Hr. Prochnow has just released the 2nd edition of Rollei Report 3 - using a refined method of printing and making it harder for me to show things not included in his books!
The second editon includes the black Voigtländer VF 101, the Rolleiflex 3000ED and some other improvements. Compare this to Evans, Parker or any other person feeling himself in the position to write books on Rollei (I never saw a second editon Evans, did you?)!
The Rollei 16 (and 16S) is a cute camera, but for some reason or the other
there aren't too many around actually taking pictures ... maybe because the
Mutar with the Bay IV filter mount (left one) and the Bay IV filters are kinda
hard to get?
Maybe I can promote the Rollei 16 to B&W-photogs by disclosing a neat
The knurled edge of the regular Rollei 16 Mutar (right and mounted to the
camera) is a Zeiss-special-hidden-thread, it accepts regular reversed 55mm
screw mount filters. So you don't have to go for the rarish expensive Bay IV
stuff (in front,left). Anybody out there knew this before?
The Voigtländer VF 101 is well known, the black version (mumble,
mumble (US-) Export-Version) was not in the first edition of the
Rollei Report 3 but in the Voigtländer Report 1 (from Claus Prochnow
too, like the Rollei Report), the second edtion of Rollei Report 3 and
here it is shown:
Together with the blonde to demonstrate the 49mm filter thread in
the (then useless) built in sliding shade. Owners of the Voigtländer
Report 1 are urged to honor the serial number "5545578".
The Voigtländer VF 102 is documented in the book as well.
As is the Voigtländer-name lettering of photokina-sample-cameras
mentioned in the picture's caption but the book is still showing the
tele as "Sonnar" - here and now: "Color-Dynarex" (and additionally
I'm granting a view at the camera's lens mount).
Together with the Zeiss Ikon S310 to show the VF 102's heritage.
The XF35 (PR 505) and VF135 (PR 504/2) are well known too. But
it took a long time before I discovered, that there is an XF35 "black
paint" (left) and a "black anodized" (right).
Around the advance lever, the difference is clearly visible (it is not
just the lighting).
The book is so complete regarding the Rollei 35, I'm having a hard time
coming up with things to show. So, just to make the subtle differences a
tad more visible, in case a "Rollei 35 Compur-Gossen-Zeiss" is offered:
Early "Rollei 35 Made in Germany" (left) had:
- interior painted in silk gloss black
- plain slotted screws
- metal take up spool
- pressure plate spring held by a seperate metal strip
- label for "PX 13 (PX 625)" battery
Later "Rollei 35", esp. the ones "Made in Singapore" (right) had:
- interior painted in crackle finish
- several philips-screws
- plastic take up spool
- pressure plate spring is just one piece
- label for "PX 625/H-D" battery
- a thingie to secure the film cartrige ("top right" next to battery)
Naturally above all this, the camera should have:
- a professionally made engraving,
- a serial number starting with a "3" followd by many "0"s
"302..." on a Compur-Gossen-Zeiss Rollei 35 looks strange to me,
but it has been offered on eBay ...
- a "good" serial number on the Zeiss Tessar ( "431..." and "432..."
looks good to me. "437..." or "501..." looks like a ... modified camera
(some might even call it a fake))
Just let me add two versions of the flash bracket, the one to the right
with a small window to peek at the frame counter, the ones to the left
with a generous cutout:
the sync-adapter is either pushed in (right) or secured by a washer and a nut.
What item may be used in its intended way (without restrictions) without
being taken out of its packaging?
That should work well with a nice paperweight, like the massiv aluminum chunk
Asked the other way around: How does it happen a Rollei 35 looks the way it
You build a full size model of the camera and start playing around a bit. At first
with a selenium meter.
And at the same time (just a little later) with a fake CdS-meter too:
This one has an even nicer back and even an advance lever!
And an exchangeable lens (nolens volens as the ancient Romans say):
Well, some day the final design gets finalized.
This works for a couple of days until you get a sister model "S" and your model
will receive a "T":
This is the "Rollei 35 TS" - "with Tessar and with Swiveling back" (well almost,
"Scharnier" the German word for "hinge" gave me the "S" idea)
but it never made it into mass production.
