Rollei 35; How good?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by waynecrider, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Just how good were the Rollei 35's with the Tessar lens. I have one given to me to sell and am wondering if it would be worth keeping as a walking around camera. I also have a Leica Minilux and an Olympus Stylus too choose from if I wish. Normally I would shoot 1/2 a roll and test it out but to tell the truth I'm just too busy with other cameras, updating my website and general life to go too much out of my way right now unless it's worth testing. So I'm looking for some input before I go to the trouble.
    P.S. It has sticky low speeds. What's a cla on these things?
     
  2. declark

    declark Subscriber

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    I have the 35s with the Sonnar lens which I hear is not much better than the Tessar at smaller apertures, which is where you'll end up using these cameras due to zone focusing. I have a couple shots in my gallery made with the 35s for reference. When you get the focus right, it is very crisp. I find that I use it mostly at 6m to infinity for best results. It's the frame spacing that I am least crazy about, too tight.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Even the Rollei 35 with the Triotar I once owned cut a nice sharp image. I am sure with close scrutiny, less so than mine with the Sonnar. I have a prejudice in favor of Tessars, so it has to be good, in my view.

    All that being said, the Rollei 35 could ONLY have been designed by engineers whose only view of the human factor was as subjects or manufacturers. Nothing on the Rollei 35 ever felt like something a humanoid from this planet could use with naturalness. Given the opportunities, I had no problem parting with the two I owned. The pocket camera I liked most of all was a little Yashica T which was stolen. I replaced it with a Rollei Prego with a 3.5 lens. Before that I had an Ollie stylus with the fixed 3.5 lens. Great little shooter. If someone gave me a Rollei 35 with a Tessar I would keep it to add to my Tessar menagerie; but i would not go out and buy one because, to me, it just was not a comfortable camera to carry or to use.
     
  4. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I bought a 35S 25 years ago new, now it is the only real analogue 35mm camera left that I use so once in a while.
    Says a lot about the little shooter: I still love it !

    Peter
     
  5. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I have one with a S-Xenar lens. It's treated me fine, though it's a finicky camera. It has a cult following out there.
     
  6. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I first bought a Rollei 35T in 1979 and used it steadily until it was lost about a dozen years later. I probably put maybe 150 rolls through it, and it never failed to impress me with its sharpness.

    I also bought a Rollei 35S but I found that I liked the 35T better -- go figure.

    I've taken many wonderful shots with this camera. It's been to Germany, Venice, Paris, Switzerland, Holland and a number of places on the East Coast.

    Around 2001, I went on a buying spree and bought another 35T, as well as the TE and SE models. I don't care for the LEDs in the viewfinder, because the camera was never meant for in-viewfinder metering, and using it in this manner is very awkward.

    Regarding the ergonomics, I had only used SLRs up to that point, and it took me just a few minutes to adjust to it. Since then, I've used a many, many cameras, and I would rate the camera as only slightly quirky but very usable.

    You do have to approach it with flexibility and not constantly compare it to [your favorite camera here]. No camera will fare well with that approach.

    Most of these cameras have dings on the top deck. I don't know why that is, but I would say that most cameras that you encounter have them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2009
  7. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    Peter,

    The 35S, isn't that the silver anniversary model made in Singapore? If so, I also bought new about 25 years ago, two in fact, and gave them away as gifts. I believe they're now collectible items if they weren't engraved. They cost me $200 each (new) and I noticed one selling for $800 about ten years ago, at KEH. I'm not sure about the 'S', maybe it stood for the lens - Sonnar - very sharp!

    I remember the excellent photos they produced. I tested them before I gave them away.

    Paul
     
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  8. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry8330/4.3.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/105)

    I read a lot of threads about the 35. Was looking into buying one, but picked up an Olympus XA instead. Mainly because I had seen many threads with descriptions like Anscojohn's.
     
  9. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I had a Rollei SL35E briefly. It seemed like a nice camera, and I had heard that the lenses are quite good, but I parted with it because I do not like lens systems that offer only full-stop detents. I shoot prints, and I like having a positive stop for half-stops. Likewise, this is why I never invested in Nikon manual focus gear.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Regarding the 35S. "S" meant Sonnar, and "T" signified Tessar. So it merely indicated which lens was on the camera and not an anniversary model.

    Rollei had a bunch of different models made, including silver, gold, titanium and a "Classic" and possibly others.

    Initially, the Rollei 35 was made in Germany. Later, Rollei shifted 35mm camera production to Singapore. At that point, there was only the Rollei 35 with a Carl Zeiss-branded Tessar lens.

    Eventually, it moved to a Rollei-branded HFT (High Fidelity Transfer) Tessar.

    When the Sonnar lens was added to the lineup as an option and not a replacement, the line split into two models: Rollei 35T and Rollei 35S. I don't recall ever seeing the Rollei-branded Tessar with a serial number, although the Rollei-branded Sonnar always has one. I'm not entirely sure why that is.
     
  11. elekm

    elekm Member

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    This is the SLR -- it's a different camera from the Rollei 35 series.

    The Singapore-made Rollei 35mm SLRs do NOT enjoy a good reputation for mechanical and electronic reliability, although the lenses are very good and often were similar or the same as those available for the Contarex.

