In spite of a premium price, it was one of the best selling 35mm cameras until overtaken by autofocus designs.
A breakthrough design by Heinz Waaske, the first Rollei 35 appeared in 1966 in direct competition with the half frame format that was introduced in 1961. As a full-frame, well specified 35mm camera that was little larger than a cigarette pack, the Rollei was a great commercial success selling in the millions. Almost every aspect of the camera was specially designed with the aim of making it as compact as possible. The shutter was made by Compur but to a design by Waaske permitting a collapsible lens to be used. Gossen supplied the CDS exposure meter used to save space.
The 35 was produced in Germany and, from 1971, in Singapore. There is a perception that the German produced 35's are better and command a higher price, in fact camera repair men report that quality control at Rollei Singapore was on a par with Germany and there is no difference.
Singapore Rollei 35's came with two types of lens: Scheider S-Xenar or Carl Zeiss German Tessar
Bright line with no focussing aid or supplementary information (later cameras had LED exposure setting in the viewfinder).
Match needle meter display in top plate, aperture & shutter controls linked to follow pointer (later cameras replaced this with LED display in viewfinder).
- Rollei 35 (1966-1974)
- Rollei C35 / B35 / 35B / 35LED (1969-1978) Lower cost versions
- Rollei 35T / 35S (1974-1980) Replaced earlier versions
- Rollei 35TE / 35SE (1979-1981) Electronic exposure display
- Rollei 35 Classic (1990-1996)
- Various limited editions
- Rollei 35 - Official distributor product page
- Rollei 35 in John Lind's website
- Rollei 35 section at Retrography.com by Simon Simonsen, Denmark
- Rollei 35 TE in Andrys Stienstra's camera collection
- Flickr Rollei 35 group
In French :
- Rollei 35, Rollei 35 TE, French 35 manual and French 35SE 35TE manual on www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand
- Lionel's Rollei 35SE and Rollei 35TE pages