The only reason the german models are more expensive is that they are scarce. My first one was a german model. They transfered productuction to singapore early in it's history. Low production numbers translate to more value in the collectors world.
OK, I stand corrected; my assumption was based on the problems I had with a Singapore version. I suppose I must just have been unlucky.
Andy K wrote: "What do you think of the Singapore built Rollei 35s as compared to original german built Rolleis? They tend to be cheaper, but is the build quality also cheaper?"
Thanks for the kind comment, I appreciate it. Your question has already been answered so I'll just add that I have one German-made 35 and I don't think that there is any practical reason to choose a German one over a Singapore one. Maybe it's the other way round if you want the best lens coating. I'm not sure of all the possible combinations of lenses, coatings and body origins, but some Singapore models have HFT-coated lenses.
Best of luck with your search for a 35.
Roger, actually, you are somewhat correct. The B35/C35 (those with the Triotar) are made significantly cheaper with prolific use of plastic in the film advance and a number of other parts. I had one that wouldn't rewind because a plastic part in the film rewind had broken.
And having disassembled both the regular 35 (Tessar and Sonnar) and the B35, the B35 isn't as sturdy.
There is one thing to watch with the Rollei 35 Singapore models. Some of the cameras used a plastic gear in a key location in the film advance. When the end of the roll was reached, some users forced the film advance and damaged teeth on the plastic gear. Eventually, this part was replaced (reverted) with a metal gear. The use of plastic shouldn't cause a problem under normal use. You can't tell if the gear is plastic or metal unless you remove the top deck.
Before you collapse the lens on any of the Rollei 35's, you must always advance the film (which also tensions the shutter). Some users have forcibly twisted the lens from its locked position to push it back into the body, damaging it.
Thank you; I'm glad I wasn't completely wrong.
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Prior to the "Classic" series, in my opinion, the best of the 35 series were NOT made in Germany. Production moved to Asia quite early and there were significant improvements made over the course of time with the pinacle, in my opinion, the HFT Sonnar fitted Rollei 35SE. Helen might not like the LED meter design but its still the best meter that Rollei ever built into the series--- as well as the "Classic" models. The meter in the S--- aside from using an imbalanced meter circuit and demading a battery now obsolete and placed in an obnoxious location to replace--- is OK and maybe a bit better than no meter.. but not by much.. The LED meter is NOT a "Point-and-Shoot" but is to be used as a kind of zoning spot. Its fast and works surprizingly well.. not a replacement for my Spectra but then the whole camera is much smaller than my Spectra..
I like the SE and build quality is OK but its not a well-built camera by the standards set by German camera making in the 1950s. It was never intended to be. It was designed to be and is a good "affordable" pocket camera. My wife spent less than half the DM (German Mark) price in the early 1980s for her SE than a Voigtlaeder Vitessa (a classic early 1950s "pocket camera"), for example, would have demanded (not adjusting for inflation or earnings) nearly 3 decades earlier.
I have and use a 35 SE with a HFT Sonnar and especially like the lens which is sharp, contrasty, has a vivid colour reproduction and is extraordinarily (!) resitstant to flare. The meter is exact enough for slide film but has a rather low sensitivity.
I won a Rollei 35S Sonnar HFT on eBay last evening. I hope to have it sometime next week. I will report in after I have had a chance to play with the camera
I'm a relative newcomer to the series but my black Singapore Rollei 35 (Tessar 40/3.5) is just killer. It travels everywhere with me in its small belt case. That Tessar has to be among the best lenses I have used. I think the swing out pressure plate also does an exceedingly impressive job of holding the film flat.
The *only* real negative agaiinst this camera IMO is the wacko ergonomics - left hand wind, bottom mounted flash hotshoe, front dials for aperture/shutter, etc. Its minor - before long the left hand wind becomes second nature.
I'm with Helen on the meter - I think the top plate meter meshes better with the shutter/aperture dials on the front. You can easily look down and see exactly what you are doing with the dials while indexing the meter needle. I can't imagine fiddling with the dials while looking through the viewfinder.
One more gripe - for a CdS meter, its not overly sensitive. With 100 speed film, about 1/15 at f/3.5 is the limit of its sensitivity. Yes I have a nice Gossen incident meter, but the meter is as big and heavy as the R35! The meter is dead-on accurate with slide film.
You know Mike, I never had a problem with the ergonomics. But maybe it's because I hadn't handled that many cameras when I had bought my first Rollei 35 (the T).
I bought it shortly after arriving in Germany at the base exchange. I think I paid about $135 new and I also bought the matching flash.
I carried the 35T to work almost every day for two years and took a huge number of photos. The Tessar lens is first rate, and the design of the pressure plate keeps the film very flat.
I took that camera all over Europe. Very reliable, and I really liked the top-mounted meter. I have the TE and SE, but I don't find the in-viewfinder meter to be as nice to use, because that wasn't the original design.
The original concept was to hold the camera at waist level and meter the scene while looking at the shutter speeds on the left and the aperture on the left. You lose that with the in-viewfinder LEDs.
Along the way, I lost one of the screws on the side of the top deck and the lens cap. Then finally, around 1992, I lost the camera. Darn.
I had bought a 35S in the learly 1980s, but I never found the 35T to be inferior optically in any way to the Sonnar-equipped Rollei.
In this photo, the man isn't riding the tricycle. He is reading a newspaper, although maybe it would have been funny if he had been riding the trike. This was taken in 1980 in Spain. I think it was either Ilford Pan F or ... I don't know. I would have to find the negative.