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Collection#13 - Rollei 35 LED

My collection#13
Rollei 35 LED
Info from Wikipedia

The Rollei 35 is a 35mm miniature viewfinder camera built by Rollei. The original Rollei 35, when presented to the public at the photokina in 1966, was the smallest 135 film camera ever. Even at the present day the cameras of the Rollei 35 series remain the smallest ever built mechanically working 35 mm camera. During a time spanning 30 years of production, the total number of cameras of the Rollei 35 series made, is about 2 million pieces.

Preliminary Thoughts
In about 1960, when the first subminiature cameras for 16 mm film came to market, Heinz Waaske, chief engineer of German camera maker Wirgin, reasoned that purchasers of the 16 mm subminiature cameras, or even the half-frame Olympus Pen 35 mm cameras, did not want to buy them so much for the tiny film format, but more for the pocketable size. After having already engineered and designed a 16 mm film subminiature, the Wirgin Edixa 16, and some full-frame 35 mm single-lens-reflex cameras, he now imagined building a full-frame 35 mm camera, in a housing only one third of the volume of contemporary viewfinder cameras.

Design of First Prototype
In his spare time, working in his own living room, Waaske made the first technical drawings of the parts of the anticipated camera in 1962, allowing prototypes to be made in the workshop of Wirgin.

The Rollei 35 standard model - Development
In Braunschweig the camera had to be converted to use parts from Rollei's suppliers, as Rollei did not maintain business relations with Metrawatt and Steinheil. A high-quality Tessar lens was made-to-order by Zeiss. Rollei's light meter supplier was Gossen. Whether to use either a photovoltaic selenium sensor or a CdS photoresistor, was finally decided in August in favour of the CdS. Gossen named the same measuring range for both solutions. A selenium-cell powered light meter was cheaper in production and did not need a battery. However, the much smaller CdS-photoresistor improved the stylish look of the camera, the battery powered light-meter was more shock-proof, and the "CdS technology" could be used as a selling point in advertising. The housing needed to be changed just slightly, since Waaske unknowingly had adopted the appearance of Rollei's twin-lens reflex cameras, by placing the exposure time and aperture controls to the right and to the left side of the lens. Nevertheless Rollei's designer Ernst Moeckl revised the housing, and, in particular by changing the edge radius, the camera appeared even smaller.

For the mercury battery PX 13 (= PX 625 = MR 9) of the light meter, a place was found inside the camera housing. The film rewind knob of the engineering model was exchanged for a rewind crank, and a hot shoe was added for mounting an electronic flash at the base plate. Placing the hot shoe on top of the camera was not feasible, because of the underlying exposure meter and transmission gear. Mounting the hot shoe at the frame cover would likely cause damage, when using one of the heavy flash lights of that time. Therefore, for a natural lighting shade, the camera had to be turned upside down, when using a flash, to get the light source above the lens. The projected name for the camera was at first to be the "Rollei privat", which even was the engraving on the final draft in March 1966. But in April 1966, when Dr. Peesel decided to designate all Rollei cameras according to the applied film format, the designation became Rollei 35.

Mass production started in July 1966 with a preproduction run. The first advertising folders still showed cameras with release bolting devices and battery test keys. The first proved to be redundant, since with the lens inserted the camera could not be released, anyway. The latter feature was dropped, for reasons of reliability – electrical contacts could easily fail. The voltage of the mercury battery voltage dropped so rapidly at the end of battery life time, that it would be hard to obtain a false exposure. Likewise a switch for the exposure meter was also dropped. The exposure meter was always on, even with the lens inserted. Enclosed in the darkness of the camera bag, practically no current drained from the battery, which therefore remained usable for many years.

On the way to mass production
When Heinz Waaske finally presented the fully functional new camera prototype to his employer, Heinrich Wirgin said: So you have wasted time on your own construction in my prototyping workshop?!. It was not until that moment, that Wirgin told his chief engineer, that he had already made up his mind to quit with the whole camera production and photo equipment business.

Looking for new employment in the German camera industry, Waaske presented his compact camera to Dr. Ludwig Leitz and to Kodak, but to no avail. In January 1965 Waaske started working for Rollei in Braunschweig (Brunswyck). After Waaske's bad experiences with showing his new camera in interview to potential employers, it was not before March 1965, that Rollei's managing director, Dr. Peesel, accidentally got a first glimpse of his new employee's tiny prototype camera. Filled with enthusiasm, Dr. Peesel decided, the camera should immediately be further developed by Waaske for mass production, but, using only parts of Rollei's suppliers. So, finally, Waaske's little camera was proudly presented at the Photokina in 1966 named as Rollei 35, with a better lens – the Zeiss Tessar 3.5/40mm lens, a state-of-the-art Gossen CdS-exposure meter and a precision-made diaphragm shutter made by Compur, using Waaske's patented shutter design.

