Rollei 35; How good?
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?
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.
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.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
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 !
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.
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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 elekm; 04-20-2009 at 09:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Originally Posted by archphoto
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.
Last edited by panastasia; 04-20-2009 at 09:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
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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.
"There is a time and place for all things, the difficulty is to use them only in their proper time and places." -- Robert Henri
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.
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.