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Scale Focus 35's Though not rangefinders, scale focus 35's are 1st cousins. This forum includes such popular gems as the Rollei 35's, Petri 35's, and the Olympus XA-4.

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Rollei 35SE review
Old 08-01-2017   #1
Huss
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Rollei 35SE review

A great site and a nice read:

https://www.casualphotophile.com/201...camera-review/
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Old 08-01-2017   #2
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Thx Huss...!
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Old 08-01-2017   #3
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I have a love-hate thing going with my Rollei 35S. I actually quite like how it feels, how it winds, even the shutter. However, scale focusing basically means I actively avoid shooting wider than f/5.6 (unless at hyperfocal), lest I miss focus.

Might be I just need more practice.
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Old 08-01-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliveC View Post
I have a love-hate thing going with my Rollei 35S. I actually quite like how it feels, how it winds, even the shutter. However, scale focusing basically means I actively avoid shooting wider than f/5.6 (unless at hyperfocal), lest I miss focus.

Might be I just need more practice.
I miss-focused many times at f/4. I decided to stick to f/8 with my Rollei 35 SE.
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Old 08-01-2017   #5
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I just might give the Leica a break and pull out the Rollei after reading this. For a bit at least.
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Old 08-02-2017   #6
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Dare to take unsharp pictures. You may find beauty in the blur. It may be lame to mention the old "Are Bure Boke", but the Provoke guys did many things right!
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Old 08-02-2017   #7
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It is nice to see fresh review on old film cameras. Cameras never old as long as they are in use.

2.8 version became too overpriced few years ago. I never regretted to have two of regular ones instead, not I'm regretting to sell them.

Oly Trip 35 gives the same, for less money and less "hassle", plus quality of 40 2.8 images is astonishing.
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Old 08-02-2017   #8
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One of my all-time favorite cameras. Had mine since new from the early 80's making it the camera I've owned the longest. Many people complain about the fiddly dials, but with use they become "normal". Using flash is a pain though. I've noticed comments in the forum favoring the previous model with match-needle meter visible on top, but I agree with what was said in the article about the convenience and speed of the LED's in the viewfinder. For most of its life mine was used for slides, and again, despite complaints about the light meter, I never had a bad exposure (or focus) from it. Superbly made and compact. Fabulous camera for hiking. Amazingly reliable. One of my keepers.
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Old 08-02-2017   #9
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Nice article. I have an SE myself. I don't use it that often though, mostly because I suck at zone focusing, although, if i'd use it more, i'd probably get better at it. *doh* .. but I really enjoy using it when I do.
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Old 08-02-2017   #10
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I remember the lens in my 35S I bought from a Vietnam Vet for a C spot..who got it in the war..having astonishingly good colors..but not as sharp as my 35mm Summicron ver 4..I think I will take that cam out for a spin soon..
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Old 08-02-2017   #11
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I love mine.

But, I rarely use it. It's hard to scale focus. For such a small camera it's just too fidly.

It's a good looking camera so I keep it around. I just can't bring myself to sell it.
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Old 08-02-2017   #12
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About un-sharp images.
From recent roll with Rollei 35 SE

Intentional blur:


Accident blur:
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Old 08-02-2017   #13
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I have the 35S with a dead meter, but I don't let that deter me. What the writer of the review doesn't realize about the top mounted meter is street photographers rely on it quite a bit.

But I rarely do "street", so I just wing it with Sunny-16.

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Old 08-02-2017   #14
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i like that- "beauty in the blur"

Quote:
Originally Posted by petronius View Post
Dare to take unsharp pictures. You may find beauty in the blur. It may be lame to mention the old "Are Bure Boke", but the Provoke guys did many things right!
after handling mine a friend referred to it as the mercedes benz of cameras (of course this was a number of years ago)
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Old 08-02-2017   #15
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I think its an easy camera to focus. The distance closest to infinity is 20 feet, so I just judge if I'm closer to 20, or to infinity. I don't do much closer than 20 feet, but when I do, I just pace off the distance. Easy.
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Old 08-02-2017   #16
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Another small-sized scale focus camera I like is the Yashica Electro 35 MC, the forgotten member of the Electro 35 family. It has 40mm f/2.8 Tessar type lens, scale focus with distance indicator icons inside viewfinder (head - one person - a group of people- mountain), and the aperture priority exposure mode make it even faster to shoot with.
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Old 08-02-2017   #17
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I could never get the hang of it wide open or near wide open, but it sure was fun to use. Maybe Stephen Shore had the right idea in "American Surfaces"... use flash when the light is low!
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Old 08-02-2017   #18
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Wide open I find myself either memorizing (visually) how close the minimum focus distance is, or focusing 5-10m or infinity for low light landscape-y shots, to make sure I get stuff in decent focus. With 400 speed film during daylight hours outdoors I'm surprised at how well zone focus works.

