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Any Rollei SL35 & SL350 lovers out there?
Old 06-05-2016   #1
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Any Rollei SL35 & SL350 lovers out there?

I recently bought a bundle of one SL35 (german) with 1.8/50 (unknown country) and a SL350 with 2.8/35 (singapore) all for only 250€. Both in working conditions. Pretty good deal isnt it? I know that only SL350 body goes for that price.

Are there any Rollei SLR lovers in here. I am specifically interested in figuring out whether the planar I have is german or singapore. The seller says it is not written anywhere. It looks like a QBM I mount (first version). Early german versions have carl zeiss name on and later models have made in singapore written either on the barrel or at the bottom. Can this one be a late german made one? Can it be a rare one?

http://m.ebay.com/itm/ROLLEIFLEX-SL3...=1526704464001

http://m.ebay.com/itm/ROLLEI-Kamera-...=1526704846001

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Old 06-05-2016   #2
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Really? No Rolleiflex SLR lovers??
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Old 06-06-2016   #3
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I own several SL35 cameras and lenses. The lenses are among my all time favorite lenses. I especially like the trio Distagon 35/1.4, Planar 50/1.4, and Planar 85/1.4. There were very few dogs among the many versions of lenses produced then for the QBM system. My first SL35 came to me with a 50/1.8 Schneider. It is an excellent lens. The 50/1.8 Planar is of course also a great lens. On a M 4/3 camera, it becomes a lens with a view of a 100mm lens, which is great for portraits.
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Old 06-06-2016   #4
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The Sl350 probably qualifies as the last good 35mm Rollei, but it already is more fragile than the Japanese counterparts (the shutter froze twice on mine - I gave up on it after the Rollei expert in town died). But it still is much better than its successors, and period lenses outside the 50mm were still German Zeiss productions. Some strange fancy once forced my to buy a Rolleiflex SL 3003. Still nice lenses, Zeiss designs, but their production quality was down from the earlier ones (and Contax/Yashica sold Japanese made C/Y ones for 2/3 the price of their less well fabricated Rollei/Singapore QBM counterpart). But the 3003 (supposedly less bad than the 2000/2002) was less reliable than a Kiev 80 - a jumble of poorly fitted modules with failing electrical connectors.
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Old 06-06-2016   #5
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I got an SL2000 which looked new, but its main board fell apart quickly. The camera just died. A service by the main Rollei repair facility in Germany kept it alive only another three months. I may have it as paper weight somewhere at home now.
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Old 06-06-2016   #6
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Yes, people say to stay away from Singapore made Rolleis. That is why the two bodies I bought are made in Germany. Hopefully they will not fail me. I am inclined to keep SL350 and later sell SL35 but who knows maybe I will fall in love with them. I bought the Distagon but I will probably sell after couple of test rolls. I also would like to buy Schneider copies of Distagon and Planar (Angulon and Xenon).

Any idea on my planar's country of origin? I suspect that it is German made? If yes I will keep it.
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Old 06-06-2016   #7
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When a QBM lens is labeled as "Made by Rollei", I suspect it is not made in Germany.
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Old 06-06-2016   #8
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Yes Raid but interestingly all singapore made planars have Rollei-HFT word on the lens. And all german made Carl Zeiss QBM planars have either no HFT marking or says only HFT. Mine is like a hybrid. So I cant surely say it is made in Singapore. Even so maybe it was an error not to put Rollei-HFT marking and the country inscription. I cant find a similar lens on ebay.
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Old 06-06-2016   #9
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Here is one example, it is made in germany even though it says made by rollei.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/311518827836

And another one although they are not 50mm

https://www.ebay.com/itm/381563566847
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Old 06-06-2016   #10
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I bought two new 3003's back when they were in production. Fantastic cameras when they worked but unfortunately they spent a lot of time in the shop. The tech at Rollei said there was a plastic gear or gears in the transport that didn't hold up. Also the magazine idea was great but after about 6 months the backs would start scratching film and had to go back for service. When I owned them Rollei only had one tech that could work on them and my two kept him busy. My cameras were so unreliable Rollei loaned my a third body for over a year.

I used them for commercial work and put thousands of rolls through them. I had in addition to the 2 bodies, 6 backs, battery packs, polaroid back, 16 Fisheye, 18, 25, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.4, 85 f1.4, 60 macro, 135, 200 and 400. All but the 400 we're Zeiss and most were German. I also had a Tollei zoom but can't remember the fl.

I also had a couple of used SL35 bodies but they never felt like they were well built but they never broke.

Another commercial photographer fridnd had a set too but experienced the same problems.

