It is one of many Rollei 35’s that were first introduced by Rollei in Germany in 1966 and was the smallest 35mm camera. It was popular to selling around 2 million units.
Many models followed and this is the Rollei 35 LED from 1978.
This camera was donated to the SFLaB Channel by Neil Legg and is my first “compact” camera.
If you want to see my YouTube video on this camera here is the video…
It is a very simple camera. Fully manual, no auto focus or rangefinder. There is a light meter inside which takes 4 LR43 batteries but this example the meter doesn’t work. Which is no problem. I can use my light meter or shoot the sunny 16.
The lens on the camera is a Rollei Triotar f3.5 40mm. I believe made by Zeiss. The apertures range from f3.4 to f22 and the shutter speeds are from 1/30th to 1/500th and also a Bulb mode too.
And you’ll notice the lens is protruding out of the camera. It’s needs to be in this position before you take a photo. The confusing part is when you have taken your photo and want to detract the lens. You won’t be able to unless you advance the camera. Only then you can twist anticlockwise and push back into the camera. There is a button next to the lens for this. This had me stumped for a while and I thought the lens was stuck. It’s a handy little feature as you can then pop the camera in your pocket.
If you are lucky and the light meter works on the top plate is the power switch and film speed selector. Inside the viewfinder you are presented with three LED’s. Over and Under Exposure in red and in the middle is a green LED which illuminates when your exposure is correct. I can’t say much for this as mine does not work.
You can see where the batteries go, they’re in the middle, and the film advance lever is on the left of the camera. Easy to get used to.
The view finder is very bright with a nice accurate guide inside.
Focusing the camera you need to use the distance scale on the lens. The closest distance is 3 feet all the way to infinity. Or 0.9 Meters. Meters is shown in white on the lens.
There is no shoe mount on top of the camera for a rangefinder. That is on the bottom of the camera. So not ideal for a rangefinder but if you are familiar with Zone Focusing then you can shoot away happily at f8,11,16,22 and get sharp images.
I love the fact that the camera is fully manual meaning I can get sort of creative with it, however, I don’t feel this is a camera I would want to be creative with. I liken it more to shoot and run camera, as long as you have dialled in your exposure and focus zone. So ideal for street photography, photo reportage work, family events, holidays etc and it is so light and compact it has no feel of threat like a large DSLR.
As for the lens I found it to be very sharp indeed and here are some results I have had so far.
Kodak TX 400
Developed in D23 Developer.
AGFA APX 100
Developed in Rodinal