There are occasions when the LEDs become confusing - the two red ones indicate over and under exposure, with the green appearing between to indicate good exposure. But sometimes the green never shows up and both red ones do :-\ Which I suppose is why a lot of people still like the older Rollei 35S / original needle.
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Old 08-02-2017   #19
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For those who need help in estimating distances..
Grab a camera that does have a focusing mechanism. Pick an object and guess the distance, set that on the lens. Look through the VF, correct the focus, then see how close you were. Rinse and repeat with objects of varying distances.
In about 10 minutes you will become good at estimating distances!
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Old 08-02-2017   #20
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I have one. One of the kids knocked it off the counter and some part fell off inside causing a massive light leak. Would maybe consider getting it fixed if I knew someone reputable. I definitely kept it in the rotation as it really did fit in my pocket.
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Old 08-02-2017   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
For those who need help in estimating distances..
Grab a camera that does have a focusing mechanism. Pick an object and guess the distance, set that on the lens. Look through the VF, correct the focus, then see how close you were. Rinse and repeat with objects of varying distances.
In about 10 minutes you will become good at estimating distances!
Yes, but now do it when you are reacting to a fleeting moment.
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Old 08-03-2017   #22
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I used to own a few Rollei 35's. Just because they are so nice. But I hate unsharp pictures. Now I use a Contax T or an Olympus XA.
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Old 08-03-2017   #23
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Quote:
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Yes, but now do it when you are reacting to a fleeting moment.
I think Huss´advice was to practice before the fleeting moments (remember the Carnegie Hall).
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Old 08-03-2017   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petronius View Post
I think Huss´advice was to practice before the fleeting moments (remember the Carnegie Hall).
if the moment is fleeting so much that i can't even set the distance, an unsharp picture might be just an adequate result.




(ps: i practised a lot while i adjusted the distance scale on my rollei 35 - at least 4 rolls of film went into that effort. man, that was fun!)
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Old 08-03-2017   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I could never get the hang of it wide open or near wide open, but it sure was fun to use. Maybe Stephen Shore had the right idea in "American Surfaces"... use flash when the light is low!
Personally I never got the hang of this camera and am amazed that SS managed to get such great results, I guess it made his later migration to eight-by-ten seem pretty easy
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Old 08-03-2017   #26
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I say embrace blur!

Palio2013011 by Aguaitacaminos, on Flickr

But selective focus in lowish light is possible indeed

Primavera2010026 by Aguaitacaminos, on Flickr

Both with Rollei 35S

Last edited by micromontenegro : 08-03-2017 at 05:40. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-03-2017   #27
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I've had virtually all models of the Rollei 35, from original to Classic. Wonderful cameras. My favorite, almost beloved, black Rollei 35S is a part of my permanent, never-sell camera kit. It's been with me around the world five times over the past quarter of a century and more.

The Rollei 35SE never worked for me with the LEDs in the viewfinder ... The Rollei 35 was conceived as a waist level camera by its designer, not an eye level camera. As you look down at the top of the camera held at your waist, all the settings are apparent and reachable: focus, shutter time, aperture, DoF scale, and meter. The notion is to always have the camera pre-set to the focus zone you want to be in, do all the settings at your waist level, and then when you see a photo it's a quick motion to bring the camera to your eye, frame, and release the shutter. The controls are not well situated for eye-level setting with the meter readout in the viewfinder and it becomes clumsy, IMO.

Also, it's important to realize that the camera with its original Tessar lens was designed to be used at f/11 most of the time. Tessars always deliver their best performance between f/8 and f/11. Focusing is very fast if you ride the DoF and use f/11: you only have to remember two focus settings for most subjects: 6' and 12'. This was obviously a camera designed before the modern obsession with ultra fast lenses used wide open ... The notion was to use 35mm's native deep DoF (compared to 6x6 format) and focus quickly by zone. You only up it up and spend time getting precise focus settings when light levels are very low.

I had my Rollei 35S cleaned, adjusted, and lubricated a few years ago. I should toss a roll of film in it and give it a walk.

G
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Old 08-03-2017   #28
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same here. cool camera, but i don't want to bother with the missing rangefinder.

you can always stick an accessory rangefinder into the hot shoe, but then it's a real clunker.

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Old 08-03-2017   #29
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I beg a pardon, then Tessar was designed it was 1902. And it was no 135 film format.
Then decades ago Tessar optical formula was in use for 135 film format lenses, they were at optimum just as most of the lenses at f5.6-f8 and fine at f11. FSU 50mm Industars are Tessar formula and they are sharp at f5.6-f8.

