Rollei 35
Rollei 35

One of the great cult cameras is the Rollei 35, originally made in Germany, then later manufactured in Singapore. This example is a German-made camera from around 1971, and features the famous Zeiss Tessar 40mm f/3.5. Later versions have the Sonnar 40mm f/2.8, which is claimed to be sharper and better in terms of field flatness and lack of distortion. I'm personally fond of the Tessar formula, which is a simpler optical design and tends to produce very nice images. Here are some examples.

This camera is very difficult to focus at close distances with larger aptertures. Thus, I've taken to keeping Fuji Superia Xtra 800 film in this camera, so that I'm able to stop down to f/11, f/16 and f/22 and use the hyperfocal method to acheive sharp focus in most of the frame.

This camera features a compur leaf shutter with speeds from 1s up to 1/500th. The flash will synch at all speeds, although the hot shoe is on the bottom of the camera thus using flash isn't very convenient... Aptertures range from f/3.5 up to f/22, and I generally keep mine set at f/11 or f/16 depending on the ambient light level.

Overall the construction quality of this camera is very high. One thing that many owners don't like, however, is the thin metal on the top shell. It's very easy to dent and many of the examples out there (including this one!) have minor dents on the top or the top corners.

Finding batteries to replace the old mercury PX13 aren't so easy, but zinc air varieties are available. Although once opened, they don't last more than about 6 months - whether being used or not- they are an environmentally (and legal) the way to go.

Check out some Rollei 35 Reviews at Photographyreview.com and of course the Wikipedia Article.

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2002, 2003 Karl Winkler