After checking a Rollei 35 by eyes, you can further confirm its health by your other three senses – smell, hearing and touch.
This checklist is applicable to Rollei 35, Rollei 35 T, Rollei 35 TE, Rollei 35 S, Rollei 35 SE, Rollei 35 LED and Rollei B35.
Smell the exterior of the body. You can tell if it has been owned by a smoker. Unless you are a smoker, you may want to avoid the odor.
Open the film cover and smell inside. You should only smell the scent of films. What’s the smell of films? Open a new roll and experience it by yourself.
If there is a molding smell, don’t buy it.
If there is a smell of lubricant, it may be the camera has just been fixed or serviced.
Fire the shutter of each available speed. Listen to the shutter sound. All of them should give the same crispy sound with different length. The firing should be crisp and without hesitation. Slow (1/2 and 1/4s) shutter sound should not be considered as hesitation.
Turn the aperture dial, the aperture should blades should open and close silently. Put your ear close to it and you should not even hear any faintest grinding sound. The grinding sound indicates the blades are too close together and rubbing against each other.
Turn the focusing ring. Again, it should be completely silent.
Turn the shutter ring, it is normal to hear some gear switching sounds. The mechanism inside needs to switch gears to change the shutter speed.
Turn the shutter ring, the focusing ring and aperture ring and you should feel the movements are smooth. They should not be cranky, especially the aperture ring and and focusing ring.
Extend and retract the lens tube. You should feel the movements are smooth and consistent. If you feel the movement is bumpy, it is very likely that there are some dents on the tube. Even a very tiny dent can cause quite a noticeable bump in the movement.
Lock and unlock the lens in the fully extended position. You should feel the lens locked in the position firmly without any gap of movement.
Great. It’s time to grab a used Rollei 35 and start shooting around. (Make sure you have also gone through the visual check.)
Thanks for reading.