Rolleiflex SL35E Thread

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ic-racer, May 7, 2010.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,483
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I had been discussing the SL35E off topic on another thread and wanted to continue over here.

    I had an SL35E since 1984 and the shutter stopped working around 2002. I picked up two nice SL35Ms in the mean time and finally got around to getting another SL35E from Germany.

    The camera came in the mail today and I compared it closely to my broken one. The major difference externally is the presence of slotted screws holding the top.
    On the inside there are silver rivets on the shutter curtain, as opposed to black ones on the broken camera.

    Looking at the shutter mechanism from below, clearly the new-to-me camera has a more robust shutter. It is not the same. There are quite a few differences visible. In most cases the shutter parts are thicker or bigger.

    The working camera has a serial number that is lower (though the plate on the bottom can easily be changed).

    So, I think I learned two things.
    1) Just because my well-cared-for camera failed, not all SL35E cameras are going to fail.
    2) They earlier ones have a better shutter.

    So, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the older SL35E cameras with the slotted screws on the cover are better.

    I know there are a number of APUG users that have these cameras in order to use the fantastic Zeiss lenses. Any comments or other observations from other users??


    BTW: I have 4 of the SL3000 series cameras, but lets keep this thread as an SL35E thread.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As discussed on the other thread, I think that the main problem with these cameras was actually electronic rather than mechanical.

    The electronic problems (apparently) eventually got sorted out (several other German companies at the time, including Leica, had serious electronic toothing problems).
    Many defective cameras got fixed, (again apparently) by swapping out the circuit boards. If anything, it's the later cameras, with the revised electronics, which *should* be more reliable, exceptions of course being the repaired cameras.

    My defective ones all took the form of a "lazy mirror": The entire mirror action slowed down giving inaccurate exposures in the process.
    My 3 working ones seem pretty reliable (nearly a decade of use, often in extreme conditions since they're my mountain/travel SLRs). One did have a temporary occasional case of "lazy mirror", but that was with very cold temperatures & high humidity and could have been a low battery.

    The different shutter construction interests me. IIRC, basically a few prototypes were made in Germany, with all the main production being in Singapore.
    The shutter was originally designed to reach 1/2000, but that was changed to 1/1000 because it couldn't do so reliably. That problem was sorted out with the SL 3003 (1/2000) and backwardly upgraded to many SL 2000F cameras (perhaps also later SL 2000Fs?). Again, AFAIK, the problem was mainly the electronics.

    That's what I know & suppose (hope I made the difference between the two clear enough). I'd be very curious to know if the shutter itself actually substantially changed and how.
     
  3. AdrianW

    AdrianW Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I very briefly owned a SL35E which I got to replace my SL35M (which suffered from an inconsistent shutter). I'm not sure whether the E was an old or new version, but the slow speeds (2-16 seconds) all defaulted to 16 seconds which indicated some sort of electrical problem. I ended up returning it to the seller.

    I shoot on manual most of the time and did not like how there are no detents for the shutter speed dial. This is the only camera I have ever used where the speeds did not click into place. Is this true for all the SL35Es?

    BTW, I ultimately ended up getting a German-made SL35 and I'm very happy with that camera (aside from the dark focusing screen).
     
  4. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes. The camera will fire the intermediate speeds the dial is set to (1/2 or 1/3 stop intervals, not sure which right now).

    Also, if you use a M42 lens with the adapter (a great advantage of the Rollei system - uses M42 lenses keeping their auto diaphragm functions) or an older "1 cam" lens in automatic mode, the shutter will default to 16 seconds unless you use the DOF preview to stop down beforehand. On one hand a clear signal that the exposure won't be accurate, on the other a very annoying characterstic...
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,483
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The following is a quote from the Classic Camera Repair Forum. It provides some useful information on getting these cameras working again:

     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,483
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here is another post that describes how to take the top off:

     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,483
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  8. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Very interesting quotations....

    I did try cleaning & lubricating one of my "sick" ones once to no avail, though I might have missed the inner mirror mechanism as decribed in the first quote (just did bottom & shutter itself IIRC).

    I'm almost daring one of my cameras to act up on me now... ;-)
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,483
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I took both the top and bottom off my non-working unit and got it to cock and fire but the mirror won't budge. I wish I had an exploded view as I can't detect the mirror mechanism from the top or bottom. I even tried a mirror to see through the mirror lever slot to no avail.
     
  10. ki_

    ki_ Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I've got a sl35e which behaves rather strange. Sometimes after pushing the release button the mirror gets stuck just on the top. When I very carefully touch the blades of the shutter-mechanism the shutter fires and the mirror moves back down.
    Then sometimes when I pull the advance-lever the shutter releses by itself without the mirror moving.

    I've cleaned with lighter fluid from the bottom, since I can't get the screw on the advance-lever or on the front (under the leatherette) loose by any means.

    It seems, that someone poured one liter of oil into the camera before, because after flush-cleaning it, there stays some oil between the shutter-blades, although I've flushed it many times …

    Does anybody thing the strange benavior (sometimes fires not, sometimes by itself) got anything to do with the oil between the blades?
    Do I have to adjust something, so that the camera doesn't release by itself anymore?

    regards

    Kristian
     
  11. David Jenkins

    David Jenkins Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Rollei sl35e the sad truth

    Hi

    I had the Rollei sl35e when it was first launched. Handling wise, just about the best camera ever. However my camera spent more time with Rollei (UK) Limited than it ever did with me. In the end Rollei gave me my money back. The lenses were not that much better, the 200mm lens had to be repaired twice, the 85 f1.4 (made by Zeiss not Rollei) developed balsam fault, voigtlander 21mm was given money back by dealer (poor performance). All the faults on the camera were electronic. Rollei had real quality problems with this camera, in fact at the time a column in Camera User magazine reported that one dealer at a conference was convinced that Rollei had shipped all their defective cameras to him. Of course the real problem was Rollei had so many faulty cameras. It really was a pitty because the camera, when working was a joy to use! Later models will no doubt have more stable electronics, also any camera that has survived this long probably will remain fault free for many years to come.

    In the end I purchased a Pentax 6x7 which apart from breaking down once on holiday has been 100% reliable. Also, unlike at Rollei, Pentax fixed it while I waited, took them about 45mins if I recall.

    To anyone purchasing a Rollei sl35e I hope you will use it as it is a joy to take photographs and the results are as good as any other camera of the time, the 16mm lens and 18mm lens and 85mm lens are all fab.
    :D