Some of theses pieces of photographic crap are not suited for gentle camera afficionados.
Parental guidance is suggested, read and browse at your own risk.
The more expensive way to say "please" came to us in the late 80s of
the last century. Right the mother of all Rollei Pregos, the Samsung AF
SLIM in white&gold edition (so bright, it almost blinds my d330motion).
Talkabout mother: My mother took away my first Prego and considered
it fit to become her everyday's camera.
She didn't react to any compact Leica, Contax T2 or any other camera I
promoted in order to get my Rollei back. This ruined the third Prego by
now; first: film-transport gear (plastics), second: lens gear (plastics) and
third: a stairway in a Danish harbor (concrete and natural rocks).
Ricoh has a more masculine sound, but my Dad didn't like the R1 too
much - so I decided to keep the Rollei-version in its fancy wooden box
(inside covered with dark green plush) to myself.
The Ricoh GR1 had a 2,8/28mm lens (opposed to the micron's / R1's
30mm lens with 24mm panoramic option), it was so great, Ricoh even
offered it in M39 mount for the Leitzians ... but we all know "Leica
lenses are the best in the world, second to none!" ... after I read this
in Erwin Putt's review, I decided not to buy it ;-)
Before grammar school I learned the benefits of new film formats
(Rapid-Kasette, Rollei 16 cassette, Instamatic 126, Pocket 110, Disc,
Kodak instant etc.): Within two years they will go out of style and all
my aunts and uncles will path their "old" cameras to little Jan - Yippie!
Hr. Rollei too (nano 60 (left) and nano 80 (center)) and even (like seen
on the right) Hr. Leica did me the favor of presenting APS cameras.
The Mercedes 600 Pullman with long wheel base among the compact
cameras is/are the Rollei QZ 35 W /and T.
Boah, entered the market with a price tag around 3998,-DM (almost
$2000 those days, roundabout a full week's pay! But I was a student
at that time ;-) and when presented in Hamburg, I told the Rollei-man
that I considered it the perfect match of disadvantages of Contax T-VS
(fixed zoom lens) and Contax G1 / G2 (big, expensive, heavy and a lame
sync speed due to the focal plane shutter). Since that day he doesn't
talk to me any more and avoids eye-contact. Probably I said precisely
what he thought but he lost company internal arguments ...
That was before I found out, the camera would never ever reach
anything near the 3 frames per second (claimed in the paper)
and the (promised) TTL-flashmetering gave way to "flashmatic"
setting (due to limited space behind the ApoVariogon lens. And
I didn't see the "Rollei Fototechnic Germany" engraving on the
bottom plate of a Korean made camera (the German touch is the
expensive "Porsche design" and the strap-connectors in 6008 style)
... (wonder what might have happend if I had known these
details at the moment of the camera's presentation).
By now I came to like the camera(s). The QZ 35 W (28-60mm suits
my way of photography a bit more than 38-90mm) came along on a
few vacation trips. The lens is truely fine (and except for some reflexes
in direct shots against the sun there is no need to fear comparison
with a Tri-Elmar) the handling is totally logical,with auto-focus, auto-
aperture and auto-shutter speed and easily set manual controls for
these functions. And maybe some day I will forgive the phony "Germany"
engraving (or find a sheister to class-sue the sh#t out of Rollei).
When the going gets tough ... (for Rolleiflex 2,8F spoilt afficionados) ...
the Prego 30 was supposedly introduced because somebody claimed the
customers would demand a fixed focal length compact camera (and
Samsung had stopped the mother of all Pregos (AF Slim) and Ricoh had
stopped the basis for the Prego micron (the Ricoh R1)) ... well well, I fear
it was rather due to the fact, that some guy in the Salzdahlumer Straße
smoked his parcely (other people eat it).
The camera isn't all that bad, I even succesfully exposed slide film
with it and the alert observer will even find a second one in the tight
black leather dress (left)
The Prego 70 could pass as a compact camera too.
It could all be way worse and here it is way worse:
This should cure Granny and Grandpa buying Rollei comapcts,
"Because Rollei always made good cameras." once and forever.
"Below average" has a new name: "GIRO"
You decide wether the X27C (above in front) or GIRO 30 AF (below) is
the mother of all lemons.
Now my stomach needs a break, howabout yours?
The Fuji Klasse, badged as Rollei 35 AFM is pretty classy.
She is good company. The fast lens is fine and in case you prefocus,
the shutter release is fast enough. The finder is way better, bigger
and brighter than the Leica Minilux's dark and tiny tunnel (but the
Leica taking lens is a tad better), close focusing of 40cm beats the
Contax T2 and last but not least: it bears the "Rollei" name.
Doesn't a nice camera like this deserve more than just one picture? Yes:
Top the soft pouch, bottom the classy Never-Ready-Case:
Talk about the "bottom" the bottom reveals, there were at least two versions:
"Rollei Germany" and "Rollei Germany / Made in Indonesia" (!).
"Do you have deja vus?" "I'll go in the kitchen and ask the chef!"
OK, it is just a Cosina-Reflex without the reflex but the lens is the true,
original Sonnar 2,8/40 - of our beloved Rollei 35 S, SE und classic
Leica M (incl. Minolta CLE) is not my piece of cake but the Rollei 35 RF
is pretty much OK regarding look and feel (great finder).
Design straight from Mars: d7flex und d30flex.
German made digital-SLR-cameras ... in other words Rollei's V3 (came
like V1 and V2 too late "into the market"). When announced it was
stunning, but a few years later when it really came, it didn't have
enough pixels for the Japanese (now made in China) competition and
only saved raw data (no jpg) in a time when CompactFlash-cards cost
real money (the 16MB card Rollei sold with the camera could take 9
(nine!) pics ...) that was annoying.
