Monday, July 29, 2013

About town with a Rollei 35TE

My good friend and mentor Bill Brudon invited over to his place ten years ago, and asked me to pick from two Rollei 35 cameras that he had. I chose the later one made in Singapore, a 35TE, figuring he wanted the German-made model.  Bill was always giving me cameras, and I still miss having our occasional chats about photography and stories about his career.  He may have passed on, but I keep using the gear that he gave me.

The Rollei 35TE is a compact metal-bodied 35mm camera from Rollei.  It features a collapsible lens tube, leaf shutter with speeds from B- 1/500 sec, a high-albada brightline viewfinder, a 40mm f3.5 Tessar lens, metering with indicator LEDs, a hotshoe (on the bottom), and threaded cable release and tripod socket. Mike Elek has a good page on the web about it. The 35TE model was made from 1979 to 1981. It takes a 5.6V mercury battery, which I happen to have several of.   It's a great camera to carry along, and if you don't mind using the zone focus guestimation, it is a pretty decent street camera due to its small size.  It fits into most trouser pockets as well. I hadn't used mine in several years, so I took out out a few weeks ago and shot a roll of Polypan-F with it.  I walked around the Ann Arbor Art Fair for a bit and shot most of the roll there.  In use, it's easy to prefocus at the hyperfocal distance for f/11or f/16, and just point and shoot of you have the shutter speed set already.    On a sunny day, it's easy.  Everything about this camera seems well-made, and it is fun to carry around with a wrist strap to keep it ready for action.

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