Rollei 35

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The Rollei 35 is a series of 35mm viewfinder cameras, designed for Rollei by Heinz Waaske. The Rollei 35 held the title of smallest full-frame 35mm camera in the world for some time.

In spite of a premium price, it was one of the best selling 35mm cameras until overtaken by autofocus designs.

Contents

Background

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

Viewfinder

Bright line with no focussing aid or supplementary information (later cameras had LED exposure setting in the viewfinder).

Exposure

Match needle meter display in top plate, aperture & shutter controls linked to follow pointer (LED viewfinder display in later cameras).


Rollei 35

The first version.
First produced in Germany. From the end of 1971 onwards in Singapore.

Specifications

  • Production period : 1966 to 1974
  • Production numbers : Germany 312.000 units, Singapore 215.000 units (of which 30.000 with the S-Xenar lens)
  • Format : 24 x 36 mm on 35mm film
  • Lens: Collapsable Carl Zeiss Oberkochen Tessar 1:3.5 f=40mm, Coated.
    For deliveries to the Eastblock the same lens was called "Opton Te"
    Or : Schneider-Kreuznach S-Xenar 1:3.5 f=40mm, Coated
  • Filter Size : M24 x 0.5
  • Shutter: Rollei Compur leafshutter. Speeds 1/2 to 1/500 sec. and B.
  • Diaphragm : 3.5 to 22
  • Flash synchronisation : Hot shoe on bottom. X synchronisation
  • Lighmeter system : Coupled CdS photo element,
    Film sensivity : 25 to 1600 ASA,
    Battery : PX13 (PX625), Mercury, 1.35V
  • Double exposure prevention
  • Color Finish : Black or Chrome
  • Color Leatherette : Black
  • Dimensions WxDxH: 97 x 32 x 60 mm
  • Weight: 370 grams



Rollei 35 T

In fact not a new version but a continuation of the Rollei 35. Such renaming was deemed necessary after the appearance of the Rollei 35 S.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei 35 shown.

  • Production period : 1974 to 1980
  • Production numbers : Singapore 440.000 units
  • Lens: Collapsable Carl Zeiss Oberkochen Tessar 1:3.5 f=40mm, Coated, with extra UV filtering layer.
    This lens was made by Rollei under license.
  • Color Finish : Black or Chrome. From 1977 onwards also Aluminium covers.
  • Weight: 330 grams, with aluminium covers 310 grams


Rollei 35 S

An upgrade of the Rollei 35 with the high end Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens. This lens was made by Rollei under license.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei 35 T shown.

  • Production period : 1974 to 1980
  • Production numbers : Singapore 260.000 units
  • Lens: Collapsable Carl Zeiss Oberkochen Sonnar 1:2.8 f=40mm, HFT Coated, made by Rollei under license.
  • Filter Size : M30.5 x 0.5
  • Color Finish : Black or Chrome.
  • Weight: 345 grams


Special Editions

Platin Special Edition 1986

A limited edition of 444 units. Produced in 1986 and 1987 by Rollei Fototechnic in Germany.
Finish : Platinum plated covers and bright lizards leather.


Rollei 35 TE

An upgrade of the Rollei 35 T now showing exposure information inside the viewfinder.
This information consists of 3 LED's, 2 red ones for over- and under exposure warnings and a green one for correct exposure.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei 35 T shown.

  • Production period : 1979 to 1980
  • Production numbers : Singapore 120.000 units
  • Lighmeter system : Coupled CdS photo element,
    Film sensivity : 25 to 1600 ASA,
    Battery : PX27, Mercury, 5.6V
  • Color Finish : Black or Chrome or Aluminium.
  • Weight: 330 grams, with aluminium covers 305 grams


Rollei 35 SE

The same as the Rollei 35 TE but equiped with the high end Carl Zeiss Sonnar lens. This lens was made by Rollei under license.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei 35 TE shown.

  • Production period : 1979 to 1981
  • Production numbers : Singapore 150.000 units
  • Lens: Collapsable Carl Zeiss Oberkochen Sonnar 1:2.8 f=40mm, HFT Coated, made by Rollei under license.
  • Filter Size : M30.5 x 0.5
  • Weight: 335 grams, with aluminium covers 310 grams


Rollei 35 Classic

After the bankrupcy of Rollei in 1982 the successor company Rollei Fototechnic was able to retrieve the Rollei 35 SE / TE production tools.
These were then shipped from Singapore to Germany and in 1990 used for the production of the Classic.
The Classic was (and still is) never produced in very high numbers as it was designed for a more exclusive market.
Currently it is produced on order (under the name Rollei 35 again) by the successor of Rollei Fototechnic, the company DHW Fototechnik.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei 35 SE shown.

