Rollei 35b mini cameras..need info

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Sean

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I was eyeing a Rollei 35b on ebay, something to keep in my pocket so I never miss a shot when I'm out and about. My question is are these little Rollei cameras rangefinders? Or are the like the minox35's where you just guess the distance for focusing? Thanks!
 

brimc76

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I have owned a couple of these Sean. They are like the Minox 35's for focusing. Beautiful cameras, everything manual. I have a Minox 35 GTE which I use now and find it is a great pocket camera. More plastic than the
Rollie's though.
 
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There are so many different models, are there any models to stay away from? thanks!
 
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Sean

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ah looks like the Rollei XF35 is a true rangefinder model.
 

Seele

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The Rollei 35 series were originally designed for Edixa, and the design was inherited by Rollei. As a high-performace pocket 35mm camera it was first made with a 40mm Tessar lens, some earlier examples had Xenars. When manufacture transferred from Braunschweig to Singapore, the Tessar model became 35T as the higher-spec model with Sonnar lens was introduced as the 35S. Later on both acquired more advanced metering systems and became 35TE and 35SE respectively.

Rolleri also made a simplified version, with Triotar lens and no slow shutter-speeds. The meterless one is C, the B has the selenium meter. Later on the B acquired a better meter with LED readout and became the 35LED.

Note that batteries for those battery-dependent models are no longer widely available so some improvisation has to be factored in, if you want to make them fully functional.

The Rollei XF35 and its Voigtlander VF135 twins are very different creatures, more like the generic Japanese CRF compacts of its days. The Sonnar lens is still very competent and the shutter speed tops at 1/650s (if memory serves), and is programmed to link to the aperture. Unfortunately it also requires the dreaded PX625 mercury battery so have to get Weincell or the CRIS adapter.

Very few pocketable cameras have rangefinders; if you like something more modern, the Olympus XA (original model) might be an idea. But then, if you like something with more metal and don't mind the weight (the Rollei 35 cameras are quite weighty), a very compact camera would be the Super Solinette by Agfa; a folding camera. A little tinny perhaps compared to the others but very sturdy and inexpensive, make sure you get one with a Solinar, or at least Apotar lens; I feel that they actually made a version with a Solagon lens and that would be the pick of the lot but it would be rare, more expensive and bigger.

As late as the 60s, if memory serves, Certo continued to make the Super Dollina CRF folding camera and sold them in the US as well, normally equipped with Tessar lens. Might be a long shot to find one, but worth it I'd imagine, that is if you do not mind having a larger camera made completely out of metal that is!
 

CertochromE

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RE: SUPER DOLLINA

Seele said:
As late as the 60s, if memory serves, Certo continued to make the Super Dollina CRF folding camera and sold them in the US as well, normally equipped with Tessar lens. Might be a long shot to find one, but worth it I'd imagine, that is if you do not mind having a larger camera made completely out of metal that is!

Hello Seele,
it was your advice concerning Certo that made me register here ! And another theme to be registered is the production history of those fine cameras, which were built in Dresden and more than half of their output left abroad. Plenty of them were sold in Great Britain and the U.S., but some years ago i got one from Australia too.
If you own one too, please could you take a look for the serial number (if there is one) ? Would be great !
Best regards and a nice sunday !
E.E. Schmidt
 

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I had a 35B for a while, and liked it very much. I swapped it for a 35T fairly quickly because of the more sensitive metering system and the slower shutter speeds. The Triotar wasn't a bad lens. I'd suggest a 35T or 35 because of those reasons. I later bought a 35SE and didn't like it. One of the big advantages of the 35B/35/35T/35S is that you can use the meter one-handed, because you can see the meter needle and the aperture/shutter settings at the same time. With the fancier TE and SE you have to look through the viewfinder to see the meter, and that makes one-handed operation more difficult. I swapped the SE for an S, which I am much happier with.

Many of these cameras have dings in the top or bottom cover. Usually nothing to worry about. A lot of us use/used them for mountaineering.

I think that the change from 35 to 35T happened after production moved to Singapore, because I have a Singapore-made 35 with a Zeiss Tessar as well as my 35T with the Rollei HFT Tessar.

Best,
Helen
 

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I bought a 35SE over 20 years ago when they were being "closed out". I must admit I've never been very keen on it. I find it fiddly and cumbersome to use. The way the lens kind of telscopes back into the body when not in use also appears to make it very vulnerable to damage if you're hamfisted with doing this. The lack of a rangefinder is also a shame. Will probably put mine on ebay later this year.
 

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All things equal, the Singapore version sells for less that the German made version. Not sure there is any material difference in image quality.

Many/most/all require the 625 mercury (1.35v) battery. I've used mine successfully with the adapter made by the gentleman in the Netherlands.
 

