Point & Shoot

The Rollei Prego AF – a gem, provided you don’t drop it…

Rollei Prego AF

The Rollei Prego AF is a fairly uncommon 35mm f/3.5 35mm fixed lens point & shoot camera that I’ve been on the look out for a while. They’re not all that common, but in many ways it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for the ones that do crop up. That is, of course, provided that it’s in good working order… and you don’t then drop it, twice…

Actually, I’ve owned one of these cameras before, though the last time I shot one it wasn’t called a Rollei Prego AF, it was called a Samsung AF Slim –  I reviewed the Samsung here. These two camera are – at least as far as I can tell – identical. Interestingly, on many of the occasions I’ve posted them on Instagram, I’ve been told they’re also the same as the Konica Big Mini. Whilst they might share some parts, they are definitely not the same camera. The big mini has a screen on the back instead of the top, and it has different modes too. I guess there is a possibility the lens is the same – the close focusing, focal length and wide aperture are the same – but to say they’re exactly the same would be speculation. It’s also fair to say that when I shot the Samsung I was utterly blown away by the image quality, and whilst it was very good, I didn’t have quite the same response to the Big Mini. Also, unlike the Big Mini, the Samsung AF Slim and Rollei Prego AF feel a lot more responsive. The shutter button on the Big Mini was something I couldn’t get on with, but I don’t find that issue here. One way or another, unless anyone can prove me otherwise, it seems to me the Big Mini is a different camera to this Rollei/Samsung.

One thing I don’t remember about the Big Mini was how fragile it was – which is something I have feelings about when it comes to this camera. The Samsung – at least when it arrived with me – was all but a write off. I managed to shoot a roll with it, but beyond that, it wasn’t worth fighting with. This was one of the reasons I was so keen to try the Rollei Prego AF. The results I got out of the Samsung were so brilliant – some of the best I’ve ever had out of any point & shoot – but I wanted to shoot a camera that didn’t feel like it was falling apart.

Fortunately, when the Rollei Prego AF landed with me it was working properly, and wasn’t falling apart. It’s a little bit tatty with some of the top layer of its plastic shell wearing off on the one side, but apart from that, it was working fine. Unfortunately, this state of functional perfection wasn’t set to last. I managed to knock it off the desk in my lounge at home. Not a high desk, but nonetheless it fell onto a wooden floor. This incident resulted in the battery compartment and film door popping open. With a half a roll of P3200 already shot, I’d class this as a less than ideal result. I quickly shut the back and reloaded the battery. It still seemed to work, though the back no longer closed tight so I had to wrap it in black tape. I must be destined not to own one of these cameras without the need for some sort of bodge job to keep them working properly.

It’s also worth noting that after I shut the back door of the camera, the film was quite loose in the camera. The result of all this was a few overlapping frames, and of course a few frames lost to the intrusion of the light.

Norah

Palets

Another few shots into the roll, for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to drop the camera on the road outside my house. I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly slippy camera, the Olympus mju-ii (for eg) is arguably much more of a slippy customer. Despite this, I’ve never dropped the Olympus, not once, and I’ve shot it a lot more. That being said, I do feel like the Olympus would have more chance of survival if I dropped it. It’s not that it’s a particularly heavy duty camera, but the Rollei does feel like it’s made out of fairly thin plastic. Of course I have no evidence to back this up, I’ve not dropped the Olympus, and I have dropped the Rollei breaking it in the process, so of course it would seem more fragile to me…

The slightly loose back door isn’t the only issue this camera now has either. First drop, or maybe second drop, or perhaps even just a feature prior to my ownership, I’m not sure – one way or another my Rollei Prego AF also has an issue with a light leak. You can see it in the top right corner of a couple of the photos. It looks a little like the sun is in the corner of the frame when it definitely wasn’t.

West Midlands Safari Park

Connie

There is a possibility of course that this has something to do with this little metal baffle that’s come loose from behind the lens. I might have a go at gluing it back in… though I must admit, I am beginning to feel like I’m cursed when it comes to this model of camera, so I might just write the thing off as another failed 35mm point & shoot. I’ll tell you what, if I had a quid for every broken point & shoot camera I’ve owned… well… I’d have a lot more money for buying more of the damned things!