Not a regular beauty queen but a rather rare bird. Picture quality (color
values and signal-noise ratio on the chip's part and resolution and contrast
on the lens's part) is OK, but only very few pixels, raw-data only (and you
need Rollei software for conversion, at least I haven't heard of a PhotoShop
plugin, did you?) and the dedicated (Metz made) flash (seen right on the
d30flex) is not SCA 356 compatibel (like the Swedes did it with their Fuji
XPan) ... darn it.
Even revolutionary design needs evolutionary models, this is a late one:
You can tell, it got tested by many hands and it does look close to the
final production model
Sleek front without any markings, a "solid state" display on the top
and for a moment we all expected a camera with interchangeable lenses:
Maybe just a way to have one universal model for d7flex and d30flex.
On the other hand it does show the classy materials used behind the
simple surface: brass and wood.
When I was at Braunschweig "recently", I negotiated with some nice
guys about the purchase of a d30flex outfit. In another part of the factory
(hey, how come I was not allowed to snap a few pics there???) I saw a few
d30flex cameras in "pro black" resting on an engineer's desk ... since I'm
always hunting the exotic I asked if I couldn't have a black one. The answer
was a broad grin, a nervous giggle and "that will cost an extra charge!".
Well the gentlemen told me, the black ones are to receive a 5 mega pixel
chip and developement is not yet complete. Developement is complete by
now, the result still a bit too expensive, but the pics taken with a d530flex
are nice (6MB raw data or round about 3,3MB for a first .jpg), so now I
understand all that sales talk about the good lens etc..
Only question left open: why is the close-up range limited to the shortest
zoom setting? The shorter the macro lens, the harder the back ground to
be controlled and the more problems you get with lighting (seen above,
my Rollei 35 classic tie clip (resting on a metric ruler) almost touching the
front lens ... so I had to do some of the "lighting" after the pic was taken
(resulting in a milky look).
After the d'flex experience (by the way, it earned Hr. Zettel the pink slip)
Rollei decided to burn their money with OEM digital cameras from several
sources in the Far East. First (known to me) was the Rollei d7com (7mm lens
about 1.5 megapixels "High Resolution" ...)
It went on with Rollei d23com, d33com and d41com (zoom lenses and 2.3,
3.3 and 4.1 megapixels)
Later the Rollei d330motion came and all of a sudden Rollei had more
digital cameras than flees.
Followed (or preceeded?) by a d210motion
The order of appearance got out of control, printers had a hard time following
with boxes and instructions (so you may download the full instruction.pdf from
Rollei.de (they are still working on a way to have us download the boxes)).
The dc3100 was anther addition to my collection, "d" stands for digital,
the second letter for the maker (Canon in this case, Concord in other cases).
It was followed by an ill-fated Rollei dcx400, followed by a better Rollei
The dp4200, dp5200 and dp6200 are pretty neat:
The dp4200 still with traditional finder, the dp5200 and dp6200 are showing
off with a huge bigger-is-better-display instead.
It went on: da3, da4, da5, da6, da5324, dk3000, dk4010, dm5320, dp300,
dp3210, dp5300, dp5500, dp6000, dp6300, dp6500, dp8300, dpx310, dr4,
dr4? Yes, the dr4 (sorry, I don't have the dr5 yet) has a certain Ricoh-appeal:
and the dr5100 has another certain Ricoh-appeal:
followed by dsx410, dt3200, dt4000, dt4200 - dpTHIS and dtTHAT are to come some day.
Chin up! The worst is still ahead! At school we learned :
"There are three ways to ruin a company:
- gambling, the fastest way,
- women, the most pleasant way
- computers, the safest way to ruin any company!"
Rollei is innovative enough and come up with another way: cheapish
Far-East OEM-Cameras (see X27C etc. above) and cheap "Fun-Products".
I wonder if there is any scientific study telling how long it takes to
establish a good brand name in the market - and how long it takes
to ruin it.
Maybe some day I'm gonna pick up studies in the area of economics,
and maybe I'll even figure how I can con all the others in a company
so they don't notice where and how I'm burning the cash.
A first glance through this "bino" and a second glance at the digital
"picture" taken with its camera was so breathtaking, I repacked it
and immedieatly mailed it to the Rollei service. Result: "Performance
up to factory specs" ... great! Probably I'm just a spoilt brat, owning
older Rollei binos.
My complain about the weak batteries (drained within minutes) got
answered "We don't deliver any batteries with the da20DigitalBino.".
Now, who is putting two weak AAA-batteries (sealed in plastic) into
my bino box and seals the box, if it aint Rollei? "Smile you're on
An other innovative Idea is the "me too" OEM-mp3-player.
The EK220 never reached the market (64MB internal memory, when
others had at least 256MB) so this is a sample only (the EK230 came
with a little more memory):
Call me a smart ass, I call it constructive criticism: If I had the task to
have an mp3-player "developed" for my company, I'd ask for rechargeable
batteries and a slot for mm/SD-cards. That way I wouldn't have to rewrite
the product label, box and instructions every time the market demanded a
version with more memory, I'd just throw in the next bigger chip ... and
maybe put a new sticker on the box.
And I'd demand an exclusive product, so people who just bought mine
wouldn't feel cheated when seeing a very similar much cheaper noname-
version in the radio shack the very next day when buying fresh batteries.
Things got a little better some time later:
The Rollei US-1GB is handsome, has a little more memory, OLED-display
and the built in rechargeable battery will help you through some 170 songs
without a recharge.
Some evil spirited people keep complaining about Rollei's lack of prgress,
but the metric department rolls on mapping on.
OK, not their own product, just a nice giveaway, but a nice one!