Rolleiflex SL35 E

35mm MF film SLR camera



Production details
Announced:October 1977
Also known as:Voigtlander VSL 3-E
System: Rolleiflex SL35 (1970)
Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Rollei QBM [44.46mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:16 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL), open-aperture
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Physical characteristics

Manufacturer description #1


Compact 24x36 mm single lens reflex camera with TTL-metering at full aperture and electronic automatic shutter speed control operating by aperture pre-selection.


Rollei QBM-mount for interchangeable lenses, lens adapters, extension tubes and bellows; combined shutter cocking and film advance lever, double exposure and blank frame lock, multi-exposure setting; detachable back with film tab holder; combination button for battery switching, exposure metering, meter memory reading and shutter release; lockable cable release socket, self-locking stop-down pin for working aperture metering and depth of field check; camera provided for motor drive, auto winder as accessory; self-zeroing forward and reverse counting exposure counter, also acting as film advance and rewind check; 1/4" tripod bush, neck strap lugs.

Viewfinder system

Pentaprism, instant mirror return; interchangeable bright focusing screen with diagonal split-image view-finder, microprism ring and ground glass screen with Fresnel lens; achromatic interchangeable full-figure viewfinder eyepiece, field of view 93 deg., with mount for viewfinder accessories, sliding fold-back eye cup acting as eyepiece mask; shutter speed scale with optoelectronic display using 16-digit GaAsP LED row, over- and underexposure warning signal, warning signal for incorrect setting of stop-down pin, reflected aperture "indication"; low power consumption by virtue of time/multiplex-control of LED warning signals.

Exposure measurement

Through-the-lens system with silicon photo diode, integral and center-weighted, metering program switched on by combination button; alternatively open aperture or working aperture metering according to lens equipment and connection; film speed setting from 25-6400 ASA/15-39 DIN, exposure correction disc, digital meter memory reading by combination button; measuring range with 100 ASA/21 DIN film and f/1.4 lens exposure value (EV) 1-18 or 0.5-32,000 cd/m2 or 0.8-100,000 asb.

Focal plane shutter

Vertical acting metal oscillating leaf design, electronically controlled speeds 1/1000-16 sec, mechanically controlled speeds X (with 1/125 sec) and B, partially locked shutter speed dial with 4-colour marking; shutter release direct by combination button or cable release, indirect with self-timer; self-resetting multi-exposure lever.


With electrical function, activated by combination button, delay time of 10 sec displayed by LED on camera front; cancellation of time delay before release.

Flash synchronization

By X hotshoe contact or X cable contact socket on camera body, hotshoe contact dead when cable connected; synchronization 1/125 to 16 sec for electronic flash, 1/30 to 16 sec for flash bulbs or cubes, automatic flash lock when shutter speed too fast; synchronization optionally with or without automatic exposure control and also with self-timer.

Power supply

1 6V silver oxide battery e.g. Mallory PX 28, Varta V 28 PX or equivalent types, for all electr. measurement and control functions; current consumed only when combination button depressed, switch-on prevented by locked combination button.

Manufacturer description #2

Unlike competitive cameras, the Rolleiflex SL35 E incorporates both a fully automatic (aperture-preferred) system and a full manual mode, which operates through the viewfinder.

Rollei engineers choose an aperture-preferred system, because it never loses automation, even when your customer is using any of the SL35 E's matched accessories. This aperture-preferred system provides more flexibility than shutter-preferred systems, and delivers longer exposures, to a maximum of 16 seconds.

When the SL35 E is in the automatic mode, excellent results are obtained by simply focusing and shooting. This means that even a person who's never before used a fine camera can get satisfying results by setting the SL35 E in its automatic mode. But then, as he becomes more sophisticated and more interested in obtaining creative photographs, he can switch to the SL35 E's manual mode, and take over control of the camera himself. The SL35 E's manual mode operates with settings indIcated through the viewfinder, unlike other comparably priced automatics.

Memory Hold

The Rolleiflex SL35 E's automatic mode also includes a Memory Hold feature. Just point the camera at your subject, gently touch the shutter button, and presto! The SL35 E's micro-computer will retain the exposure reading indicated in the viewfinder. Since the lens remains wide open, your customer can then choose a different angle for his photograph, move closer to or further away from the subject, or even zoom in or out, without altering the original exposure. This feature is especially helpful when shooting under unusual lighting conditions, such as when the subject is intensely back- or sidelit.

Under- and Overexposure compensation

For certain difficult lighting situations, such as when shooting in the snow or at the beach, just set the exposure compensation knob on the SL35 E, and it automatically delivers +/- 2 f/stop exposure compensation while still in the automatic mode.