At this stage, there’s also no point in me waxing lyrical about how great the lens is, or about how the camera works, or indeed about all the features it has. You can read all of that stuff in my Samsung AF Slim review… instead, here’s a few of the pictures that actually came out ok…

Connie

Connie

West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands Safari Park

The moral of this story: If you see one of these cameras – Samsung AF Slim or Rollei Prego AF branded – pick it up they are great little cameras… just don’t then drop it again (twice) like I did…

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16 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Malcolm Myers
    November 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Looks like a great point and shoot and the (good) photos do seem very good. Just the sort of camera I look out for in charity shops and car boot sales.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    janourda
    November 11, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Looks really nice, with good contrast!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Joe abbruscato
    November 11, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    I am officially taking comfort in the fact that I am not the only one who has had issue holding on to the Prego Af and the Samsung Af Slim/Mini. I own both…and have dropped both multiple times. Their backs both now must be held shut by tape. Still working without (too much) issue, and if you use a grippy tape like athletic cloth tape, it helps with holding them (but looks ridiculous). I’ve dropped cameras before, but these two are the only point and shoots I own which seem to LOVE the freedom of free fall.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      November 12, 2018 at 9:58 am

      HA! I shall take great comfort in this too!! We are either equally cursed, have the same size hands, or (which I suspect is the real truth) this camera is fundamentally flawed in its entire design 😉

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Cindy
    November 13, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve had the Samsung AF-Slim and a Konica Big Mini and agree with you that they are nothing alike. Got a good run out of the AF-Slim until the door no longer latched, and since the door latch triggered the winding mechanism, that died soon after. It had a great lens but was also the loudest camera I’ve ever owned. Does the Rollei Prego AF have the same time lapse feature of the Samsung?

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      November 19, 2018 at 7:38 am

      Oh yeah, very loud – I noted this in my Samsung review too. Shame really…

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    Reply
    Gordon Palm
    November 21, 2018 at 1:54 am

    Oh just compared body shots of Samsung and the Rollei – They are identical. For a while Rollei was owned by a subsidiary of Samsung so I take it that’s where the different brand/same camera thing came in. I have a white Samsung AF Mini arriving soon from the US (fingers crossed – I say that because the courier lost the first order of a Samsung AF Mini R – a different kind of curse?). Expanding the Rollei-is-a-rebrand-of-Samsung thing, have matched 4-5 Prego models to Samsung Evoca/Fino/Vega models – So the Prego 70 is a reskinned Vega 77i, the Prego Zoom is the Slim Zoom etc etc. It’s nice to have a Rollei, but if you’re not bothered by the brand name, the body, functions, and, yes, the lens – are all the same.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    zoran vaskic
    November 28, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Last night after work I decided to browse the site here and turned to the point and shoot articles, arbitrarily deciding to read this one. Almost two weeks ago I bought a camera from an older gentleman who has a modest collection of cameras and related odds and ends. The look was different than what I had run across in my travels in thrift shops or perusing online. It looked reasonably compact even a bit sleek, viewing the camera from the front to the upper left was a Blacks logo. Blacks was a photography retail outlet in Canada who closed all their doors in 2015. Below the Blacks logo on the left side and partially smudged to almost be indistinguishable it read, Attache Q.D. The seller wanted $6 dollars for it. I bought 6 cameras from him during that visit, and remember thinking about this one in relation to the asking price that maybe it was more than I wanted to pay since it had no name recognizeable to me and was perhaps (in my mind I was thinking not just perhaps but ‘likely’ it was just another dud of an insignificant camera) a waste of money. Later I tried to find info online about it to determine any link to a known name but came up very empty. Yesterday I had a better idea for establishing its identity, which was simply to keep a look out online in my travels for a similar look. And with that I put the whole matter to rest. Then I came home and just randomly chose this article to read, it was midnite, the camera was sitting on the small table beside me out of its case, and I looked at the first picture of the rollei. The first thing that caught my eye a bit was the lens housing, and as I read on I thought, well theres a bit of a similarity to my mystery camera. It still didnt click though, until I noticed the two ‘beetle’ eyes on either side of the viewfinder. The same as my camera! Anyway, after more examination of the pictures of your rollei and comparison to mine it became clear this is the same camera. Well, small stylish differences with the Rollei, but exactly the same as the Samsung AF-Slim. Mystery solved and solved so quickly in unexpected fashion. I’m glad to know this little camera is a winner and now I’m thinking $6 dollars was a good deal.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      December 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      Excellent work – the wonders of the rebranded camera!

