The Mighty Rollei XF35


Today’s lesson is about the Rollei XF35. This uber-sexy pocket sized rangefinder was made to give people a tiny, full 35mm frame camera that had a lens that is simply awesome quality. Perfect for a good session of street photography and for having in your bag just in case.

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First built in 1974, this camera only had a short and sweet production life, ending in 1980. It has less manual features than it’s bigger brother the Rollei 35, but more than makes up for this by being faster to whip out and catch that unmissable moment, and by having 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 imagine, super shiny and lovely factory in Germany. The result of this is that colour and light just pour through the lens and drape themselves all over your film. 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 they aren’t too important to you? What if you just want to pull the camera out, shoot, and know that you should get at the least a beautifully coloured 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 25 to 400, a bright and breezy rangefinder viewfinder thing that is so simple to focus that using it out on the street becomes second nature, and an aperture dial that goes from about 2.8 to 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 synchs with the flash at 5.6. Oh, the shutter is in the lens too so is ultra quiet making it all the more great to have with you 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 strong to hold, and 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 favourite picture somewhere on the roll. Buy One now!!!!!!!!!!

written by damianbeard on 2010-05-02 #people #gear #review #rollei-xf35-lens-35mm-rangefinder-incredible


  1. wuxiong
    wuxiong ·

    I love this black beauty, looks a bit like the black Holga135. Great test and I like pic No. 8,9,10,12 best. Bravo Bamianbeard.......

  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Great camera!! :)

  3. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    Fun cam.

  4. stouf
    stouf ·

    Nice little beauty !

  5. drumfire
    drumfire · great camera ;) im going to to buy :)

  6. dogma
    dogma ·

    WoW what cam! a real beuty!

  7. supaclem
    supaclem ·

    Awesome camera! I use the Rollei 35 SE for couple of years and it's also one of my all time fav! I try the Lomo 135M lately and I had really good surprises as well...

  8. viddy
    viddy ·

    This is indeed a cute little camera, ideal for quick shots. As I own one (and have actually CLA'd it myself), I need to alert potential owners/users that the focusing system on this camera is not super precise. Even with a carefully aligned rangefinder, you will find that the focusing images depend on the tilt of your look through the viewfinder window - all that, because the moving image is created by a moving prism lens and not by a pivoting mirror in the rangefinder.

    So, even though you get a coupled rangefinder on this one (which you cannot have on the Rollei 35 versions), don't expect Leica-like focusing accuracy.

  9. jarodfwh
    jarodfwh ·

    hi can i know what battery are your using for the camera? thanks

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