I eventually traded everything for a. pair of Nikon F4's and lenses.
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Old 06-06-2016   #11
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Not 35mm but I had 3 SL66's for nearly 30 years. They were my primary MF cameras for both field and studio use. Once every couple of yeas I'd have to have backs rebuilt. I had almost no problems with them and 2 were bought used. I can count the problems with bodies and lenses on one hand in that period. I figured I had put about 25,000 rolls through each body when I sold them.
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Old 06-07-2016   #12
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Have you had any experience with 35mm bodies? Rollei was a big company famous with its TLRs which were always made in Germany so I would expect the same quality for german made SLRs and lenses.

Anyone else with experienced out there?

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Old 06-07-2016   #13
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The 35mm SLR cameras were poorly made. Only the lenses were good.There is no comparison possible with their wonderful TLR cameras. Their SLR cameras were very unreliable.
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Old 06-07-2016   #14
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I used a German made SL35 for years but needed to move on because of reliability issues with the shutter. I find the SL35 to be one of the nicest looking SLRs of all time. It's small and simple which makes using it feel very intuitive. Lenses are top-notch and I believe many of the formulas were available in the Contax mount as well. My personal favorite was the 85mm f/2.8.
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Old 06-07-2016   #15
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The 85mm/2.8 was a Sonnar design optic. I have it too, but I have not used it often.
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Old 06-07-2016   #16
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So fragile... my dad swore by their lenses, but their bodies were rubbish... even the full mechanical sl35 will eat it's winding mechanism
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Old 06-07-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaFoReVer View Post
Have you had any experience with 35mm bodies? Rollei was a big company famous with its TLRs which were always made in Germany so I would expect the same quality for german made SLRs and lenses.

Anyone else with experienced out there?

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The 3003's were 35mm. Fantastic concept but poorly executed. Basically the 3003 was a 35mm Hasselblad EL/M.

The SL66's which are 6x6 are fantastic. Imo they're the best 6x6 SLR ever made.
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Old 06-08-2016   #18
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The SL66's which are 6x6 are fantastic. Imo they're the best 6x6 SLR ever made.
Yup, I enjoyed the heck out of mine. And they served as a real upper body workout.
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Old 06-08-2016   #19
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I see that there wasnt much love for SL35/SL350 bodies probably because they werent built sturdy enough. Can they be worse than Leica R4? Really?

I am still hopeful that the bodies I bought can serve me ok as I shoot time to time.

I also quite like the look of those bodies. I will post some photos and my impressions after they arrive.
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Old 06-08-2016   #20
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SL35 Pictures:

50 f1.4 Planar





85 f2.8 Sonnar

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 6861100162_c3a86f5a7d_z.jpg (42.3 KB, 131 views)
File Type: jpg 6994186197_88a31d14d6_z.jpg (58.2 KB, 132 views)
File Type: jpg 6994186327_d737ac2438_z.jpg (60.9 KB, 130 views)

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Old 06-08-2016   #21
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Great images and great colors. Thanks for posting. Which film did you use?

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Old 06-08-2016   #22
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Yup, I enjoyed the heck out of mine. And they served as a real upper body workout.
They were substantial cameras. I almost always used them on a tripod or studio stand.
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Old 06-08-2016   #23
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I see that there wasnt much love for SL35/SL350 bodies probably because they werent built sturdy enough. Can they be worse than Leica R4? Really?

I am still hopeful that the bodies I bought can serve me ok as I shoot time to time.

I also quite like the look of those bodies. I will post some photos and my impressions after they arrive.
My 3003's were a tossup with my M9.

Really why choose the SL35/350 with all the other choices out there. The attraction to the 3003 was the system. Interchangeable magazines, polaroid back, waist level and eve level finders, screens and built in motor along with Zeiss lenses were a big draw to me. It was the perfect match with my SL66's and perfect for commercial photography.
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Old 06-08-2016   #24
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Thanks. Because of the camera's reliability issues I mainly used it to take snapshots with experimental films:

Ektar
Lomography redscale
Lomography 800

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Great images and great colors. Thanks for posting. Which film did you use?

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Old 06-08-2016   #25
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My 3003's were a tossup with my M9.

Really why choose the SL35/350 with all the other choices out there. The attraction to the 3003 was the system. Interchangeable magazines, polaroid back, waist level and eve level finders, screens and built in motor along with Zeiss lenses were a big draw to me. It was the perfect match with my SL66's and perfect for commercial photography.
I've appreciated your contributions to this thread. The 2000/3003 system is one that is seldom discussed and its less than perfect reliability is well known. But the specifications and lens line up it offered were positively mouth watering, and I have certainly wondered just what they were really like in use. Such a great pity the camera bodies were not better made, because it was a truly unique system. Certainly all of the features were present, to some extent, in other types of cameras (Praktina, Contarex, for instance) but nothing else combined them all together as comprehensively as Rollei, or integrated them as well.

