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Camera Review: Rollei AFM35

Recently, I have been trying to offload or sell some of my camera gear in favor of shedding the amount of stuff I have and simplifying my shooting.  I’m really trying to only one one camera for each of the 35mm and 120 formats, but it is proving to be very difficult.  More often than not though, I tend to shoot the same cameras over and over again.

In an attempt to sell a Bronica SQ-B, I was offered to trade for a Rollei AFM35, which is a Rollei rebranded Fuji Klasse.  Now, while I would have to say that the Rollei branding is not as pretty as Fuji’s, it does appear (through a very brief eBay search) that the Rollei version is harder to come by if you’re into the rarity sort of thing.

The camera itself has a substantial build.  I wouldn’t say it is heavy as much as I would say that it is solid.  I have rather large hands so it fits nicely in my oversized grip as a point and shoot camera.  The camera itself is rather straight forward.  Only three buttons across the top for shooting settings and three buttons across the back for date settings.  The knobs are large and easily accessible.

There was something about the camera that made me excited to shoot it.  In quiet environments, I would definitely argue that this camera is not a stealthy shooter.  The shape and color of the camera is rather inconspicuous, but once you hit the shutter the camera is very whiny and draws attention to you rather quickly.  Not sure if this is an issue with all of these cameras and I’m not sure if I am being too tough on the camera, but it was something I definitely happen to take note of.

The best thing about this camera is definitely is it’s quick f/2.6 lens.  I did catch myself a few times not getting a positive focus light in the viewfinder before sending the shutter button all the way down, so I’m not sure if the focus is a bit off/slow or maybe me just being a bit antsy.  On my first roll, I took the camera to both light and dark environments to test out its capabilities.  While I did shoot an expired roll of HP5, the results were still something to celebrate.

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