Rollei B35

Posted 2009.10.24 19.12 in Hobbies, Photography

Another day, another camera… I saw this for sale at the online division of my local camera store. I didn’t know much about the Rollei 35 line, but it looked interesting, so I did some reading. I found out it was ‘small’, ‘compact’. The B35, introduced in 1969, is small, light, fully manual, and has a selenium powered light meter (no batteries required). It was inexpensive so I went for it.

What all the internet pictures fail to convey is just how small this 40-year-old camera actually is! I was amazed that they had a full-frame manual functional 35mm camera in such a tiny package. It’s just totally adorable! Believe me, it’s smaller than you think.

Rollei B35

Rollei B35

The light meter functioned and gave sane readings – after 40 years it still worked! The aperture and shutter seemed to work right, and the lens looked good.

It did have some issues though – it was obvious someone had tried to ‘fix’ it and messed things up somewhat. The leatherette was peeling in areas, and there were blobs of crazyglue where they’d tried to fix it. The top plate was very loose. And the viewfinder was cloudy and dusty.

It proved to be quite easy to remedy everything but the leatherette – after removing the wind lever, there are just two screws to free the top-plate. I suspect someone else undid the two screws (they were very loose) but didn’t know how to remove the wind lever. Once the top plate was off, I went at the viewfinder with q-tips and windex. I got it about 80% clean – there was one bit I couldn’t access because the parts were glued and I didn’t want to risk breaking the glass. It’s an improvement, anyhow. Then it all went back together easily and I made sure it was all tight and sturdy.

Rollei Repairs

Rollei Repairs

So I ran a roll of HP5+ through it to see if it worked as well as I thought it looked. The Triotar lens is only a triplet and some people say it’s not very good, but I was pleased with the results. It did a good job considering I was just guesstimating the focusing (and I suck at guessing distances.)

HP5+, ISO 400, developed in TMax for 6:30 minutes. The quality on the last shot isn’t that great because it’s been heavily cropped.

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