Also, all of these assumptions in this thread about availability to scale focus, should be separated from anything else.
40mm lens at 5.6 and tree meters has 1.24 meters DOF.
40mm lens at 3.5 and five meters has 2.2 meters DoF.

Is it this difficult to scale focus at one, three or five meters, not precise, just approximately at f5.6? Not for me at least.
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Old 08-03-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micromontenegro View Post
I say embrace blur!

Palio2013011 by Aguaitacaminos, on Flickr


gorgeous photo!
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Old 08-03-2017   #31
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Thanks, Huss. :-)
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Old 08-03-2017   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petronius View Post
I think Huss´advice was to practice before the fleeting moments (remember the Carnegie Hall).
Yeah, I got that... but saying it and doing it are two totally different things when using 35mm film and trying to guess focus at 2.8 on a 40mm. As with others, I prefer my subject to be in perfect focus. Of course there are times when a soft photo can work, but generally speaking it doesn't. The provoke guys put a lot of effort into making their photos look like that. It wasn't an accident.
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Old 08-03-2017   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
...

Also, it's important to realize that the camera with its original Tessar lens was designed to be used at f/11 most of the time. Tessars always deliver their best performance between f/8 and f/11. Focusing is very fast if you ride the DoF and use f/11: you only have to remember two focus settings for most subjects: 6' and 12'. This was obviously a camera designed before the modern obsession with ultra fast lenses used wide open ... The notion was to use 35mm's native deep DoF (compared to 6x6 format) and focus quickly by zone. You only up it up and spend time getting precise focus settings when light levels are very low.

G
Exactly, and how I use my Yashica 35MC and Leica MDA. Everything that can be preset is, and then it's just frame and shoot. 35mm film at f8 to 16 is much much more forgiving of minor focus errors than a 36 to 42Mp sensor at f1.4

Edited to add - I have a Sigma 35 that is on its way back to Sigma as it cannot consistently focus on my K1 and the combination of very high resolution and potentially limited dof doesn't work.
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Old 08-03-2017   #34
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I love everything about it except the heartaches. The person who said "Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler" had this camera in mind. Leaving out the rangefinder was a step too far, IMO. (BTW - there is no evidence Einstein said that.)
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Old 08-03-2017   #35
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Two summers ago, I tested my (new to me) 35S and shot 4 rolls in a couple of weeks. Out of those, I got only 3 OOF photos; about a quarter of the photos were shot inside with max aperture. I had never used zone/scale focus before then but found it easy, I used my height (approx. 6 ft) as a rough benchmark and estimated distance that way.

@Godfrey: I never knew a black 35S existed! Would love to see a pic and hear it's history.
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Old 08-03-2017   #36
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Quote:
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@Godfrey: I never knew a black 35S existed! Would love to see a pic and hear it's history.

I've seen quite a few for sale. Of course the chrome is much more common.

This 'story' was photographed using a black 35S. I think the images are outstanding:

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2017/0...by-aloys-main/
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Old 08-03-2017   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
The Rollei 35SE never worked for me with the LEDs in the viewfinder ... The Rollei 35 was conceived as a waist level camera by its designer, not an eye level camera. As you look down at the top of the camera held at your waist, all the settings are apparent and reachable: focus, shutter time, aperture, DoF scale, and meter. The notion is to always have the camera pre-set to the focus zone you want to be in, do all the settings at your waist level, and then when you see a photo it's a quick motion to bring the camera to your eye, frame, and release the shutter. The controls are not well situated for eye-level setting with the meter readout in the viewfinder and it becomes clumsy, IMO.
+1, non "E" versions are better for me too for the same reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michiel Fokkema View Post
I used to own a few Rollei 35's. Just because they are so nice. But I hate unsharp pictures. Now I use a Contax T or an Olympus XA.
Unsharp???

Street Photography @Castello Sforzesco_05 (Milan, Italy) by Alessandro Saponaro, su Flickr

Street Photography @Castello Sforzesco_08 (Milan, Italy) by Alessandro Saponaro, su Flickr

Street Photography @Castello Sforzesco_12 (Milan, Italy) by Alessandro Saponaro, su Flickr

Tessar lens, Shot @f/8, Trix in Xtol 1:1
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Old 08-03-2017   #38
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Quote:
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The Rollei 35SE never worked for me with the LEDs in the viewfinder ... The Rollei 35 was conceived as a waist level camera by its designer, not an eye level camera.

G
I agree. However, using LED to show information was a super cool thing at that time, and I understand why SE's designer jumped on that wagon. If they learned from Yashica Electro 35 and put some LEDs on the top plate...then it's another story.
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Old 08-03-2017   #39
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The problem with the SE models was the battery placement was now on the top plate, which made the design less elegant.
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Old 08-03-2017   #40
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Nice article, but he mention wrongly selenium meters...
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