I love the look of the old Rollei film cameras! They’re teeny-tiny and hold great possibilities for candid photography. Tell a kid these days they’d need to zone focus, and they’d likely sport a most puzzled visage. The Rollei 35 LED isn’t as coveted as the earlier models, but still represents something special.

Rollei 35 LED

Rollei 35 LED

My Rollei 35 LED arrived in the mail (from eBay of course) a month or so back. After extracting it from the tight packaging, I pulled out the lens and fired the shutter a few times to test it out. Clicks sounded ok. Lens seemed wonky until I locked it into position. Body looked excellent for its age.

Trying to retract the lens, I noticed that it would not move all the way in. It seemed locked out and I wondered if I’d actually received a dud item. A quick Google search informed me otherwise. Seems that one should never click the shutter with the lens partly retracted, otherwise there’s the possibility of a brass lug inside the body moving into an unnatural position and blocking the movement of the lens array. I did know this, but had forgotten in my haste to play with it!

I carefully removed the back of the Rollei LED and looked into the mechanics of the body. To the left, I noticed a small brass lug that had gotten stuck behind the les, thus not allowing it to retract fully. I pressed a small jewellers screwdriver into the corner and pushed the lug out of the way, whilst also retracting the lens. The operation worked, and I was able to use it as intended!

Rollei with internals exposed

Rollei with internals exposed

Whilst the camera was open, I also took the opportunity to check out the shutter at every speed too, just to make sure it was firing accurately enough. I’m not especially technical, but I was rather pleased that I’d been able to fix this.

So, here’s the lesson to be learned: when dealing with delicate equipment, especially old equipment, don’t be too hasty in your handling of the item. In fact, not a bad idea to read the manual sometimes!

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