12-19-14 Why I decided to return my Beautiful Black Rollei 35 Travel Camera
It’s a totally portable 35mm film travel camera and amazing small. I was really excited to get it. However, after shooting two test rolls of film, I discovered it has it’s drawbacks…
**Be sure to check out my 35mm film test rolls after the fold**
The Rollei 35
As soon as it arrived, I took my new Rollei 35 on a trip up to Beacon NY, where I headed with friends to the famous Dia: Beacon art museum. I shot test photos along the way, and when I got back to NYC, had the roll developed, just for negatives, and scanned them with my Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner. I was surprised to find a handful of them had a strange “fog”! See for yourself, below.
My first test roll of photos with my Rollei 35 (no post processing):
I talked to several folks about it and they suggested light leaks or flaring from the sun. However, the sky was overcast the day I shot the test roll. The only thing to do was to shoot a second test roll and see if it happened again.
So I did my thing. I took some photographs around Union Square and got the roll processed and scanned the negatives myself.
Here’s what I found in the second test roll (no post processing):
Conclusions about the Rollei 35
Although the Rollei 35 took some awesome shots and it was a great feeling to shoot real 35mm film, I found the process of shooting, then running down to the camera shop to have my negatives developed and then scanning them, took a lot of time and was going to get expensive. I was also bummed that focusing by distance was not as easy as I had hoped. Unlike DSLRs and point and shoots, you can’t see what you’re going to get in the Rollei 35 viewfinder. For focus, you only adjust a dial based on how far you estimate your subject is from you. In my sample photos, you can see it’s a little tricky to get the focus just right. Perhaps a sign of our times, but I like my photos to be in focus. That said, the photos I should do have a lot of atmosphere, which I really like.
I think if I had more time and money, I’d love using the Rollei 35 because it’s a beautiful machine and the photos are real film! Also, it’s just so portable!
However, in my current scenario it would require too much effort and expense, unfortunately. Especially when I see what my 5D Mark II can do when I process the photos using Alien Exposure 5. They look almost, and maybe even exactly, like 35mm film, only without all the hassle!
So, I returned my Rollei 35 camera.
After this experience, I’ve decided if I’m going to shoot actual 35mm film, I’ll use a camera that can get focus easier. That way, my film won’t be “wasted” on as many blurry shots. That’s the plan!
NOTE: I believe all the fibers visible in my test photos were due to a dirty film processing machine at the place I had my negatives developed.