  • Production period : 1990 to present
  • Production numbers :
    First model "Titan" : 6480 units
    Second model "Platin" : 1120 units
    Third model "Black Metal" : 1620 units
  • Flash synchronisation : Hot shoe now on top. X synchronisation
  • Lighmeter system : The viewfinder LED system as used on the SE was abandoned in favor of the older Needle system on top of the camera.
  • Color Finish : Dependant of model or order
  • Color Leatherette : Dependant of model or order
  • Dimensions WxDxH: 100 x 44 x 70 mm
  • Weight: 370 grams


Special Editions

Classic Gold 75th Anniversary

A limited edition of about 900 units. Produced in 1995


Rollei 35 Metric

An adapted Rollei 35 Classic for making exact photogramic metric measurements.
These cameras are equiped with a calibrated metric measurement mask (on glass) which shows small crosses on the images taken with it.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei 35 Classic shown.

  • Production period : 1991 to 2000
  • Production numbers : not known
  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Oberkochen Sonnar 1:2.8 f=40mm, HFT Coated, made by Rollei under license. Not collapsable and focus fixed on infinity.
  • Color Finish : Chrome top and bottom covers. In between black metal panels.
  • Dimensions WxDxH: 100 x 55 x 70 mm


Rollei C35, B35, 35LED series background

These series are the results of Rollei's desire to produce and sell a camera which would be cheaper then the "Rollei 35".

Rollei expected that the huge success of the "Rollei 35" would also be possible for a camera designed for costumers who would like to have a "Rollei 35" but were not prepared to pay its high price.
Rollei achieved a remarkable reduction of production costs by designing another shutter with a speed dial around the lens collar and a diaphragm dial up front on the lens. Also the filmtransport was slightly modified and more plastic parts were used. The lightmeter (on the B35) was not coupled saving further costs. Furthermore a cheaper, 3 element Triotar, lens was used.

In 1976 Rollei changed the name B35 in 35 B as they thought that name would fit better with the other cameras in the Rollei 35 range. A renaming of the C35 was not necessary as that camera was already out of production.

The LED design, introduced in 1978, incorporated a coupled lightmeter and exposure information by LED's in the viewfinder.


Rollei C 35

The version without a lightmeter. Only made in a relatively small quantity.

Specifications

  • Production period : 1969 to 1971
  • Production numbers : Germany 9.200 units
  • Format : 24 x 36 mm on 35mm film
  • Lens: Collapsable Carl Zeiss Oberkochen Triotar 1:3.5 f=40mm, Coated. Made by Rollei under license
  • Filter Size : M24 x 0.5
  • Shutter: Rollei leafshutter. Speeds 1/30 to 1/500 sec. and B.
  • Diaphragm : 3.5 to 22
  • Flash synchronisation : Hot shoe on bottom. X synchronisation
  • Lighmeter system : None
  • Double exposure prevention
  • Color Finish : Chrome
  • Color Leatherette : Black
  • Dimensions WxDxH: 97 x 32 x 58 mm
  • Weight: 270 grams


Rollei B 35 (35 B)

The version with a lightmeter. In 1976 renamed 35 B.

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei C 35 shown.

  • Production period : 1969 to 1978
  • Production numbers : Germany 78.000 units, Singapore 213.000 units
  • Lighmeter system : Uncoupled Selenium photo element,
    Film sensivity : 25 to 1600 ASA
  • Color Finish : Chrome or Black
  • Weight: 270 grams, with aluminium covers 250 grams


Rollei 35 LED

This version has a fully coupled lightmeter, exposure information in viewfinder.
This information consists of 3 LED's, 2 red ones for over- and under exposure warnings and a green one for correct exposure.
Because of the many complaints about battery drain a further enabling switch was build into the release button mechanism (October 1978 onwards).

Specifications

Only differences with Rollei B 35 shown.

  • Production period : 1978 to 1980
  • Production numbers : Singapore 157.500 units
  • Lighmeter system : Coupled Si photo diode,
    Film sensivity : 25 to 1600 ASA,
    Battery : PX27, Mercury, 5.6V
  • Color Finish : Black
  • Weight: 240 grams


Bibliography

  • Claus Prochnow, Rollei Report 3, second edition, Braunschweich, Lindemanns Verlag, 2008, ISBN 3-89506-141-7.


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