I have recently been having a clear out, 6 or 7 cameras have left my possession, some books, CD’s, – clothes are the next thing to edit! I’ve also been more selective of the cameras that have been incoming over the last 6 months, I have plenty after all! One that I did let through the door was a Rollei 35B, found in a charity shop at a price I couldn’t turn down!
I already have a Rollei 35S and did a post about that here. That had a corroded battery in it, when I got it, and the meter no longer works. It’s re-sale value is therefor just about zero, because of that I’ve decided to keep it. This is it’s “cheaper” brother. It follows the same pattern. The range of cameras were designed by Heinz Waaske, who at the time worked for German camera manufacture Wirgin. The design was not taken up by them, and after offering it to both Kodak and Leitz, eventually Waaske ended up working with Rollei. The range of cameras turned out to be very popular, – even the queen used one!
Due to the popularity, Rollei thought it would be a good idea to make a cheaper model for those folks who would like one, but could not afford the price tag. Eventually the B35 came into existence, renamed and tweaked in 1976 to the 35B.
The top of the camera is dominated by the light meter. It’s not that the meter is particularly large, rather the camera body so small! Operation is obvious/normal to most selenium cell meters. One sets the ISO, chooses a shutter speed, and the needle will tell you what aperture to set. It’s not linked. On the top plate is also the frame counter, shutter release and the wind on arm.
In an unusual twist for most cameras, but common to this range, the hot shoe is found on the base of the camera, next the the rewind release button. There’s a tripod bush, which doubles as the lock for the back door Which slides right off!). Then finally the re-wind crank it’s self.
The lens is a 40mm f3.5 Triotar, it is a 3 element Zeiss design, and although a cheaper, lesser lens than my 35 S, I can see little drop in it’s performance. Shutter speed is selected from a dial around the lens, and offers B, 30, 60, 125, 250 and 500th. The lens pulls out and twists into position, and when that’s done, the aperture ring is available. F3.5 – 22, with half stop positions, except between f3.5 and 4! Focus is manual and toward the front of the lens, marked in feet on the top of the lens, meters underneath for those who need it! Mine is one of the 118,000 made in black in Singapore!
Well that’s a run though of the spec. It’s a perfectly good camera. Folks tend to either like them very much or not all. My 35S, I will concede took a while to grow on me. It did though with a little use, and if you are looking for something small, with some control, it’s perfect. The selenium cell in this example seems to be working fine and pretty accurate. Being a selenium type also negates the need for batteries, also handy especially when it comes to needing some sort of no longer produced mercury cell! So what of the results? Well I took mine to Ringwood for a quick wander, to find out. Old FP4 on a dull day!
The only possible issue I have discovered is that I suspect the finder has dropped a little, although I will need to more accurately test this. I suspect I get a bit more at the bottom and not quite as much at the top, as the finder suggests. Well that’s a reason to put another roll through!
2 thoughts on “Rollei 35B”
I had one of these for a while. It was interesting to use, and I could see it had real potential, but mine needed some minor repairs. You got great results from yours!
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Hi Jim, Thanks for your kind comments! It’s really the size and the control in such a small package that makes it so attractive! It’s a toss up between using that, and the XA2 I have, but somehow the Rollei seems more positive. – best regards Andy