The Rollei A 26 was the most compact of the better cameras for type No. 126 film cassettes. It was one of the ingenious camera constructions of Heinz Waaske, a project launched by himself in 1969 at Rollei in Braunschweig. The camera was made from 1972 to 1976 by Rollei. Like many contemporary "pocket cameras" for the smaller 110 film cassettes it had a push-pull mechanism for combined film advance, shutter cocking and readiness setting. Waaske's model were the famous industrial designs of Braun products. He wanted a camera as easy to use as possible which had to be not much larger than the film cassette. Therefore he also constructed the special attachable computer flashgun Rollei C 26.
|with adapter for a|
flash with hot shoe
The camera's principle was to protect all parts except the flash connector and the film chamber window when the two-part body was pushed to compact closed size of just 63×34×96mm. When it was pulled to its readiness status in extended size the 3.5/40mm Sonnar lens automatically moved out of the body into working position and the reverse Galilean bright frame finder appeared on the left upper edge of the back, as well as the red shutter release button on the front beside the lens. To implement such a smart push-pull mechanism into the very compact camera design Waaske used his famous personal special camera construction trick: gearing including a planetary transmission. Distance could be set manually with the ring on the front of the lens barrel.
The camera included a CdS-program-controlled Prontor shutter, with low light indicator in the viewfinder and a mechanically aided automatic optimized aperture setting for flash usage. It recognized automatically the film speed between 50 and 400 ASA. The camera would have given the world of popular cassette cameras of the 1970s a new direction towards more quality if Kodak wouldn't have introduced its new pocket cassette film of type No. 110 at the Photokina of 1972 where Waaske's masterpiece was introduced too.
Rollei had to reduce costs and gave production of the camera to its factory in Singapore. But in the shadow of the new pocket camera craze only 175.000 pieces of the A 26 could be sold. Waaske constructed a similar camera for pocket film, the Rollei A 110.
- Lens: Carl Zeiss Sonnar 40mm/F3.5, 4 elements in 4 groups
- Focus range: 1 m - infinity
- Film type: 28x28mm frame size, 126 cartridge
- ISO range: 50-400 ASA
- Exposure control: CdS exposure meter, F3.5 at 1/30 sec to F22 at 1/250 sec
- Jörg Eikmann, Ulrich Vogt: "Kameras für Millionen", Hückelhoven 1997