5 frames with...

5 Frames with Rollei Retro 100 Or Agfa APX 100 – By Rock

April 23, 2020

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!

Good tonal range from Rollei Retro 100 – or should that be Agfa APX 100?

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.

The River Medway – one view of it from Cuxton Marina

Another view of the marina – perhaps not the prettiest, but photogenic nonetheless

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 This was compounded by the fact that the film is outdated by 7 years and I exposed for box speed, when I should have really made a compensation of some sort.

An underexposed, low key image – there’s a boat somewhere behind those rushes

The ubiquitous shot of an abandoned boat – low point of view, of course

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


Support & Subscribe

35mmc is free to read. It is funded by adverts. If you don't like the adverts you can subscibe here and they will disapear.

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of 35mmc and get access to exclusive content over on Patreon. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi:

Become a Patron!

Learn about where your money goes here.
Would like to write for 35mmc? Find out how here.


  • Reply
    Bruno Chalifour
    April 23, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    The grain is noticeably coarse for a 100 ISO film… I would review the choice of processing chemicals, temperature, dilution and agitation… added to the “post-processing” (I would not use Ansel Adams for a reference in that particular example though, I do not want him to spend the next few days rolling over in his grave ;o) ).

    • Reply
      April 23, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      I don’t mind a bit of grain, but definitely room to try different developing formulae.

  • Reply
    Terry B
    April 23, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Rock, grain aside (it’s very personal) the film has turned out quite punchy despite its age. I particularly like the second image in which you’ve captured the light brilliantly, or should we say the camera did, but credit goes to you for the interesting composition of the foreground, vessels, and distance view combining to give, IMHO, a finely balanced view.
    As for the grain, it’s really difficult to comment, but it’s “quality” is surprisingly reminiscent of my first efforts at developing film and printing around 60 years ago when, to save costs, I used a PQ Universal developer. Fine for paper, but not entirely ideal for film.

    • Reply
      April 23, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      Punchy is a good word, I like that. I will certainly be persevering with this – I have 18 rolls left, in fact!

  • Reply
    Daniel Sigg
    April 28, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the kind mention, Rock! So interesting about those Rollei films, I did not know there was a Rollei Retro 100 S! I think it’s also so fun to experiment with older film stock. Thanks for sharing your work! Cheers, Daniel

  • Reply
    May 3, 2020 at 7:46 am

    I dig the moodiness of the shots (even if it was perhaps unintentional), particularly the abandoned boat at the end. Neat camera too! Would love to see how it shoots otherwise.

    • Reply
      May 3, 2020 at 12:59 pm

      Moodiness is always good, Yarko! If you ever get the chance to get the Agfa camera, do get one. You won’t be disappointed. I use mine all the time, maybe I need to do more posts with it on 35mmc…

    • Reply
      May 3, 2020 at 1:01 pm

      Like you website Yarko, by the way.

  • Reply
    May 12, 2020 at 8:14 am

    An interesting post – thank you. I like the subject matter and the graininess works to your advantage in this instance I think although the aesthetic won’t be to everyone’s taste! I shot a roll of long outdated 35mm Rollei 100 this weekend and developed it in Rodinal (1+50). I was testing a lens I’d found in a cupboard and the nearest subjects in Lockdown were the two live-in grandsons. Sadly the lens was very poor (soft and mushy with very poor contrast – no wonder it was in a drawer) so there are very few keepers but those that are have the same quality of grain and contrast that you’ve demonstrated. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply
      May 12, 2020 at 9:54 am

      I have 18 rolls of it left in the fridge, so definitely gonna keep trying it! Shame about the lens, I used to have a Super Ozeck in Nikon mount that was like that. As photographers, we rave about our cameras but really should pay more attention to our glass attached to it. Cheers, Rock

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.