Full-information viewfinder display

The SL35 E's viewfinder incorporates both a diagonal, split image viewfinder and microprism. It produces an exceptionally bright image that's easy to focus, even when shooting in dim light or using wide angle lenses.

The SL35 E's viewfinder also has a mini-prism which displays aperture directly from the lens barrel itself.

When the SL35 E is in automatic mode, 16 red LED's at the left of the viewfinder indicate shutter speed, which is stepless and continuously-variable. These same LEDs flash to indicate under- or overexposure, and display all data necessary when using the camera in the manual mode.

Precise, easy-to-use metering

Because light conditions can change rapidly, the SL35 E uses silicon photo diode cells in its metering system. These cells react faster than normal CdS cells, to deliver more precise exposures.

While the SL35 E's light meter takes the entire picture into account, it favors or "weights" the center portion of the viewfinder. Since the main subject is usually to be found in this area, the meter cannot be fooled by light or dark backgrounds. This means that the SL35 E always delivers professional-type exposures, to give even novice photographers consistently satisfying results.

Easy multiple exposures

Exciting, creative multiple exposure photographs are easy to obtain with the Rolleiflex SL35 E. By moving the multi exposure lever to the right and the photographer can take as many exposures as he wishes in the same frame. The lever automatically returns to the normal position after firing the shutter.

Easy-to-change focusing screens

Some cameras offer interchangeable focusing screens, but if your customer wants to make a switch, it means the camera goes back to the manufacturer for modification. In comparison, the interchangeable focusing screens available for use with the SL35 E can easily be switched by the customer himself. So as his photographic needs change, the SL35 E can change with him.

Compact design

The Rolleiflex SL35 E may be he most sophisticated camera ever produced by Rollei, but its solid state electronic components make it substantially smaller than any previous Rollei 35mm SLR, and smaller even than many other so-called compact cameras. In fact, the SL35 E weighs just 28.4 ozs. (807 grams), and measures a svelte 5.3"x3.4"x3.5", complete with 50mm f/1.8 lens.

This new, compact design makes the SL35 E easier to hold and easier to use. All controls are human engineered and located precisely where they ought to be - giving the SL35 E a remarkably natural heft and feel.

Electronic self-timer

In the SL35 E, the old-fashioned mechanical-type self-timer has been replaced by a solid-state electronic self-timer. All that's necessary to activate this timer is to move the lever located adjacent to the ASA knob to the self-timer position. This causes a 10-second delay before the shutter fires.

Self-timing on the SL35 E is indicated by a glowing, red LED conveniently located on the front of the camera, where it is easier to see.

Self-timing can be overridden at any time by simply moving the self-timer lever back to its original position, automatically firing the shutter.

Exclusive Rollei-designed 14-blade shutter

The SL35 E also has the Rollei-exclusive 14-blade, vertical-running, metal focal-plane shutter. This unique shutter construction allows the SL35 E to synchronize with electronic flash at 1/125 second.

Quick-change bayonet lens mount

The SL35 E has a quick-change bayonet lens mount system that allows your customer to change lenses faster and easier than that permitted by conventional screwmount systems.

Extended ASA range

An incredible amount of photographic experimentation is made possible by the SL35 E's extended ASA range of 25 to 6400. This is also a substantially wider range than that offered by most competitive compact cameras.

Built-in auto winder coupling

Built-in drive cam and signal contacts mean that the SL35 E is factory-prepared to accept the soon-to-be-announced Rollei matched auto winder, to help your customer achieve dramatic and exciting action sequences.

Zeiss* designed normal lenses

The Zeiss*-designed Rollei lenses, with multi-coated optics, deliver optimum sharpness. They feature a quick-change bayonet mount, depth-of-field indicator, infrared index and distance scales in feet and meters. The Planar 50mm normal lenses are available either as an f/1.8 or f/1.4 version.

*Made by Rollei under license from Carl Zeiss.

From the editor

The production of the Rolleiflex SL35 E started in the beginning of 1978, while the Voigtländer VSL 3-E was made from October 1977. Both cameras shared 80% of components, but the Voigtländer model was cheaper than the Rollei one. The cameras were ready to use a motor drive. The SL35 E kept the M and ME prism design, it also had multi-exposure capability and a memo-clip on the back.

Rolleiflex SL35 E: Manufactured 1978 - mid 1981 in Singapore, 118.250 units in chrome and black, #6.300.000 - #6.499.999. QBM bayonet III.

Voigtländer VSL 3 E: Manufactured 10/1977 - mid 1980 in Singapore, 51.500 units in chrome and black. #6.300.000 - #6.499.999. QBM bayonet III.

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.