Film Friday: Rollei Superpan 200 in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Rollei Superpan 200 in 35mm.

Rollei Superpan is one of few films with a box speed ISO of 200, alongside Fomapan Creative, which was also a Film Friday last year.

Rock and Rollei: Two of the four rolls I currently have

The Superpan has been a film I have used many times, most notably during my stay in Nice of April 2018. I used an orange filter on the lens of my Canon EOS 500n camera.

It wasn’t until recently I had discovered that the Rollei Superpan is an infrared film. Many of these films work very well with red or ND filters (Neutral Density). Luckily enough, I did shoot the film with the red filter over a year ago, of street photography on London’s vibrant East End area in Brick Lane.

Rollei Superpan produces nice smoothness and deep tones, especially when used in very good light and surroundings. Shooting around the Old Town and beach in Nice was an advantage, as mentioned earlier I had used an orange filter. The results did come out good after processing, scanning and even when producing a few darkroom prints.

At one point, Rollei Superpan wasn’t available anywhere for a while, in 35mm and 120. I had two 35mm rolls left, clinging onto them for a ‘special occasion’, which I would eventually use in Spain on the same Canon SLR camera with an orange filter.

When Superpan was in stock again, I grabbed the chance to buy five 35mm rolls from Analogue Wonderland last year. I have plans on developing the Rollei rolls myself at home, whenever I have the chance to – plus buying the processing equipment and kit.

I highly recommend buying Superpan, as I consider it being one of the best black and white films from the Rollei brand. It’s not too pricey nor expensive, also it would be worth buying the film in 120 format.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Retro Feeling in La Spezia – Canon EOS 500n with Rollei Retro 400s (Yellow Filter)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a Rollei Retro 400s on my Canon EOS 500n with a Yellow Filter.

To end the month, it’s another travel throwback post from April 2018. Last week, it was Cinque Terre, this week it’s La Spezia in Northern Italy.

I had been travelling through Nice in Southern France, heading towards Northern Italy before flying back home to London. I had been away for almost a week by the time I went to La Spezia.

The only main station in La Spezia, with most trains coming from and going to Genoa

I packed so much film with me for my travels, many various brands in both colour and black and white – ranging from Ilford, Kodak, Rollei to Lomography, even the famous Poundland Film, aka Agfaphoto Vista 200.

My time in La Spezia was short as I spent most of my time in Cinque Terre, so I didn’t really explore around the city that much. A missed opportunity not to have gone to the port or to go to any places of interest, such as museums or landmarks.

I did have the opportunity to photograph around the local streets in both colour and black and white; Kodak Colorplus and Rollei Retro 400s, respectively.

On my first afternoon in La Spezia, after spending hours of travelling and crossing the border, I decided to load my Canon SLR with a roll of Rollei Retro 400s film and explore the town centre for a while. I was interested in my temporary surroundings, which was close to where I was staying.

It was my second time shooting with Retro 400s, the first was in Monaco a few days earlier with the Jessops brand Orange Filter. For my Italian stay, I would use the Yellow Filter, from the Jessops brand. It was also my first time using colour filters for my photography. I was recommended to try them out, so I decided to put them to the test.

The results? What did I think of the film?

Sadly, a little bit of a hit and miss. I have to admit, Retro 400s was slightly underwhelming and flat, although the dark tones are brilliant as well as the grain’s smoothness. The film didn’t bring much to the table.

In my head, I would often consider Retro 400s as a cheaper alternative to Kodak Tri-x. As much as I love Tri-x, it is certainly not a film I would use for shooting the streets of La Spezia. Punchy – yes, plus great for darkroom printing. Possibly a similar film with a bounce in the same 400 ISO.

I feel like Ilford HP5 would have been more suited, or even the Rollei Superpan 200. Ilford HP5 worked fairly well in Cinque Terre, which I was overall impressed with after both scanning and producing some darkroom glossy prints. Would it do the same justice for La Spezia street shots? I could see some potential there.

Testing out unfamiliar film is a great way to identify what one is suited for you and your photographic preferences. For me, having tried and tested many rolls over the years, I often choose ones that I’m comfortable shooting with. On the odd occasion, I would take along a roll or two of unfamiliar film to try out. The only way I will find out whether I prefer the said film is after the development process.

Unfortunately, Rollei Retro 400s didn’t roll with me this time round. I haven’t shot or purchased another one since, despite having a single undeveloped Retro roll in the drawer. Highly unlikely it will be processed or ever see the light of day…

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: A Stockwell Stroll – Canon EOS 500n with Rollei Retro 80s (Yellow Filter)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Rollei Retro 80s on a Canon EOS 500n with a yellow filter.

Back in October, I did some street photography around Stockwell in South London. Prior to the second lockdown, when there were different level tiers in certain areas and regions around the UK.

