Today's lesson is about the Rollei XF35. This uber sexy pocket-sized rangefinder was made to give people a tiny, full 35 mm frame camera that had a lens that was simply awesome quality. Perfect for a good session of street photography and for having in your bag just in case.
First built in 1974, this camera only had a short and sweet production run that ended in 1980. It had fewer manual features than its bigger brother the Rollei 35, but more than makes up for this by being faster to whip out and catch that decisive moment. Not to mention it had the looks of an American Apparel model. It may have been made a bit on the cheap side, with the body being made in Singapore, but the total selling point of this beast is the lens. Rollei didn't mess around with this and built it to perfection in their (I can only imagine) super shiny and lovely factory in Germany.
The result of this is that color and light just pour through the lens and drape themselves all over your shots. I got mine when I was looking for a decent small rangefinder that would double as a point-and-shoot. Yes, everyone harps on about the Rollei 35, another ace camera admittedly because it gives the owner more manual options. But what if those settings aren't too important to you? What if you just wanted to pull the camera out, shoot, and know that you should get, at the least, a beautifully colored image? You get the XF35, that's what.
I got mine from eBay with a matching flash that is again just another piece of heartwarming design, for a shade under £50. You can find them a lot cheaper elsewhere but I'm glad I paid every penny for it. What you get for your money is this super duper lens I talked about, film settings from ISO25 to 400, a bright and breezy rangefinder viewfinder that is so simple to focus that using it out on the street becomes second nature, and an aperture dial that goes from about f/2.8 to f/8 (I think, the numbers on my lens are flash guide numbers but I got a weird one). Shutter speed is about 1/250 and it all syncs with the flash at 5.6. And oh, the shutter is in the lens too so it's ultra quiet, making it all the more great to have with you while you're out and about in any location.
Technical stuff aside, I simply love to hold and look at the thing. It looks stunning — second only to my Holga and Leica. It feels sturdy to hold! Waiting for my film to come back from the lab is just the best feeling because I know there's always gonna be my new favorite picture somewhere on the roll. TIP: Buy one now!
This is a review submitted by Community Member damianbeard.