    There also was available a line of lower-priced Rolleinars (reportedly made by Mamiya) that are very good lenses.
     
  12. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Here I am to chime in once more. With the Rollei 35s, I believe the word ergonomics had not been translated into German when the designer/engineers went to work.

    And who needs a nesting lens that can break the shutter if you do not leave the shutter cocked when putting it back into the body. And even with the lens nested, it would not easily into any pocket conveniently. Why have a pocketable camera that bulges out your pockets, even when one is wearing a photo vest?

    And, of course, it's best to keep in in the little zip case when you have it bulging in your pocket; and don't forget that little bayonet lens cap which falls of everywhere. Oh, yes, use a cap keeper on the lens cap to add to the "convenience" of a pocketable camera. What a crock!

    Of course, flash pictures were a real hoot: "Ach, ja, holt die Kamera upsidethedown und dann pushda buttin auf fuer makin' der Pigdture."

    There is no doubt the Rollei 35 can cut a really sharp image, but, to me, they were never worth the hassle. Your mileage may vary.
     
  13. neelin

    neelin Member

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  15. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I have a Singapore 35T and love the quality of the images it produces, the camera itself is 'quirky' to put it mildly but something smaller than a pack of cigs that uses 35mm full frame-I take mine in my backpack when i cycle.
    here is a test with some 100% crops
    Rollei 35T test
    Really lovely lens...
    [​IMG]
    Mark
     
  16. frank

    frank Member

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    I didn't know that anscojohn could speak German. :wink:

    Great little cameras, and I completely agree that the deck top meter of the 35, 35T, and 35S, is far more convenient than the viewfinder meter LED's of the 35 TE and SE.
     
  17. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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  18. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    I have a couple of them: one loaded with HIE (w/ an 87 filter on the lens), another with Kodachrome. I love these cameras. When I can't lug an SLR or bigger, these fit the bill. Most of the time they are set at f/11 and the focus at the hyperfocal distance. I ahave been happy with the results. It takes a little practice to get used to framing/focusing and I will be the first to admit they are not for everyone.
     
  19. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I have one of those... the Silver Edition, that is. It is a 35S, but as another poster explained, all 35S's are not Silver Editions. I used to have a Gold 35S, but sold it some years ago. They both are excellent cameras, capable of taking great photos, within their limits. It's a good camera for street work, as you can prefocus and carry it in the palm of your hand, shooting from the hip without looking through the viewfinder.
     
  20. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    You learn something every day. I thought the S stood for Singapore. I really like mine as well. They're not that quirky - except for the fact all the frame numbers come out backwards.
     
  21. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I don't have any personal experience, but I talked with a man who really enjoys his.
     
  22. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I have the 35s which stands for sonnar and don't find it quirky at all though I do find that my distance guesstimations are further off than I thought they would be. When you get it sharp it is sharp. It is easy to hand hold at a slow speed.
     
  23. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    I have had the 35T & 35S since the late 1970s. I don't see much difference between them. No problems with them, hand holding at slow speeds. I agree that a different camera might do the job better, BUT thats the case with anything. These are about the most compact QUALITY all manual full frame 35 camera to be found. I like the fact that they will sync with flash at ALL speeds. I like to go to open air classic car shows. I use Fuji 200 color print film. Clamp a Vivitar 285 on the Rollei. Carry a pocket Leitz or Voigtlander rangefinder in my pocket. Yes, I have to turn the camera upside down to get the flash on top. I shoot syncro sun, the exteriors AND interiors of the cars I like. The 40mm lens is perfect in coverage plus lets me get close enough to keep people walking between me and the cars. Yet long enough to prevent much distortion. Perfect to carry in a flight suit while flying, others carried Pen half frames. My full frame shots were always far better than theirs. The only thing I found is that both the T & S models were subject to flare when shot into the sun.
    All the best,
    Sam H.
     
  24. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have a Rollie 35 with the 40 mm, f/3.5 Tessar. The lens behaves just as you'd expect a good Tessar to behave. It's very nice at modest apertures and falls off a bit at the edges when opened fairly wide. That said, you're not likely to use it wide open very much because there is no rangefinder and focusing is by guesstimation.

    I agree that it is a quirky camera. Convenient ergonomics was not at the top of list when it was designed. But it works and it works well for what it is, and that's why I like it.
     
  25. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Guess I'll have to take it with me this weekend and run a roll. Btw, what filters does this thing take? I guess I could hold a round filter in front for that matter.
     
  26. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Btw, what filters does this thing take?

    ******
    Surprise, surprise it is nothing very common, to be sure. It's 30.5 mm. FWIW, a place called Surplus Shed, in Pennsylvania, has a sale on filters that size. Can't recall if they are ND or IA, but you could lukitup. Five bucks a piece, I think. And an outfit called Virtual Village, on Egregious Bay sells nice, Leica-like slotted metal lens hoods for about fourteen bucks if shipping is included.

    I guess I could hold a round filter in front for that matter.
    *****

    Do that whislt taking a flash picture, holding the camera upside down:tongue: On second thought, it might be easier to just stand on your head!!(vbg)
     
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