So, you've read all the books on the Rollei 35 and know everything anyway?
Well, how come you never told me why the Rollei 35 T's box is so special?
It comes along with a patended insert (British Patent 1476012)
The "Noses" ("5") at the corners are supposed to give better protection to light
weight contents - unfortunately (to us collectors) now the cardboard box suffers
How could this have gone on?
With the "Rollei 35 ST" - "ST" like "Scheunen-Tor" ("barn door") ?
Well, just a piece of clay ...
Going broke prevented Rollei from pursuing the above plans,
but what did they do?
Lets take a look behind the scenes of the then upcoming "Rollei 35 classic":
The hot shoe went to the top and the back reminds me of the Platinum Edition.
Still fooling around with the advance lever (how are you going to mount a flash?)
CdS-light meter just like in the olden days before the Rollei 35 SE
but look at that color ... "pimp my Rollei !".
Dream up a camera that will make my curator's hands get wet!
He has handled Rolleidoscop, Wideangle-Rollei, "mint" 2,8F White Face,
Hologon 8/15mm for Leica M and some other rarish and/or expensive camera ...
would you come up with an amateur camera with Triotar 3,5 lens?
Hard to believe, but such a camer did it, and I may add frankly, I was rather
the Rollei A 126 with Triotar 3,5/35 "Made by Rollei",
fit for flash cubes and 126 instant cassettes ...
OK, just a design-study but what a study! Styled like the Rollei 35 with
classy chrome caps and letherette ...
What? Boring and old fashioned? OK, we can do more modern than that:
Red shutter release, front and back in black,
and a classy chrome trim line around the entire camera
Look at that lovely pic in the finder!
Nice, isn't it? But we can we can do even more flat black:
Shutter release grey, flash cube mount orange.
I can't tell which one is my favorite ...
For todays taste the all black verdion may look a bit "cheapish" and
maybe the chrome caps are just too close to the Rollei 35 ... so the
chrome band maybe?
Many fine piece of art suffers direly from interpretation by the experts.
Here is my interpretation:
- Rollei intended to participate in the amateur market for 126 instant cameras.
- Rollei's reason for not producing the A 126 camera was not the inability to make
a decision for one of these three versions but the desire for a unique camera.
So these three beauties disappeared behind closed doors for a few years - the
truely unique Rollei A 26 came instead - and I consider them to be jewels in
my small and humble collection.
Many men like nice backs:
even in case one may guess to see Mme Tussauds' Camera ...
the Rollei A26 (shown is a design-study) was in a class of its own. Built for
Kodak's amateur instant cassette 126 it sported all auto-exposure and a
retractable Zeiss lens:
This sample is pretty close the the final appearance of the camera, you may
already tell there are only very few knobs to press ... the round shutter release
was patended by Agfa, so it was changed to a more rectangualr shape in series
Though the Rolleiflex SL 350 is not mentioned in Arthur Evans' pulp -
sorry "collectors guide" - it is a rather common camera, so I thought
about selling off some surplus ...
but all of a sudden there are so many details ...
what is this? Two have the "MADE IN GERMANY BY Rollei"
engraving on the right, just below the advance lever but the
third has the engraving on the left and does look a bit strange
below the advance lever:
When held at the right angle, we can read "MADE BY Rollei SINGAPORE"
hidden under a layer of black paint. Where are your SL 350 made???
At this point I have to beg your pardon for showing such a junkish
camera as the Voigtländer VSL 1 (PR 560/7) but it is done for a good
A possible reason, why the VSL 2 CX (PR 562) was not adopted for
mass production could be the fact that there was no chance to use
the open aperture metering as in the VSL 1 TM (due to a bunch of
levers and gears at that place) ...
A little later things got better: The invention of the SL 35 E and/or
Voigtländer VSL 3 E (planned as "Vitoflex E") freed us from Rolleiflex
SL 35 M & ME and Voigtländer VSL 1 & 2.
