So this post is in response to Daniel Sigg’s fab review ‘Experiements With Three Rollei 135 Film Stock‘ of February 26th. Daniel looked at three b/w films from Rollei i.e RPX100, RPX 25 and Retro 80s (some excellent photos Daniel!). It was particularly interesting for me as I am a fan of most things Agfa, and some of the current Rollei offerings are known to be at least based on Agfa emulsion if not entirely made by them. In addition, I have acquired some Rollei Retro 100 so thought now would be the time to give it a test.
Now this post is only a ‘Five Frames’ so don’t expect a comprehensive review, merely some thoughts and sample images from my first go with the film. At this point it is worth pointing out this stuff is double marked, both as Rollei Retro 100 and as Agfa APX 100. It has been relabelled and repackaged. This is clearly not rebranded aerial film but, in fact, the fabled old Agfa stock sold to Maco when they withdrew from the consumer market in 2004. This is also not the same APX film that Lupus currently distributes under an Agfa name. Hence the title of this post!
For my first shoot with this film I headed to a local marina beside the River Medway, which also serves as a small industrial estate. I knew there would be a decent variety of subjects: luxury yachts, rusty barges, river scenes, junk metal, maybe some interesting rubbish dumps etc.
A roll was loaded into my trusty Agfa Optima Sensor Electronic Flash. This viewfinder camera doesn’t usually let me down. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the ideal choice. Being a cloudy winter’s day with bursts of low sunlight, the light was fluctuating all the time, and creating strong shadow areas in particular. An auto only camera obviously limits exposure control; I really could have done with a manual setting. All the negatives came out underexposed and the five frames here have been ‘rescued’ post-processing (but then, isn’t that kinda what Ansel Adams did to a degree?). This was compounded by the fact that the film is outdated by 7 years and I exposed for box speed, when I should have really made a compensation of some sort.
The developed roll didn’t come out too bad, despite the underexposure. I am encouraged to run more through my 35mm SLRs, probably set to ISO40 or 50, and with manual exposure control. I have bought some Bellini monobath developer/fixer from Nik & Trick (www.ntphotoworks.com), and maybe this film is the perfect choice for some home developing experiments.
Thanks for reading, comments welcome.
Some of my stuff at www.rocksreflex.com