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    Cape Town Photography

    The Film Camera Chronicles – Rollei 35

    Jade and Emma at Hermanus
    “If you use film you can’t see it, so you need to feel it”. 
    – H.Lewis

    This may read a little differently to the normal posts you see on the pages of Emmajanenation, but there’s a good reason for that.

    Emma and I spent 2 wonderful days in Elgin earlier this year. One Great thing that came out of the time in the mountains was this challenge: To shoot more film, and share it with you wonderful people!

    We have more than a dozen film camera’s, all with their own story. We’ve gathered them from the street markets in Nottinghill, from Wedding Presents and from generations past. From Auctions and Classifieds and kind friends and camera shops. We have accrued more than we have time to shoot, and we’re desperate for an excuse to dust them off and wind them up!

    So here it is, hopefully the first of many Film Camera Chronicles on our little collection. Written by me, Dylan Harbour (the Bearded Husband) for my amazing Wife’s blog lovers.

    Our hope is to inspire you to learn to love film!

    Film camera’s are a dime a dozen these days, and are often more fun, and higher quality then their modern digital younger brothers. There’s something special about shooting a shot and not being able to review it immediately.

    The anticipation.
    The worry.
    The excitement. 

    Granted, there will be the days when you gleefully pull into the lab to fetch your developed film, only to find that something was wrong. The lens cap was on. The technician messed up. The shutter didn’t open. But the one’s that get away only make the rest more treasured!

    Our Rollei

    Our Little Rollei 35 was made in Germany in 1968

    From the shelves of our camera’s, there could be only 1 to kick this series off. The Rollei 35. What a little beauty!

    First seen at the 1966 Photokina, this little guy went on to sell over 2 Million units (including 1 to Queen Elizabeth II). The initial design by Heinz Waaske was presented to Leitz and Kodak, who stupidly passed it up. Eventually, Rollei picked up the idea when Heinz started working for them in ’65.

    Heinz Waaske, Father of the Rollei

    Heinz Waaske, Father of the Rollei 35

    There are 2 things that I love about this camera.

    1. The physical size, and

    2. The beautifully designed manual control dials.

    At the time of production, this was the smallest 35mm camera in the world. A record only ever beaten by the Minox 35 in 1974. Currently, it holds its position as second smallest 35mm camera in the world.

    Queen Elizabeth II and her Rollei 35

    Queen Elizabeth II and her Rollei 35

    All dial controls are on the front of the camera. The left dial has the aperture and ASA. The right dial has the shutter and film type. The 40mm Carl Zeiss Lens is sharp, but not too fast at an f3.5 maximum aperture.

    The Lens retracts into the body when not in use, and focussing is on the front of the lens. Feet at the top, Metres at the bottom (if you hold it upside down, you can see the metres).  There’s a hot shoe on the under side of the camera  (Yes, I said “on the under side of the camera” – its the only space they could squeeze it in!) and a hidden battery  compartment inside that powers the CdS Photoresistor light meter.

    Ad from the 60's

    Ad from the 60’s

    Travelling around Cape Town in December with this was fantastic. It could easily fit into a bag or a pocket. It looked amazing and the pics turned out great (Despite the fact that we only got the light meter to work after developing the spool). The camera is solid and a little heavy, but won’t break too easily (Mine has fallen off a 1m shelf onto tiles with only a little ding on the corner to ad to its feature set!)

    The collectible Rollei badge does put a premium on the price tag, but if you can find one in good nic, its worth every cent! If I could have only 1 film camera, this would be it! It small, compact, easy to use, 35mm and doesn’t scare you off from using it!

    Beautiful old Ad for the Rollei 35

    Beautiful old Ad for the Rollei 35

    We ended up shooting on Lomo “Lady Grey” film. Unfortunately, its hand processed film, so we had to take it in to the chaps at Orms Pro Photo Lab to develop. They did an amazing job! Next time, I’d go with the trusty Ilford XP2 super 400  which can be processed by any normal photo lab.

    Photo’s below are from Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Hermarnus.

    Shoot Film. Love Film.

    –The Bearded Husband