The slanted cylindrical lens in the ground glass and the frame counter,
counting only when film gets transported was carried over from the
earlyer models. The planetary gear in the advance lever (sintered from
Braunschweig butter) was dropped and the camera got a nice own shutter
leading to a new symmetrical design...
Here some raw parts of the Rollei-Variant (the Voigtländer's top cover
was chrome plated plastic) - sadly they built in a usually defective stop
down button, shutter speeds B and X are not always reliable and the
reflex mirror of older cameras often suffers from erektile dysfunction.
Anyway, I love this camera since 1982.
Does anybody care to learn a little more about the goodies hidden under
bottom plate: (?)
The shutter blades are arranged in a patented parallelogramm
(see GB-Patent 1512039):
and the brake for the shutter is patended as well (US-Patent 4.110.773):
as is the arrangemant of shutter and mirrorbox as individually testable units
plus a patended crank drive optimizing the torque needed over the way to
cock the shutter (German patent DE 2639953):
In the opened camera (above) you may see the crank at the left side. Except
for this crankdrive you will find these details in the SL 2000 F (etc.) again.
Remember those crazy days in the late 70s / early 80s ... ? Rollei planned
the SL 2000 F to be dual auto (aperture and shutter priority) and with 1/2000s
shortest shutter speed. For the f-stop-scale (acording to the lens's speed)
they came up with this patended mechanism (hope you don't get bored by
all these patent-drawings ...):
The scale is imprinted on some clear material and shifted by a lever riding
on the encoding ring at the back of the QBM 3pin lens (so that 8 f-stops are
shown in a cutout at the edge of the viewfinder (f-stop from 1,4 to 45 right,
shutter speeds from 1/2000s to 16s left). A galvanometer-needle or LED would
point to the f-stop selected by the camera (pic is mirror-inverted):
For old lenses without encoded speed (1pin and 2pin QBM lenses) a red wedge
would be shown to indicate a tendency, how many stops the camera would
stop down (sample to the right). Left: setting for f4-lens, center: f1,4-lens.
Another tricky mechanism ... that stayed in the drawer.
As one may expect the SL 2000F still sported other patended ideas.
The film back was covered by at least two of them:
one for optmized film flatness (rollers and curve of film):
and the (almost foolproof) operation via a central turning knob:
plus the camera itself:
The motor "1" is in part hidden under the dial for the shutter speeds
(this accounts for the bubble on top of the special cameras without dial
for shutter speeds (e.g. L-Ray LR-12 and Rolleiflex 3000P ("see below"))
And now for something completely different! (now included in the 2nd
edition of Rollei Report 3!)
The Rolleiflex 3000ED ("ED"? Yepp, like "Erkennungs Dienst" (mug shots))
Looks like a 3003 but saves a lot of film. All of a sudden you have
72 frames (18x24mm) on a "36er"-frame film ... Portrait shots get
a lot easier too:
Almost a good moment to find a smooth transition from mug shots to
the travel surveilance Rollei 3000P but the L-Ray LR-12 butts in:
Looks like a 3000P but is different ... I was told, it was used for
quality control in tire production ...
We'll get to the real 3000P soon with the lenses (in case you don't
have yours at hand).
Oops, what kinda bastard is this?
It looks like a metric-Kamera to regular fair ground visitors with a
Réseau-Screen, but it isn't. A Réseau-Screen was never mounted.
It is just a fool proof trimmed (just "A" (auto) and "0" (off) as
shutterspeeds, no "C" continous fire, no "Memo" or selftimer, no
"B", no eye piece adaption, only one release button (like 3001)
but WLF (like SL 2000F / 3003)) mixture with a nice "Réseau" badge:
At least we can see the metric focus blocking on the lens.
Now the Rolleiflex 3000P with the help of "Sondermaßnahmen"
(special measures) brought to a flash sync speed of 1/800s. A
close look at the 4/80 lens shows us part of the Sondermaßnahmen:
The SLX-Planar 2,8/80 was modified by closing the aperture a bit
so the shutter blades can make an early start ... later with the
PQS-lenses Rollei really imployed High-Tech
It took many nights sitting at the campfire scratching my head to come up
with a lame excuse so I can show off my (rare) A 26 with round shutter release:
Dedicated filters (UV & R1,5) made by B+W just for the A 26 - almost including
a lens shade, but the front won't close any more ... you can't hunt or search items
like these, they have to find you.