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Marc Villaruel
    November 30, 2018 at 11:40 am

    I have a Konica BM101 (same as A4), a Big Mini F, a Samsung AF Slim R (second budget version without flash off), and just today, a Rollei Prego AF. I’ve been doing research from old Popular Photography magazines and I have quite a fascination with the Konica and Samsung-Rollei line. I’m probably writing a post in my local film group once I finish a roll on the Rollei.

    I was just wondering a few things that I hope you may have answers or insights to. My version of the Rollei Prego AF is called the Prego AF Xenar featuring a Schneider Kreuznach Xenar HFT lens compared to the standard Rolleinar lens. From what I gather, this originally retailed for over a 100 dollars more than the standard Prego AF selling at the same period in time. Would you happen to know if there are any differences in the lenses, how it was manufactured/who manufactured the lens, or if it would just be a coating difference. Possibly, there might be no difference at all.

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    Reply
    Freddie Pahls
    December 2, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    You shall hereforth be known as “Clumsy Hamish.” LOL

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      December 2, 2018 at 10:50 pm

      Ha, meh, I blame the camera! It probably had a death wish

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Austin
    December 3, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    These are great cameras. A little bit of background on them:
    Samsung made the AF-Slim (or slightly different cosmetically for Europe, the AF-mini) entirely themselves, and it does not share any DNA with the Konica Big Mini. It is misstated to be a clone because of the lens protrusion, which acts in a similar way. Samsung licensed this camera out as the Rollei Prego AF, and the Voigtlander Vito C-AF.

    Here’s some feature specs of the AF-Slim:
    1/2 to 1/500th shutter with bulb setting
    Shutter bias toward available light, only kicking in flash when lower than 1/30th
    4 element lens
    180 Zone Active Spot AF
    1.2m minimum focus distance (with no extra toggle required for macro shooting unlike the Big Mini)
    50-3200 ISO range
    A toggle 1.5+ stop exposure comp backlight mode
    A somewhat dated intervalometer mode

    Overall it’s a feature rich camera, and certainly does not receive the attention it commands. I had a Yashica T5, but for my shooting the AF-Slim was the better tool. It has a more forgiving half press shutter, and due to the 1/500th top speed versus the 1/700th of the T5, managed to stop down a bit more to maintain sharper images.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Hamish Gill
      December 7, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Thanks Austin!

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    Reply
    Gardez
    January 19, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Bonjour, ayant envoyé à la révision mon numérique, j’ai ressorti de sa sacoche, mon Rollei Prego Af Xenar acheté à Vienne, Autriche, fin 12/1995 et j’ai aussi fait de superbes agrandissements 50×70 au Canada en 1996. Depuis 2002, achat d’un Fujifilm numérique, il est dans sa sacoche, pile enlevée, avec une pellicule 200asa couleur non utilisée. La pile remise, non déchargée, j’ai pris quelques photos. Quand les 24 seront faites, je la porterai à développer et numériser à moins que la pellicule soit un peu trop mûre !! J’ai aussi une Kodak Tmax 100 pro 24 posés que j,essaierais. Salutations.

    Google translation:

    Hello, having sent to my digital overhaul, I came out of his bag, my Rollei Prego Af Xenar bought in Vienna, Austria, late 12/1995 and I also made great enlargements 50 × 70 in Canada in 1996. Since 2002, purchase of a digital Fujifilm, it is in his bag, battery removed, with a film 200asa color not used. The battery delivered, not discharged, I took some pictures. When the 24 will be made, I will take it to develop and scan unless the film is a bit too mature !! I also have a Kodak Tmax 100 pro 24 posed that I would try. Greetings.

  • Reply
    The Olympus mju-ii - great camera, but too expensive for what it is! - 35mmc
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