I only stayed within the area and worked my way up to Brixton via Stockwell Road by foot. Sometimes I would go home from Stockwell Station rather than Brixton, as the train station is less busy and quieter. Plus, it’s good exercise for me; less than a mile straight both ends, only a twenty or so minute walk. It’s nice to pass by the various spots, such as the Portuguese cafes or small South American shops.

I wanted to photograph around Stockwell for a while. I had an idea on what film I wanted to use as well as the camera, but it was finding the time. I had been working non-stop for months, throughout the pandemic and throughout the lockdown. Not to mention, rarely leaving my local area. When I did have days off, I would sometimes catch up with some rest or go through some photographic work such as negative scanning.

Thankfully, I eventually got the chance to do some Stockwell street snaps, as I had to go to Photofusion to drop off some film – including the Rollei roll used on that day. It was a bit cloudy with a slight overcast, but I didn’t mind as long as it didn’t rain.

I have been shooting Rollei Retro 80s for a few years. It is probably one of my favourite films for shooting street photography, also it is well suited for nature shots, especially for plants and trees – all thanks to the low speed and very fine grain coverage. The blacks are very deep in tone, great for darkroom printing or negative scanning with or without further editing.

Last May, I selected the Retro 80s in both 35mm and 120 for Film Friday. In that post, I highlighted some examples with shooting both formats on various cameras over the years with various results in quality.

For the Stockwell shots I upped my camera gear a bit – shooting on my Canon EOS 500n, with a 28mm – 80mm lens (or as I like to call it ‘the default lens’) with a second hand Jessops brand yellow filter, bought from eBay.

It had been a while since using a yellow filter for my black and white photography. Recently, it has been red or orange filters on my wide angle and prime lens, mostly it was the former since I was satisfied with the results and contrasts.

The yellow filter is seen as the ‘classic first choice’, stated on the Ilford Photo website. Although I often regard the orange filter as being the ‘one-size-fits-all’ choice for black and white photography; for being versatile for any photographic genre or style.

This particular filter did have its benefits, as described from the Ilford Photo website – for making the blue sky darker, despite the October overcast. I did see a difference after scanning the negatives; the contrast, tones and shadows were darker in some places with some deep blacks.

I would normally use a low speed film, nothing lower than 80 or 100 ISO for sunny or bright days. This Rollei knew how to roll on slightly different conditions.

The fine detail, the sharpness and tones overall in one roll, made worth shooting again and again for years to come!! I might probably test it out for portrait photography or explore other photographic genres or styles.

I would highly recommend Rollei Retro 80s for both beginners, intermediate or the advanced film photographers.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Whitechapel Wanders – Rollei Retro 80s with Yashica 635

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Rollei Retro 80s on a Yashica 635.

Another day, another post-lockdown summer street photography stroll, this time down Whitechapel in London’s East End. The area is famous for notorious serial killer Jack The Ripper, the Blind Beggar Pub (where Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell); also Whitechapel is nearby to Brick Lane, well known for its many Asian and curry house restaurants, vintage shops, markets, street art, plus having a large British Bangladeshi community.

Traffic Lights high up in the sky

One nice July day, I went around Whitechapel with the Yashica 635 TLR in hand. I already had another camera with me, my trusty Canon EOS 500n. It was a bit of a heavy load, but was certainly worth it for my day out around the East End.

For the film of choice was Rollei Retro 80s. A low speed black and white film, ideal for capturing tones and shadows. Great for bright or sunny days, which I use mainly for street or nature photography.

It was the first time using the 120 format on the Yashica 635. I had set the aperture between f5.6 and f8, and the shutter between 1/125 and 1/250 – I was basing this on the day’s weather, since I don’t own a light meter and hoping for the best afterwards – also there was the viewfinder. I often used the same settings when using the TLR, with some results varying, some coming out a little over or underexposed. Fortunately, the outcome came out better than expected once processed and scanned with shots at the ‘right’ exposure.

A ray at the Royal London Hospital (old building)

Before scanning, I couldn’t help admire the negatives and I was confident that they would come out well after production. I knew that shooting Retro 80s on a summer’s day would be well suited, especially on the borrowed TLR, which I no longer have but enjoyed the experience of using it.

When it comes to overexposure, it can be quite forgiving when shooting black and white. Further tweaking or altering can be done either on Photoshop (or any similar editing software) or in the darkroom. The latter is ideal for me as I can test out different exposure times or settings, however I haven’t been able to go to the darkroom in almost a year due to Covid.

The three shots, which I consider ‘overexposed’ weren’t too bad, it could possibly be due to the settings on the camera. I did no editing on Photoshop, just the faint watermark of my name in the corner.

I would definitely use the Rollei Retro 80s in 120 again, most likely on the Holga 120 or Agfa Isolette, or any medium format camera I can get my hands on. At the moment, I have one roll left so I may need to stock up soon…

I’m satisfied with this film, providing the best results all thanks to its slow speed of 80, which is great for deep black tones and shadows – an icing on the cake!!

Take care and stay safe