Rollei 35 – the Classic
This is the 007 type compact 35mm camera. The lens is retractable (don’t forget to wind the film first). Almost the whole camera is made of metal. It is solid and heavier than it looks. Talking about its metal, it is kind of soft. Many of the Rollei 35s survived have different level of dents on the top and bottom plates. If you can find one with perfect finish, the price can be significantly higher.
It has a moving needle light meter on the top. It is a compact module.
Rollei 35 with Xenar lens
Looks almost identical to the classic 35. The lens is Xenar lens. It is more expensive than the classic Carl Zeiss lens. The belief of the superb quality and rarity reflects on its price tag. I still haven’t had a chance to get one. I am very happy with the quality of the Carl Zeiss and Tessar lens.
Rollei 35 T – another lens, Tessar
Looks very similar to the classic Rollei 35. The lens is no longer the Carl Zeiss one. Someone said it is a lower cost “Made by Rollei” Tessar lens. I have tried it. I could hardly tell the difference between the Tessar lens and the Carl Zeiss lens from the pictures developed. People likes the Carl Zeiss model more may be the Germany name can offer more psychological comfort.
Rollei 35 TE – more electronic
I could find an official interpretation of the “E”. It may be indicating the camera is more electronic. The metering is a three-LED (light emitting diode) indicator in the viewfinder. The two red lights at the top and at the bottom indicate over and under exposure. The green light indicate correct exposure. The electronic metering reduced the risk of mechanical failure and make the camera last longer.
Also, a small catch is added to the aperture dial and make it continuously adjustable.
Being more electronic also means a new type of battery to be used. The battery cover is now on the top of the camera. You can replace the battery without risking the partly used film. When you press the release catch of the battery cover, the cover really pops out. Just don’t do it near a ditch or you may lose the battery and the cover.
Rollei 35 S – Sonnar the f2.8
The Sonnar is a Rollei HTF f2.8 lens. The bigger lens needs a bigger filter (30.5mm). Bigger aperture also requires the photographer to make a better guess of the object distance to get a sharp picture. The market considers the Rollei 35 S series as rarer items. Some collectible items are still found in the market.
Rollei 35 SE – a more electronic Sonnar
It is the Sonnar model with electronic light meter in the view finder and the battery cover at the top. The appearance is very similar to that of the Rollei TE.
Rollei 35 LED – Light Emitting Diode
This is the most user friendly model of the Rollei 35 family. The aperture and the shutter speed are on the lens barrel. The metering is displayed in the viewfinder by three LEDs, just like the Rollei TE. You don’t need to switch hands to adjust the aperture and shutter.
The body and build of the camera is less metal and more plastic than the other models. It is still a solid camera but with less weight.
Rollei B 35 – environmental friendly
It’s meter doesn’t need the toxic mercury batteries to operate. You don’t even need to worry if you can buy the extinguishing batteries. The metering is done by the solar cell on the top of the lens. The meter is on the top of the camera. Similar to the Rollei 35 LED, the shutter speed, aperture and the focus can be operated by one hand.