What is interesting is that in spite of the well known reliability issues, they are far from the cheapest type of used 35mm camera on eBay with asking prices up to the 1000 mark sometimes.
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Old 06-08-2016   #26
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It is ashamed they didn't build them better. Its been so long I can't remember if I had electronic problems of not. I must not have or the mechanical problems overshadowed all others. Scratching magazines and motor issues were enough of a headache though.

I've owned a few dogs over nearly sixty years. The 3003's, M9 and Leicaflex SL and MOT were very problematic one way or another.

I had a fantastic system of Zeiss glass, 16 FE, 18, 25, 35, 50, 60, 85, 135, 200 and a Rollei 400 and mid range Zoom. The 35, 50 and 85 were f1.4. I had quite a few magazines, battery trays and polaroid back. It was so nice on jobs to have B&W in one magazine, color transparency in another and sometimes color neg. some jobs like catalog fashion work would be all transparencies so I'd load all with E6 film. I'd do the same on magazine shoots. When they worked they were fantastic. I even had the SCA module for my Metz 45CT4.

It wasn't asthough they broke down on every job. The magazines needed relived at Rollei service every few months. About once or twice a year the body would have to go in for repairs. It was always one of the gears in the transport stripping the teeth off. Unfortunately they just got to be so much of a problem I had to switch systems. I wound up buying 2 F4's and a comparable system of Lenses.

In comparison to my previous system which was 3 F2's and comparable lenses and the system purchased after the Rolleis, I had one of my F2 motirs require replacement of a rewind gear and one of the F4's had to have the meter calibrated. To give you an idea of how much film I shot through them, I shot one job for the Tennessee Valley Authority and delivered 600 rolls of film in the end. I rarely shot that much on a single job, but went through 100-300 rolls of 35 a month. One year my E6 lab bill exceeded $100,000. I was doing a huge amount of catalog fashion, magazine shoots and around 10 major annual reports a year plus other clients work. Most of this went through my Rollei SL66's and 35 system.

I don't remember the price but they were quite expensive as were the lenses.
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Old 06-09-2016   #27
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Guys this thread is about SL35/SL350 systems

What kind of reliability issues are expecting me? Could you please elaborate?

why I bought? Because I like to try different systems and I liked the look of the bodies. When I investigated about them, people are saying that the reliability issues are mostly with Singapore made bodies so I bought german made ones.
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Old 06-09-2016   #28
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Quote:
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Guys this thread is about SL35/SL350 systems

What kind of reliability issues are expecting me? Could you please elaborate?
Well, I had a stuck shutter and failed meter, in three years of very casual use. I escaped stripping the gears, which also is common. Once fixed, each problem did not return - which is more than I can say about the 3003 (which was just as unreliable after a repair as before).
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Old 05-15-2018   #29
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My parents had a fire at their house last Monday. The fire damage was isolated to the kitchen, my everything in the house is smoke damaged and will have to be replaced. Renovations will take up to six months, the contractors said.

Yesterday, I walked through the house to get the one thing I didn't want to lose: my dad's Rolleiflex SL35.

This is the camera my dad gave me when he purchased his Nikon F4s in the early 90s. I would have been about 13 or 14.

To me, this camera is more than metal and glass, it represents my father passing down his love of photography to me. On this camera, I learned exposure and composition and it resulted in countless hours in the darkroom.

My father has dementia now. He wouldn't know what end to look in if he wanted to take a photo. A few years ago I asked him for it back, but he told me he lent it to someone, though he couldn't remember who. I thought I would never see it again.

My memories of those lessons lives on and I am so happy to now have the camera in my possession, even if it smells pretty smoky.

Getting back to the camera, I am surprised at how bright the viewfinder is and the controls feel very comfortable—like riding a bike. Unfortunately, I think this will be a showpiece for now, but I am thinking of maybe investing in a body that is in better shape to continue to use the Zeiss glass he loved so much.

Looking forward to using the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 and Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 lenses again.

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Old 05-15-2018   #30
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I got an SL2000 which looked new, but its main board fell apart quickly. The camera just died. A service by the main Rollei repair facility in Germany kept it alive only another three months. I may have it as paper weight somewhere at home now.
Mine looks new, but is only half alive, which means that it is useful only as a decorative item. The HFT Rollei Planar is a lovely thing, and at least fits my SL35.
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Old 05-15-2018   #31
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I like the camera but it seems to be prone to defects. I still have the 50 planar and german 35 distagon but no working body (wish I had one). Lovely system.
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Old 05-15-2018   #32
mpaniagua
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Age: 46
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Really like the camera, one of my favorites. Sadly, like they said, is prone to failures. I had to got through 4 of them to get to my current one, which has been working nice for some time.

Love the Zeiss glasses, specially 50 f1.8,80 f/1.4 and 80 f/4.

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Marcelo
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