The body of the camera is an unusual upright shape, to incorporate a built-in power winder. Unlike Rollei's first SLR, the Rolleiflex SL66, the SLX uses lenses with leaf shutters; there is no focal-plane shutter in the camera. Despite this, the shutter speed control is on the camera body, not on the lens. From its position on the right side of the body, this control could be mistaken for a film advance knob. Shutter speeds from 30 seconds to 1/500 second, plus 'B' are available. The shutter can be set to single or continuous exposures, or locked, with a control below the shutter speed knob.
There are two shutter release buttons, on each bottom corner of the front plate. Between them is a socket for a mechanical cable release. There is also a socket on the right side, for an electronic release. This allows pre-release of the mirror, to reduce camera shake when the shutter itself is released (this feature is different from the mirror lock on some cameras; once pre-released, the mirror cannot be reset; the shutter must be released).
The camera has a folding waist-level viewfinder as standard, with a built-in loupe, and with the usual frame-finder feature. There is also a prism finder, usable at 45 or 90 degrees, and a rigid magnifying finder. A number of interchangeable focusing screens were available.
There is a reasonable range of lenses for the camera. These are Zeiss lenses, made under licence by Rollei, and all with Rollei's HFT coating. They have helical focusing, again unlike the bellows-focusing SL66. The lens mount is a straightforward bayonet.
The camera has through-the-lens centre-weighted metering, and can be used in shutter priority AE or with manual exposure. The film speed is set on a dial in the face of the shutter-speed knob. For AE, the lens must first be set to 'A'. The meter switch is on the right side, next to the single/continuous control. When the switch is pressed, the AE-selected aperture is indicated by a needle in the aperture scale of the lens. There are also warning LED lamps at the right hand side of the viewfinder; at the bottom for underexposure (i.e. too fast a shutter speed), at the top for overexposure. Both of these light if the shutter speed is set beyond the AE range (in addition, the index of the shutter speed scale, white for most speed values, becomes red if the speed is set outside the AE range).
Film is loaded into a holder, inserted into the hinged back. The film is loaded into the insert in a straightforward, intuitive way (that is, the film is not passed 'inside out' around the insert, as in, for example, the Mamiya SLRs). The paper leader is wound by hand to the 'Start' marker, the insert put in the camera and the back closed. The film is automatically advanced to frame 1 when the shutter release is pressed. The same insert is used for 120 and 220 film, and there is a switch on the camera back to set which type is loaded. The frame counter is next to this; it is rather small.
There is a hot shoe on the left side of the body.
The camera is powered by a rechangeable 9.6 V nickel-cadmium battery. There is a warning LED lamp for low battery voltage at the top centre of the viewfinder. The user's manual states that the battery power should still be sufficient to finish the current roll of film when this lights.