Any experience with a Rollei 35?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Elie Harriett, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Hi. First post to the forums and brand new member. I am an enthusiast in film photography. I have a couple of very nice 120 format cameras, and I'm thinking I would like to also get a very small 35mm camera as well, since there's so many other film options out there for 35mm. When looking at my options, I would like something very, very small. I was considering a Rollei 35. Could anyone direct me to some places where I can learn more about this camera and find out if it is for me? Any experiences you could share?

  2. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Hello Elie, and welcome. I used to have a Rollei 35 with the Tessar 40mm lens and it took very good pictures indeed, though I wouldn't consider it a "point and shoot" camera. They are well made and very compact, if a bit on the heavy side. The camera's odd ergonomics never bothered me, though it might not suit all users. They also lack a rangefinder, though the built-in depth-of-field scale helps make up for this, and the ability to take filters and lens hoods is handy. Price varies quite a bit depending on which lens you get (Sonnar, Tessar or Triotar). The website does a good job of comparing the different models.
  3. Ooh. Thank you. I did not know rollieclub was a thing.

    What really interested me was its compactness and it's ability to take the smaller pics.
  4. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    I have Rollei 35S with Rollei HFT Sonnar 2.8/40 lens with 30.5mm UV filter thread <br/>

    and Rollei 35 with Tessar 3.5/40 lens<br/>

    Both takes good pictures

    However, Rollei 35 has no rangefinder, you need estimate object distance.
  5. Rollei 35 Ilford Pan F Plus 50 boat slip.jpg Rollei 35 Delta 400 frame rack.jpg
    Hello Elie
    I have had a Rollie 35 for about six months or so now and I do like it. You really have to take your time with it as it has zone focusing so you need to judge the distance and sometimes you miss, at least I do.
    If you do get one make sure you read the instructions about opening and closing the lens.
    I have found that the filters and hood are a little difficult to find.
    I have attached a couple of photos from mine.
  6. If you want a rangefinder, look into the Olympus XA.
  7. The Rollei 35 is a superb little camera. I sold mine a long time ago because I needed the $ back then. If I was set up to shoot a lot of film, I would buy another one. Tiny, capable, and beautifully crafted.
  8. Thank you all for the suggestions. I have never used a zone focusing camera before. There is some appeal to this. I may also look to John Shriver's suggestion and take a look at the XA too. Maybe ease my way into it. After a bit of research, it looks like there was an SLR option with removable lenses and a more beginner one with the lens attached that may be a better starter option. Either way, looking at prices they seem to be (for the moment, at least), rather underappreciated cameras, which is a good thing.
  9. I've bought a Rollei 35S a few years ago for 80 Euro and I've put a few rolls through it since then.
    They German-made ones seem to command a bit higher prices, but technically they're all fine.

    The camera is a lovely little marvel of engineering.

    Rollei 35S (sonnar). Fomapan 100 pushed to 200.
  10. The SLR version you refer to is certainly not small. While quite nice cameras in their own right and wonderful lenses, these are not small at all. The Minox and later the Voigtlaender Vito C Balda are other mini 35mm cameras. I am quite sure both have no rf to assist focus but the original Minox was the inspiration for the folding Rollei 35.
  11. I have also used a Rollei 35 and they are really very good cameras. The zone focusing is not hard to learn. Another option is to get one of the smaller, fixed lens, Japanese rangefinder cameras. Canon, Yashica, Minolta, Olympus, Konica all made very good quality fixed lens rangefinder cameras back in the 1960's and 70's. There are a lot of them around and they are a lot less expensive than the Rollei.
  12. I have a Rollei 35 with the somewhat less common Schneider lens, not used for some time, but I still have it. It's very nice and sharp. I got mine very cheaply because, like many of these cameras, it's rather easily dented at the corners, and mine, a black one, has brassed corners that make it less than collectible although they don't impede its use. Interestingly, when I got mine some years ago, the Schneider version was kind of an ugly stepchild of the family, but recently it seems to have gained some favor for its rarity.

    Aside from the zone focusing, this camera also has a non TTL averaging meter, which, at least in mine, was pretty marginal. Mine was recalibrated for modern batteries, and worked most of the time, but for the most part I'd second guess it if it varied much from the "sunny 16" expectations.
    It's a quirky and likeable camera, and beautifully built. But for actual, practical picture taking, I found a couple of the other small cameras more useful. I have a particular fondness for the Olympus XA family, the XA2 being essentially a point and shoot with nearly silent shutter and manual wind, and a couple of the other little rangefinders from Olympus and Ricoh. Much as I like the Rollei, I'm not sure I'd pay the high prices they sometimes command, if the object is to have a nice little pocket camera to use.
  13. Most jackets have two pockets so Rollei 35 in one and Olympus XA in the other.
  14. I bought a Rollei35 the very first day camera was sold retail way back when. Fantastic with tessar 3.5 lens. The weight of camera and leaf shutter makes long handheld exposures practical (I have taken pictures of printed banners and photos and made enlargements of only portions of negatives with no visible camera movement. Also, the cameras are rugged and built to last. Be sure to get the case...this makes camera easier to carry. And the wrist strap. Not an ordinary strap fitting and I buy one whenever available.
  15. I meant to say exposure ar 1/4 sec still sharp with no visible camera shake.
  16. I am on the other side of the fence. They are a very well made camera with good optics, but appalling ergonomics. Zone focus with a 40mm is not so great unless you can stop down, or take shots at infinity most of the time. Action shots - forget it. Fiddly aperture and shutter speed rings, wind on the bottom and the wrong way. Lens has to be extended to be used. Removable base and back required to change film, No strap lugs so not so easy to hang around the neck. Very heavy too. I would pick a Minox 35 every time or even an Olympus XA (if you must). Another much better one is the original Contax T. My own feeling is that people are unduly influenced by the glorious names of Rollei and Zeiss. What good is a great lens if you can't focus it accurately? 40mm is harder to focus than the more usual 35mm too. They do look good though and exude quality.
    • Even with slow slide films, typical exposure was 1/125 at f/8 or f/11. That covers a lot of DoF. Zone focusing is not that hard for most people.
    • Once you have used it for a little bit, the operation is quite comfortable. Different is not always "bad".
    • Pull out the lens first? Lots of very fine cameras (e.g., Leica) have been like that. With the lens retracted, no accidental images while in the pocket, BTW
    • Rollei and Zeiss are certainly prestigious names, but the Rollei 35 enhances, not damages, the reputation.
    • I have an Olympus XA and prefer to shoot with the Rollei 35
  17. Well I think the XA is a horrid cheap piece of plastic, but at least it has a rangefinder and a conventional layout and weighs half as much. I happen to think zone focusing is a recipe for out of focus shots too unless you're at infinity, but each to their own.
  18. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I also don't particularly care for the XA--a good design, but with an overrated lens, in my experience.
    <br><br>I never had an out-of-focus picture with a Rollei: with practice, it's not that hard to visually estimate distances, and with a DOF scale, you can shoot at hyperfocal distance. If scale focusing is an issue, I don't know why one would prefer a Minox 35, since they are also a scale-focusing camera. And the Rollei's rewind (not film wind) is on the bottom, not a big deal IMO.
    <br><br>Many years ago I had a Contax T which had an excellent lens, but unfortunately the exposure electronics failed on mine. They are hard to find in good condition and priced even higher than the Rolleis.

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