Friday, March 05, 2010

Rollei 35

The Rollei 35 -- a gem and a classic from the makers of the more popularly known Rolleiflex TLRs. It was first made in the mid-1960s first in Germany and then in Singapore. This particularly piece was `Made by Rollei' in Singapore. At the time it was designed and to this day according to experts the Rollei 35 is the smallest full-frame, mechanical, 35 mm camera ever made. But the prints made from its negatives can be really blown up to match that of any 35mm professional cameras. A novel feature is the `collapsible' lens which can be retracted into the body of the camera to make in more compact.
I suppose the compact design called for a radical change in the layout as compared with the cameras of its day. The frame forwarding lever is to the left of the camera (from the photographer's point of view), the film rewind lever is to the bottom right, and the two dials in front are for setting the aperture and shutter speeds and the flash bracket is at the bottom of the camera!.
The back of the camera can be drawn out fully to gain access to the film chamber. When you get the negatives you realise that the figures are `upside down' relative to the film makers' markings like frame number and film brands.
But for its smallness, the camera feels really sturdy and you know it is built to last. This piece is still continues to work except for the light meter. Even if this was one of the pieces made in mid-1970s it is now about 35 years old.

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