First Impressions: Rollei 80s

This black and white film produced by Agfa is an affordable slow speed emulsion packaged by Rollei (another old name that exists long in the name of film users!)

A recommended use for this film is landscape photography, given the unique extended red sensitivity of the emulsion which can eliminate haze and if used in combination with a red filter, can mimic the effects of infrared film!

Rollei also suggests this film for general shooting in bright conditions so that’s exactly what I decided to put to the test!

In taking this film for a test run, I chose not to shoot with a red filter and just see how it rendered scenes without it. I set my ASA/ISO to 100 on my camera just to see how it might compare to other 100 speed black and whites (Kodak T-Max 100, Ilford Delta 100, Fujifilm Acros 100 II).

A lovely slow speed film should ideally render subjects nice and sharp with minimal/fine grain so in my mind, ideal for portraits.

In typical photographer fashion I coerced my best friend to impromptu model for me.

In order to try and accurately capture her skin tone I did have to slightly overexpose the shots, but I deliberately positioned her under the shade for more flattering even lighting. It is very easy to blow out the highlights with this film, so I do recommend shooting portraits in more overcast conditions or controlled lighting scenarios than for out and about snapshots.

Though I mainly prefer shooting portraits, when trying out a new film, I force myself to shoot for a variety of applications including landscapes, street, and wildlife to get a better overall feel. 

Verdict: This film has lovely contrast with true blacks & whites plus assorted midtones throughout which keeps it interesting and dynamic. I would highly recommend lovers of landscape photography to try it with a red filter and experience some of the incredible features associated with infrared film (black skies anyone?)

If I were to shoot this film again, I would likely choose it for environmental portraits as it does have a ‘soft’ finish which is very much what evokes the ‘vintage’ its name suggests.

For a super affordable black and white, it’s great fun to experiment with!  

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