I love this camera! It is so small and cute, if you can call a camera cute. According to The Rollei Club, this is the economy version. I don’t care look at it. I added a banana for scale, though not a super fresh one. At the time of production it was the smallest 35mm in existence. The wiki page gives a detailed history of this series.
I got it from eBay and a charity auction so not super expensive. This website details the different reputation that Rollei cameras have in the US and Japan, the latter country having a higher opinion of them. This version of the camera was made in Singapore around 1975 and is therefore, in the US opinion, not great and again an economy version. Though on the plus side it is powered by a solar cell so doesn’t need batteries. The “better” versions require the banned mercury battery, so I am happy with this version.
The small size meant the usual rangefinder function would not fit inside its tiny body. There is a guide on the lens so you have to guess the distance of the subject. Oh and to work the camera you pull the lens out and twist it toward the name plate until it clicks. To put the lens away make sure the shutter is cocked, press the small button next to the lens and twist the opposite way. The shutter speed is selected on the top of the lens and the aperture on the lens barrel.
To use the camera you set the film ASA on the dial at the top and then choose the speed you want. The solar cell powers a meter needle in the window. Check the needle position and match the aperture it suggests. Simple.
The flash hotshoe is located on the bottom of the camera. This site suggests “If you decide to use a little electronic flash, hold the camera upside down to avoid frankenstein shadows on your subjects.”
So did it work. I first tried it with an expired film, from 2002 according to the photo I took.
Hmm, a little under exposed. I wasn’t sure if it was the film or the camera so I tried another, fresher film.
Well, the second time the exposure was much better, but the shots were kind of washed out. I still like this camera due to its funky design, this reviewer was not so overwhelmed by it. The other reviewer also mentioned the washed out effect. I recently reviewed the Yashica ME1 and the Olympus XA2. Both of these cameras are small and seem to produce sharper and slightly more vibrant photos.
I will keep the camera, but I am not sure for how long.