Camera Speed Dating – Rollei 35 S

Those that know Nicole and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition problem. To remedy this but continue to try out ALL of the cameras we have decided to start borrowing cameras from our fellow camera enthusiasts instead of trying to purchase or hoard them all to ourselves. Not all are winners though and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection (or put on our list of “must haves.”) Camera speed dating!

Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with…the Rollei 35 S.



A few quick facts about the Rollei 35 S…this very compact 35mm camera was made by the German company Rollei. A few different models exist, the Rollei 35 (later renamed Rollei 35T) being the original with a Tessar f/3.5 40mm lens. The S model came out around 1974 after fitting it with the higher end Carl Zeiss Sonnar f/2.8 40mm lens. Originally Rollei made all Rollei 35 cameras in their German factory but later on started making them in their Singapore factory at a lower cost. Each Rollei is stamped on the back saying either “Made by Rollei in Germany” or “Made by Rollei in Singapore”. It appears most if not all of the Rollei 35S models were made in Singapore, which is where mine was made. There is some debate amongst “die-hards” which is better.

This little camera is already very compact, but it’s collapsible lens makes it even more compact, which I really love. The light meter on this camera seemed to work well still, and I liked the fact that it has all manually controlled aperture and shutter speed settings. However, I’m not crazy about it’s zone focus system and apparently I wasn’t great at determing distance when shooting with it. Nicole and I had fun wandering around during Fan Expo at the Convention Centre and meeting some people dressed up in great costumes, but I was very disappointed with my resulting out of focus photos in many instances. No doubt a shallow depth of field was partially to blame for some of the images I shot wide open in the shade, but still disappointing nonetheless.

I enjoyed shooting with this little camera though, but it’s one main issue (with this camera in particular), was that unfortunately the rewind gear had died and did not engage when it came time to rewind. Though apparently it is a plastic part and not uncommon for this to happen. Luckily our friends at Rocket Repro saved the film for me and were able to still develop it. They always do a great job of developing all my film and scanning it for me.


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Beau Photo Supplies Inc.
Beau Photo Supplies Inc.