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When the Rollei 35 was first released in 1966, it was the smallest 35mm film full frame camera, a title it held for quite some time. The camera was designed in the early 1960s in his spare time by Heinz Waaske, chief engineer of German camera maker Wirgin. He had also engineered and designed the 16 mm Wirgin Edixa 16. He proposed the camera to Wirgin, then to Leitz and Kodak, but they all didn't want it. When he changed employment to Rollei and showed them his little camera, they were immediately convinced and started the project. The 35 model had a 40mm F 3.5 Zeiss Tessar lens.

Despite its high price the camera sold very well. In 1971 production was entirely shifted from Germany to Singapore and prices could be reduced.

The Rollei 35 S had a better lens, a f 2.8 Zeiss Sonnar. Developpment started in 1971, but took some time and needed several re-designs of the lens. So production only started in 1974 in Singapore with the lens made by Rollei under Zeiss license.

The 35 S was produced until 1980. Its successor was the 35 SE, which had exposure information in the viewfinder via 3 LED

Its main features are:

40mm F2.8 Sonnar lens, min. focus 0,9m
Aperture 2.8-22, Speed 1sec.-1/500
Size 97 x 60 x 32 mm,  Weight 345 gr.
25-1600 ISO, hot shoe, cable release socket

Front, lens with hood.

Back view. Viewer and rewind release.

Seen from above. Film advance lever, shutter button with cable release socket, lens release. The lens can only be pushed in when the shutter is cocked.

Seen from below. Hot shoe, back opening release, film counter, tripod socket, rewind lever.

Cap off. The lens lacks  its inscription ring.  Protected by a skylight filter. ISO setting and film reminder to the left and to the right.

Lens retracted. aperture and speed setting to the left and to the right.

Lens extended.

Film compartment open. Battery compartment towards the top. The camera was built for a PX 625 mercury battery, no longer available. There re adapters and extensive diskussions about this. I use a simple PX 625a battery which I change once a year. I have no problem with it, others may. As there is no switch, keep it in the dark when not used to prevent battery draining.

Film pressure plate open.

The Rollei 35 S is a very small manual camera with all basic settings and functions, well designed and easy to handle. The lens gives superb sharp and contrasty pictures, the exposure system works well. It's quite expensive unless you find a slightly battered one like mine. The camera provides you with all you need if you are looking for a non-automatic camera.