Having dug the A 26 out of my closet, I can show the third party hot-shoe-adapter
as well, including a shop worn blue box. The adapter will activate the f 5,6
setting just like the C26 flash. In case you find a C26 with well alive NiCads, do
let me know, most are dead.
The 2006er edition of Rollei Report 3 makes it hard but not impossible
to show things not included in the book:
Large release button and accessory shoe for SL 35. The release button
was continued with the SL 350 and even reintroduced with the 2,8GX.
Rollei was convinced this (accessory shoe) is great, so they got a DBGM for it:
The first Motordrive to the Voigtländer VSL 3 E looked (in the sales
papers) like a garage job done to a Pentax-part (and that's what it was,
but don't tell this around), the ambitious Rollei engineers presented us
an own construction manufactured in Singapore
only the sales people know why it first was called "Autodrive" and
later "Motordrive" ... nobody knows why you should cut into the
copper when removing the wires' insulation, but we all know, that
this can drive this bitching motor to damnation.
What's so special about the Rollei motordirve?
First the patended spring type thing (above) ensures you will tighten the screw
fixing the motordrive to the camera with a certain maximum torque only, second
the two/three step switch is patended as well (who knows what else?)
The intelligently designed switch ensures the contacts will be closed in a certain
order (determined by the points "12", "14" with the distance "a" were the contact
blades have their base) with a good feedback to the operating finger as each step
is approached. The switch was also used in remote releases and the Rolleiflex
SL 2000 F (and successors).
Lucky in case you own one, pefectly lucky if your's is running fine, don't blow
the timer by using the remote release intended for SL 2000 F & 3003 !
and even better when labeld "Autodrive" or "Voigtländer":
showing the otherwise not mentioned order number on the box.
The Rollei propaganda / sales pamphlets are giving me a hard time
now and then. The "well known pro photog Peter Kaus in a situation
when it comes to using up plenty of film" ... but don't worry, without
the connecting cable between film back and camera, he will not waste
an inch of film with the magazine's release.
OK, I have to admit, my magazin 250 hasn't burnt much film (in my
hands) either ;-)
When inspecting SL 2000 F, 3003 and 3001 (left to right) tops one may notice
they changed the orientation of shutter speed dials (on top of the SL 2000 F other
dials with speeds up to 1/2000s and other colors tested etc. plus a sample without
"noses" on top of the 3003)
so one may still read the selected shutter speed, when the 30° sports prism finder
The Rollei Report 3 is just showing a prototype of the much sought 30°
prism finder :
I'm showing a regular production model along with a non-regular strap and
a 3003 that once belonged to Rollei's managing director Norbert Platt (OK,
you can't tell this when looking at the camera, but you may ask him ;-).
It all came in a different way with the "Meßschieber" (slides for TTL
flashmetering) for Rolleiflex 3003. They got announced some day in
the 3003's Instructions booklet, and then disappeared all of a sudden.
The design prototype "spot" reveals: there has to be a hole to outsmart
the filmback's safety interlock ... like seen on the "integral" part. But ...
you can turn the lever a first few degrees and note that the film will
push against the slide :-( due to the safety interlock the camera won't
fire) soooo, one would need an empty filmback hull too ...
probably some person took a calculator and figured how many rolls
Whom the bell tolls ...
A snooze button is a poor substitute for having no alarm at all, but
to the Rollei nut the R-Traveltime will do or maybe even better the
Rollei Singapore (under the lead of managing director Norbert Platt)
wanted to show what else one could put into the body of the A110.
It all went well until the swiss watch makers Rolex objected anybody
else marketing a "Rolxyz"-timepiece ... so the first series was scrapped
and series production (left) got called "R-Traveltime". And at Rollei one
is still waiting for the Swiss trying to market Rolex cameras ...