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Rollei rangefinder with Mmount



I opened this thread because of the importance of this new camera for the M-community.

Rollei announced in September the release of the Rollei 35RF with M-mount for December 2002.

This is normally no big deal anymore since we are used to rangefinders of third parties with M-mount already. But this time the lenses are coming from Carl Zeiss Germany. They are new designed for this camera and all with M-mount.

In my humble opinion this is the first time that there could be a threatening for Leica M. As long as we do not have more details, it is difficult to judge, but it looks like a very promising (for the consumer) and competitive (for the producer) year 2003.

I will add more information in the next posting.

This camera is the Cosina Bessa R-2. It was shown in a Rollie dress at Photokina. There isn't really anything new here...
This is the photo of the Rollei 35RF. It looks very similar to the Contax G1/G2, but the dials are remind also to the M6 TTL. Time will tell how many similarities the Rollei-body has to the Contax G adn M6.


The lenses are different to the G-lenses. The most remarcable difference is not only the different focal length, no they have DOF scales on the lens!

The first Zeiss lenses coming out for the Rollei RF are the Sonar 40/2.8, Planar 50/1.8 and Sonar 80/2.8. So it seems that all three are totally new desigend, which makes it appealing since the newest "Zeiss wisdom" can be used in these lenses.

More lenses are announced, but not specified. Technical data in the next posting.

Dirk, That's the Cosina Bessa-R2...not a clone of the Contax G2....
...and this is part of the press statement ( tried to delete all the marketing bla bla):

September 2002

Rollei 35 RF

· Professional 24 x 36mm format
· Featured to satisfy the accomplished photographer
· Cutting-edge performance of interchangeable ZEISS lenses
· Durable, high-quality metal body
· Well-balanced, timeless design
· Complete functional range even if batteries are low (except for exposure metering)

For the time being, there will be three interchangeable lenses for the Rollei 35 RF:

Sonnar 40mm f/2.8 HFT

The famous candid lens of the legendary Rollei 35, with its ideal focal length for outdoor and indoor photography. A lens ideally suited for news photography. Its initial aperture of f/2.8 gives it a wide margin for shooting in low light with excellent focusing results.

Planar 50mm f/1.8 HFT

The typical standard lens, with outstanding correction and sharpness, light in weight and very compact. A focal length well adapted to available-light photography. Well-suited for a wide range of subjects, from interiors up to half-length portraits, without or without artificial lighting or flashlight, even in unfavorable lighting conditions. (in preparation for the first half of 2003)

Planar 80mm f/2.8 HFT

A medium focal length for portraiture, also well-suited for landscape details and candid shots from a certain distance. In medium-format photography, it became famous for its excellent flatness as the standard focal length of the well-known twin-lens “Rolleiflexâ€. Experts consider it one of the best available lenses for creative photography.

Further interchangeable lenses are in preparation.

Technical specifications
Rollei 35 RF

• Negative size: 24 x 36 mm on size 135 film

• Lens mount: M bayonet

• Shutter: Vertical-travel laminar metal focal-plane shutter; 1 s – 1/2000 s and B

• Camera body: Made of die-cast aluminium

• Focusing: With coupled coincidence-type rangefinder

• Exposure display: Overexposure warning, correct exposure, underexposure warning

• Metering system: Center-weighted TTL average metering upon light depression of shutter release

• Metering range: EV 1 – 19 (ISO 100/21°; 1 s at f/1.4; 1/2000 s at f/16)

• Flash synchronization: PC terminal and hot-shoe contact; sync speed 1/125 s and slower

• Film advance: By one or several turns of advance lever; double-exposure lock; optional T Winder can be attached to bottom plate

• Film rewind: By crank in rewind knob

• Frame counter: Additive, with automatic reset when camera back is opened

• Film-speed setting range: ISO 25/15° - 3200/36° in one-third increments

• Exposure-meter power supply: Two 1.5V alkaline-manganese (LR44) or silver-oxide button cells (SR44)

• Dimensions (mm/w x h x d): 135,5 x 81,0 x 25,5

• Finish: Metal cover plates silver-finished

Subject to change without notice

I did not say that it is a clone of the Contax G. As the R2 looks similar to the G2, the 35RF is also looking similar.

As stated in the above posting, Rollei announced this already in September. Since this site was then not online yet, I did not mention it earlier.

But nevertheless I find it a kind of "surprise" that Zeiss is producing now lenses with M-mount.

If you look at the prices of the G-lenses, you will see that they cost significant less then the M-counterparts, without beeing worse. And they have autofocus which makes the design and production even more difficult. So I expect here a very competitive environment betwen M lenses and Zeiss lenses with M-mount.

Hi Dirk,

you sure that Zeiss will be producing the lenses? Perhaps I read over it, but I couldn't find any direct reference to it in the press statement. The Rollei and Zeiss webpages do not mention it either....


I know it is confusing, but I have the Rollei news brochure in front of me. On one page with the images of the body (as above) there is the Zeiss logo on it, but on the lens itself, it is written Rollei Germany.

In the text, they write in one of the bulletin points:

"Cutting-edge-performance of interchangeble Zeiss lenses" (page 6)

This is confusing but it happened already in the past that Zeiss is designed a lens and Rollei got the license for producing it. I guess this is also the reason why the coating is not called "T*", it is called "HFT". HFT is basically the same as T*, but only used on Rollei produced (not mandatory designed) lenses.

As an ex&le: The 80/2.8 HFT for the Rollei 6008 or GMX is the Zeiss lens design from 1960 (!). It was NEVER redesigned since then (also quiet remarcable).

The only change was that in the past the coating was not really named, and Rollei calls it HFT. There is somewhere a Zeiss articel about T* vs. HFT on the Zeiss homepage.

... I forgot to mention that the Rollei 35RF with the 40/2.8 TOGETHER cost 1800 Euro!
Dirk said: > Rollei announced in September the release of the Rollei 35AF with > M-mount for December 2002.

AF with an M mount? I don't recall that, and I have been paying close attention to postings regarding Rollei.