Pictures from Portugal: Porto and Coimbra in March

When I travel for work, I still try to sneak in a few pictures here and there on the way. Usually, I bring along my Fuji X100S, as it is small enough and good enough to document most things. I hardly leave the house, however (and certainly not the country) without a film camera. I don’t like bringing big heaps of luggage, though, so most often that camera is a rather small one.

On a recent conference trip to Portugal and the UK, I really tried to keep the weight of gear down and brought only my Rollei 35T. The Rollei is the first film camera I ever bought, in 2013, and I recently had it repaired and readjusted and some parts exchanged because it had not functioned satisfactorily and sat unused for a while. The viewfinder had lost its luster and become quite dim, and some screws were obviously no longer originals, so the camera needed a makeover. The camera repair shop also adjusted the light meter so the camera can now be used with common 1.5V batteries, and no longer relies on the 1.35V mercury cells that have been phased out because of environmental concerns.

I still have an original yellow filter and a lens hood, and thus equipped I threw the camera in my bag with a roll of the sadly gone Kodak BW400CN loaded. Scale focusing (i.e. guess focusing) the Rollei is a learned skill, and one I seem to have unlearned to quite a significant degree in the years I hadn’t used the camera. The pictures that did turn out, however, are reward enough. The lens is sharp and gives a wonderfully vintage street photography feel. Looking at the results, I feel transported to another time, another way of living and thinking and photographing.



Through a Rollei 35

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Through a Rollei 35, ein Album auf Flickr.

I’ll talk about the arsenal soon. What camera do you use for what kind of picture? Digital, figital, analog? Small, big, or in between? But that’s for another day.

For now, though, suffice it to say that the one that’s proven itself indispensable in the short time I’ve had it is this one: a Rollei 35 T.

Much has been written about this little camera, its inauspicious beginnings as a side project by renowned camera designer Heinz Waaske, its production history – Germany and Singapore, and back to Germany – its choice of fixed lenses and their respective qualities, and most of all its small size and against-the-grain ergonomics.

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