuned, the results are remarkable.
The Rollei Hy6 is one of the first cameras to have this capability, although now it is available in a number
of other cameras. For the AF lens, the offset setting adjusts what the camera tells you is in focus when AF
is snapped in. For the MF lens, the setting "adjusts" where the >< focus confirmation arrows indicate
what is in focus.
Setup Process
This process is to find the appropriate amount of offset for each lens. It should be done for each lens
independently.
1. Set the camera on a tripod, and aim to shoot a sharp target with good lines (like an ID card with bar
codes). Sometimes, close focus is different than far focus - pick where you want to place your
target. One way to start is to shoot at something about 10-15' away
2. The goal is to take a range of shots using different focus offsets. One approach is to make a range
starting at 0, going to +20, and then another from 0 to -20, in increments of "3". So 0, +3, +6, +9…
these will be general results, to be tuned in more precisely.
3. to do this, you will take a series of shots, changing the offset each time (for +3, +6, etc.), and
refocusing each time. The offset is found in the Options button (on the handle, by the display screen),
using the top scroll wheel, until you find "Focus Offset". The values of this are adjusted using the back
scroll wheel. Older versions of camera firmware (before 3.10) were more complicated, but now it
shows up relatively easier. See photo below.
4. after changing the focus offset setting, refocus. For the AF lens, resnap the focus using the AF button
on the left side of camera (above the AF settings switch in photos below). For manual lenses, refocus
using focus confirmation arrows. These arrows should drift out of their initial settings as you adjust
the settings. Keep a record of the offset used for each shot. If you work sequentially, its easier.
5. take your shot with the slight revised focusing. 6. change your settings, do steps 3-5 again. 7. inspect your shots at 100%.Visually inspect to see when the focus is improved. This can be done in
either Leaf Capture live view, or alternatively, one can take a range of shots to a compact flash card
and then inspect them in C1. 8. Once you know where the best general range for your lens, repeat the process using smaller
increments to get the precise value, working more precisely (+3, +4, +5) to get the best offset for
each lens.
Thats all to it. It takes about an hour or so (the first time) for each lens to learn what the offset is for
that lens, but you only have to do it once. Once you get the hang of it, you can get the general offset
much faster and then jump to getting the precise setting much sooner.
Typical ranges? A few lenses are at 0 or perhaps +5. Most of my lenses are around +15, and I have heard
of some being at +30. Rare to hear of any at -, meaning that the sensor locations are consistently off
from the film plane in one direction.
Applying the known offset is simple - you can simply select the AF Offset menu, dial in the appropriate
value for the lens of choice, mount the lens, and shoot crisply. Reset when you change lenses.You can
change this setting at any time. I keep a record of my offsets on a card in my wallet and on the phone.
You can also mark on the lens in some gentle way.
It is possible that for some lenses the offset can be different for close vs far shooting - for my 300mm
lens, the difference is from +12 to +15, but that is one of the more extreme. Typically only one offset
value is needed.
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