Rollei 35 (original)

The Rollei 35 was a 35mm roll film camera made by … Rollei.

It was conceived and designed by Heinz Waaske who was an engineer at Wirgin. He had designed 16mm subminature cameras for them, but when he presented his design for a miniature 35mm format camera to Wirgin, they declined … he even asked Leitz and Kodak.

Heinz later would work for Rollei. It was during this time that Heinrich Peesel (general manager at Rollei) accidentally saw his prototype, and immediately wanted this camera in production.

The Rollei 35 is a cool looking camera (hmm, I’ve stated that before … well it is). The design of the camera made it the smallest 35mm roll film camera in 1966. It utilized the old rangefinder collapsing lens concept, except the shutter and aperture were coupled to the mechanisms in the body, this means when the lens is extended levers/arms would inter-connect to ones in the body. The camera used scale focusing, with big shutter speed and aperture dials on the front. It also had a built in light meter.

Too bad that it was too small to have a coupled rangefinder mechanism … that would have made this camera “excellent!!!” … to all you dudes and dudettes.

The first model had a Tessar lens, Gossen light meter, and a Compur shutter. Production changed from Germany to Singapore for some models (the one I have is Singapore) … but they kept the same manufacturing standards. They produced a number of versions of the camera with different components or mechanisms … I think the Rollei 35S is the most sought after model because of the Sonnar lens.

You can read much more here:

I was lucky enough to be offered a Rollei 35 (original) model to repair. There was a problem with the lens locking mechanism, it would sometimes engage/disengage) it seems like something was interfering. The body also had a big dent, and was missing some screws (I am not the first one to disassemble this camera.

In my haste to restore this camera I never took a picture of it when I got it … so here is a picture of after I fixed it up … did I not say is looks cool !! FYI: I would guess the Rollei 35 is about 75% smaller than my Sony NEX-6.

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