135compact.com       16mm film ultra compact cameras       ROLLEI 16 S

The Rollei 16 was first released 1963, the model presented, a 16 S, was launched in 1966, a top range camera for single perforated 16mm film
* (see below). It was made by "Rollei-Werke Franke & Heidecke", a German manufacturer of optical instruments, founded in 1920 by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke in Braunschweig. For a long time they made the Rolleiflex and Rolleicord series of cameras. It has a built-in special Gossen selenium lightmeter which makes the camera fully automatic. The camera has a very luminous and top quality 25 mm F/2,8 Zeiss Tessar lens. So this was a very advanced camera by its time. It stayed in production until 1972 or 73, when the new 110 format took the market.

* 16mm film is a movie film format, as was 35mm film. In the early days it was cut from 35mm film and thus had perforations on one side (single perforation). Please note, that the perfs and their area of 35mm are bigger than those of modern 16mm film. As soon as 1923 Kodak introduced a set with camera, projector, tripod, screen and splicer (or was it a slitter?) aiming at amateurs. The new format was rapidly adopted by still camera producers to build smaller devices. The film usualy sits in a cartridge, but no standard has been established, many have 2 cassettes, one feeding and one taking. So every maker made his own system. Some, like Minolta, even sold a choice of readily available film cassettes. If you want to use your camera, you should at least have one (pair of) cassette(s).

16mm film is still made. There is double perf, single perf and unperforated film. Check, which one suits your camera. Some need perfs to advance. Smaller picture formats can use double perf film, bigger ones would have the perfs (or sprockets) visible in the picture area. There is 10mm of usable space between the perfs of double perf film, 12.5mm to the side of single perf film. Film can also be s(p)lit from other formats like 120.

The camera's 
main features are:

25mm F2,8 Zeis Tessar lens, F2.8-F22, min. focus 0.4m(!)
Shutter speeds: B, 1/30 - 1/500, flash synchro 1/30
12x17mm picture format, can use only single perf 16mm film
Size 110(135)x43x35,  Weight 268 gr.
12 - 200 ISO, viewfinder, parallax compensation, full automatc exposure, green confirmation light, PC flash socket

Camera in its leather pouch.

Camera, pouch and a film cartridge in its container.

Camera front closed. Meter cell, tiny second cell for the green confirmation light, lens protected, surrounded by a bayonnet mount.

Camera closed, seen from above. Rewind, distance window and distance setting, shutter button with cable release socket and ISO setting + filter compensation up to 3 apertures.

Camera closed, seen from below. Film counter and aperture setting with tiny release button. Set to automatic in the picture. Manual aperture in B mode and flash (1/30s).

Seen from the back.

Camera open, front.

Back view. Finder has parallax correction.

Seen from the top. 
Film is advanced b closing and opening the camera (push-pull). No advance if the shutter has not been fired.

Seen from below.

The back opening button has been moved to the inside of the finder. On the 16 model it was on the back. The tiny prism shows a green light if automatic exposure is fine.

Camera film compartment open. The Rollei system is different from others. You only need one cartridge, the film is pushed into a chamber to the right and then rewound into the cartridge.

Rollei sold its own film in their cartridges. The camera needs perforations for film advance. You should use single perf film. The perfs should be towards the bottom of the camera.

The film should pass under the 2 silver knobs and be advanced for another 2cm. Close the camera and advance (and release) 3 time until no. 1 shows in the counter. The camera will not advance beyond no. 18. To rewind, make at least 15 full turns.

You need one Rollei cartridge. The Rada system and the Edixa spools are the same. You can easily load and unload the cartridges in the dark or a changing bag. Please consult this page. You have to tape the film to the core for rewind. As the film is pushed into the receiving chamber, not pulled, advance cautiously not to jam the film.

This camera is very easy to use, pull it open and it's ready.
You only have to look for the green point in the finder, focus and frame which is easy via the big viewfinder. After taking a picture, you have to close and open the camera for film advance and shutter cocking. Putting a film is easy, just pull the film up to the film plane, shut the camera, advance to the first frame and that's it.

It's a very good point and shoot camera with a very good lens, superb picture quality, good quality finish in a pocketable body. When it came out, it was one of the most advaned 16mm cameras. This camera feels solid. It has a luminous lens. Picture results were good. It has 3 rare features: focussing down to 40cm without extra lenses, a B shutter and it's fully automatic, which still works after nearly 60 years. There are 2 accessory lens called Mutar, a tele lens and a wide angle one. They are rare and quite expensive.