Rollei B 35 and C 35
Preceded by two concept studies, the beginners model with a triplet lens, the Zeiss Triotar f 3.5 / 40 mm, hit the market in October 1969. Initially, for the first concept study, Compur was asked for a simplified shutter with a limited timing range of 1/30 sec to 1/125 sec, which, however, was not cheap enough for an effective reduction in production cost.

Therefore the first concept study got an immovable lens tube. The original movable sliding tube was one of the most expensive parts, because it had to be precisely manufactured on a lathe for a light tight fitting. The second concept study retained the sliding tube for the lens, but used a selenium light meter. A light meter for the accessory shoe was assigned to be built by Gossen in early 1968, but finally an uncoupled light meter was integrated in the camera housing.
Aperture and shutter control on the lens barrel of a Rollei B35

The camera received the designation Rollei B 35, with the B indicating the light meter (German: Belichtungsmesser), a slightly cheaper model, omitting the light meter, was called Rollei C 35 for compact camera. Naturally, the innards of the camera were simplified by using more plastic parts. The control wheels on the camera body were replaced by a more conventional aperture control at the lens tube, and the control wheel for exposure time was placed at the sliding tube base on the body. Thus, the fully inserted lens protruded a bit more from the camera body, than in the previous model. Both of these models offered a shutter timing range from 1/30 sec to 1/500 sec and an aperture range from f/3.5 to f/22. The focusing range reaches from 3 feet (0.9m) to infinity. Two pairs of dots on the lens barrel indicate the depth-of-field for f/8 and f/16. The so-called Zeiss formula was inspired by this camera.

Especially for the North American market, a special edition with an artificial leather covering in traffic-red, yellow-orange, deer-brown, steel-blue and white was produced, counting 100 items for each color. But as these test samples did not cause much interest, they were not quoted in any price list.

Rollei 35 B
In 1976 the Rollei B 35 was renamed as Rollei 35 B without any further modification, to better conform to the Rollei designation scheme.

Rollei 35 LED
Without its own development department, the Singapore production facility asked Rollei Germany for permission to make a redesign of the Rollei 35 B. The uncoupled selenium light meter was replaced by a new electronically coupled light meter, using variable resistors for transferring the aperture and shutter control settings to the light meter. The new designation Rollei 35 LED resulted from the three light emitting diodes in the viewfinder, which indicated overexposure, correct exposure, or underexposure. In October 1977 the first datasheet appeared and in January 1978 preproduction started. But the first models suffered from clumsy design of the power switch, which activated the light meter permanently. If the user forgot to switch the camera off, the battery was drained in just 15 hours. Furthermore, the PX-27 battery could be inserted the wrong way, causing damaged electronics. From August 1978 onward an improved model was made, where the light meter was only activated when the release button was depressed slightly.



My Vintage Collections

1 - Canon EOS 50
2 - Canon EOS 5
3 - Canon AV-1
4 - Canon AE-1
5 - Canon Canonet 28
6 - Rolleicord
7 - Kiev 88
8 - Zenit TTL
9 - Olympus Pen EE-3 (2 units)
10 - Nikon EM
11 - Agfa Super Silette-L
12 - Halina Paulette
13 - Rollei 35 LED
14 - Kodak Retinette 1A
15 - Agfa Isoflash - Rapid C
16 - Balda Baldinette
17 - Certotix 6x9 Folding
18 - Nikon FG
19 - Minolta SRT 100X
20 - Asahi Pentax
21 - Yashica FX-3
22 - Minolta Hi-Matic F
23 - Samoca LE-11
24 - Canon Canonet (1st Version)
25 - Konica EE-Matic
26 - Halina Simplette
27 - Bencini Comet S
28 - Halina 35X (2 units)
29 - Yashica Minister III
30 - Halina 35X Super (2 units)
31 - Bell & Howell/Canonet 19
32 - Bencini Comet II
33 - Arrow Mini Spy
34 - Minetta Mini Spy
35 - Rollei 35B
36 - Practica Super TL
37 - Olympus OM10
38 - Halina 3000
39 - Rival 35

1 - Gossen Super Pilot Light Meter
2 - Agfa Lucimeter S - Camera Lightmeter
3 - Canon Canolite D Flash Strobe 35mm
4 - Rollei E15 Auto Flash Head Unit 35mm
5 - Agfa "Agfalux" Bakelite Photo Flash 35mm
6 - Hunter Standard II Electronic Flash Unit
7 - Canon Flash Unit J-2
8 - Duo Luse Folding Flash Gun
9 - Starblitz 160A Flash Gun
10 - Agfa ISI-Blitz Flash Unit (2 units)
11 - Canon Flash Unit J-3 (2 units)
12 - Gossen Sixtomat Exposure Meter
13 - Gossen Sixon Exposure Meter
14 - Etalon Automat-A Exposure Meter
15 - 3 units of Vintage Camera Self-Timer
16 - Kobold Z1 Flash Unit
17 - Watameter Rangefinder
18 - Hanimex PR-55 Exposure Meter

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