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  1. #1
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Rolleiflex SL35E Thread

    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.


  2. #2
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    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.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  3. #3

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    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. #4
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdrianW View Post
    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?
    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...
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    The following is a quote from the Classic Camera Repair Forum. It provides some useful information on getting these cameras working again:

    I've recently purchased four(!) SL35E's over ebay.
    All sold as non-working. Only one has an electric
    problem I can't fix. Exposure times longer than 1/2 sec. do not work, the shutter stays open indefinitely, or untill I turn the speed dial to X or B, shutting out the current feed. The other three had problems similar to what you described. These were fixed with cleaning and very carefull oiling. Open the bottom of the camera, remove the (film)back. What I did was to very carefully spray a small amount of rust remover (a light oil would do as well) into the mirror mechanism through the crescent-shape slit on the mirror housing wall, the opening through which the mirror actuating arm
    goes. Then I blew compressed air through the same opening to remove all excess oil (the camera base-
    plate removed, mirror up (B)). Be carefull not to get oil on the focusing screen or the shutter, allthough both can easily be cleaned: the screen is removable and the shutter can be cleaned in situ by lightly brushing gasoline on the blades and then blowing them gently dry with compressed air. You might have to clean the shutter once or twice after the above treatment, if excess oil is left in the mechanics and it slowly finds it's way onto the shutter blades. Looking at the camera mechanics under the base plate will give you an understanding on the workings and the possible adjustments. Undr the top cover of the camera there is mostly electronics, the faults are mostly
    mechanic; dirt, gummed-up lubricants and can be
    fixed throught the bottom of the camera.
    -Hande

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Here is another post that describes how to take the top off:

    Jan Böttcher wrote:

    > Sven,
    > congratulations to your purchase, it'll just need a little C&L (CLA without the A).
    > The shortcut way: go to Paepke ooops, sorry, Düsseldorf(!), I forgot, so
    > that's probably not your way. The medium long way: take off the camera's
    > cover(*), flush-clean the gummed up areas with lighter fluid (Waschbenzin),
    > add a tiny drop of model-railroad oil, put all tgose pieces back together.
    > The long way: don't flush clean, but disassemble, clean, lube and put back
    > together.
    > Jan
    >
    > (*): to take off the cover
    > set film speed to 100 ASA, shutter speed to X (just so you can remember
    > a setting for putting things back together some day)
    > unscrew the diopter lens (three screws)
    > unscrew the rewind crank (do not remove the film speed setting parts)
    > unscrew the shutter release (use rubber glove or some leather for firm grip)
    > unscrew the shutter speed selcting parts (needle nose pliars or tweezers)
    > take of the blind cover on advance lever VERRRY carefully or unscrew with
    > your rubber gloves, unscrew advance lever
    > unscrew the screws holding the top cover, pull off top cover (push in the red
    > LED and watch out so it won't get scratched) and watch tiny parts leaving into
    > the fourth dimension (credits to Mr. Knoppow)
    > peel of the right hand side letherette, unscrew covering metal, and study the
    > mechanism, squirt the lighter fluid at the "usual places" avoiding all other areas,
    > work the mechanism, carefully watching not to contaminate other areas.
    > Add a tiny drop of oil where you think it might do good, leave your signature
    > (your sign, date and what you did) in the top-cover's inside.
    >
    > When putting things together, use some Tesa-Film (Scotch tape) to secure the
    > battery-check button from the outside (otherwise it'll drive you crazy!).
    > To reglue the letherette use Pattex.
    >
    > Check, if film speed setting is engaged, self timer lever is engaged, flash sync
    > still working etc.
    >
    > Anybody can tell wether you did a good job (or goofed it up) by examinig the
    > chrome cover (bent/torn/scratched?) on the advance lever and the LED
    > (scratched?) only absolute beginners leave fingerprints on the inside of the view
    > finder.
    >
    > If YOU screwed it up: DON'T BLAME ME! If you doubt my instructions, ask
    > again, and I recheck and try to answer your question. I'd not recommend you
    > go the long way.
    >

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Those two above posts are the closest thing I have found to a service manual.

    Here is a link to the SL35E owner's manual:
    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/rollei/...ei_sl_35_e.htm

  8. #8
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    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... ;-)
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    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. #10
    ki_
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    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

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