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While the Sonnar is a better lens the Tessar is still capable of producing razor sharp negatives.
 

Brac

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Gerald Koch said:
While the Sonnar is a better lens the Tessar is still capable of producing razor sharp negatives.

I'm sure that's true though by the time you've got the lens cap off, got the lens out, guessed the focus, set your estimate on the lens, taken a meter reading, set the appropriate aperture & shutter speed, brought the viewfinder up to your eye, you may have found that the subject wandered off 10 minutes before.
 

edz

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Sean said:
I was eyeing a Rollei 35b on ebay, something to keep in my pocket so I never miss a shot when I'm out and about. My question is are these little Rollei cameras rangefinders? Or are the like the minox35's where you just guess the distance for focusing? Thanks!

If a Rollei 35 I'd suggest the 35SE. Its really the best of the line (and not much different from the "improved" and expensive "Classic" series). Its not "pocketable" but fast to use, small and produces good negatives. Its built-in meter is about as good as reflected meters get and very fast to use (its a few LEDs in the finder window). Its a ideal "travelers" camera, viz. for those situtations when you are out to probably take pictures but want to go light and keep to an absolute minimum.

If, however, its about "never miss a shot when I'm out and about" then I'd suggest the "never left behind" camera, a subminiature MINOX! They are as close to diffraction limited as they come and film is held flat. Load one with some Copex and develop with SPUR Nanospeed and you can get well beyond 150 lp/mm to film. Despite the tiny size of the negative (the same area as a 16mm cine frame, 8x11mm) one can still do nice enlargements to 12x16" or even larger (OK we use point source enlargers to push the envelope but still..)..
 

Gerald Koch

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Brac said:
I'm sure that's true though by the time you've got the lens cap off, got the lens out, guessed the focus, set your estimate on the lens, taken a meter reading, set the appropriate aperture & shutter speed, brought the viewfinder up to your eye, you may have found that the subject wandered off 10 minutes before.
I was referring to Tessar lenses in general and not the Rollei 35 camera. I guess I should have made that clearer. However, the trick is to set the subject distance, speed and aperture to what is anticipated. This is what street photographers do with their Leicas. The Rollei is a really competant camera if you are accustomed to completely manual cameras.
 

Helen B

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The Rollei 35 series were widely used by mountaineers - they were more-or-less the standard camera for carrying in a small belt pouch or on a strap. They would not have been so popular if they were slow or awkward to use, or if they were fragile, or if they couldn't be used when wearing gloves.

Here's one of many pictures taken with one hand when I had plenty of other things to concern myself with than worrying about a camera. (Click on 'large' to see it full size.)

Best,
Helen
 

Brac

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I was aware they were popular with mountaineers who wanted something compact and at the times these cameras were introduced in the 60's they didn't have much (any?) competition. But mountaineers wouldn't have to worry much about focussing - infinity would do for most of their shots. As an owner of a 35SE with Sonnar I still maintain that they are a highly over-rated camera and far from being fast to use. Unless the ability to choose the aperture & shutter speed is essential most people would be better off with an autofocus compact. But I guess that view is heresy.
 

elekm

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The 35B is a decent camera. A Carl Zeiss Triotar will outperform most other triplets when shot wide open.

The only downside to the 35B is its prolific use of plastic. The large number of plastic gears, cranks and other parts in this camera do not inspire confidence. As long as no one has forced the film advance or other parts, then the camera will be OK.

If the camera has seen "hard use" -- or you are very rough with your gear, I would seek out a different camera.

Other options for pocket cameras include the Minox 35 series, the Olympus XA models, the Rollei 35/T/S and a lesser-known Ricoh.
 

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edz said:
.

If, however, its about "never miss a shot when I'm out and about" then I'd suggest the "never left behind" camera, a subminiature MINOX! They are as close to diffraction limited as they come and film is held flat. Load one with some Copex and develop with SPUR Nanospeed and you can get well beyond 150 lp/mm to film. Despite the tiny size of the negative (the same area as a 16mm cine frame, 8x11mm) one can still do nice enlargements to 12x16" or even larger (OK we use point source enlargers to push the envelope but still..)..

I put one roll through my Rollie 35LED and hated the fool thing. Right back to my Minox, though I don't squeeze the envelope quite so hard as 12x16...
Favorite is a Minox C in the daytime, and with a the little Rollie auto flash that came with the 35LED after dark. (wasn't a total loss).
 

Helen B

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Brac said:
I was aware they were popular with mountaineers who wanted something compact and at the times these cameras were introduced in the 60's they didn't have much (any?) competition. But mountaineers wouldn't have to worry much about focussing - infinity would do for most of their shots...

... for many shots, but certainly not all if you are telling the whole story. The interesting stuff often happens close, and often in the half-light before dawn.

Best,
Helen
 
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