Rollei 35 SE

There are certain cameras that have reached a cult status which can cause a bit of a problem writing about them because what is there that hasn’t already been said somewhere. My take though on the Rollei 35 SE and really all the variants of the Rollei 35 is that they are a great lens on the front of a marginally okay camera interface. Don’t get me wrong it has all the settings such as shutter speed and aperture but with them sitting on the front of the camera you need to hold the camera away from your eye to make changes to them that you are certain of. Also the metering just consists of a green or red LED for correct or not exposure. The camera is nicely built however and as an object of design is cool. The collapsing lens is a nice touch, just remember to have the shutter cocked in order to operate it. Focus is strictly of the zone variety, where you pre set the distance you want prior. This works well for some things but slows the process and lacks accuracy. Another knock on these cameras is the cost they can go for quite a lot. A current look puts them at more than twice the cost of a similar specked Olympus XA or Minox. Now for the good stuff. The lens on the Rollei 35 SE is amazing I don’t use that term lightly. It is a 40mm f2.8 Zeiss Sonar and the clarity of the images from it were striking when care was taken.

So despite the challenges with usage the results may warrant picking one up if the price is right.

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