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June 7, 2014 / Aware of the Void

Rollei Retro 80s – First Impressions


If you have stumbled into my blog looking for really cool retro 80’s stuff like your favourite TV shows The A Team and Macgyver or a replacement Swatch guard or because you have not heard No Sleep Til Brooklyn in a long time I am afraid that you have been mislead by a missing apostrophe. This is really a blog post about my first time trying out the Rollei Retro 80S film produced by the Agfa corporation.

I was due to spend a few days on the west coast of Ireland touring around the wilds of Connemara and decided that it was time to finally try out this film. I had bought a bulk roll of it over a year ago and never really knew what to do with it. I had no low or medium speed film in the house and wanted to try of do some long exposure landscape stuff on my trip. The film is box speed of 80 ISO so in my mind it seemed like a good alternative to Acros or Foma 100.

A little bit of searching on the web suggested some of the effects that you can achieve using filters with this film. It is a super-pancromatic film with sensitivity into the IR spectrum which means if you use the correct filter it is possible to take Infra-Red photos. I had planned to bring a couple of filters as the weather here is pretty unpredictable and my plan was to shoot what I found regardless of the conditions. I thought the use of filters would add contrast on flat days and the they might even help deal with the haze of an Irish summer if the sun did shine.

Anytime I set up my camera I pretty much took the same scene a few ways, with no filter, with a ND filter, with my Heliopan RG715(88A) IR filter and with a Hoya G (16) orange filter and bracketed around the metered exposure. The results are interesting even if the compositions are a little odd. I am posting more pictures than I should for the comparisons shots. I do this because there is nothing in the world more appealing than the rigorous application of science to an artistic endeavour to get the blood flowing.

In total I shot four rolls, rated them all at 80 ISO when shooting. I developed them all in the same Paterson tank in one go to ensure that I had my chemistry consistent for this batch. I used Agfa R09 Studio AKA Studional and mixed it 1+31. I developed for 7 minutes using my usual technique.

  • Pre-Soak for 5 mins
  • Pour in the developer and agitate for 1 min.
  • 10 seconds agitation every min for the next 6 mins
  • Water stop bath
  • Ilford Fixer – constant agitation for 1 min then five inversions every min for four minutes.
  • 10 changes of water for rinse
  • Kodak Photoflo for 30 seconds
  • I now also spray the negs with a very dilute photo mix when they are hanging and have found this reduces my dust issues.

The photo at the top was shot using my Nikon F100 the Heliopan RG715(88A) filter and has given a strong IR effect. I spot metered for the scene using the cameras own meter. Once I had the reading I added the filter then added 5 stops for this exposure – I bracketed around this shot, one over-exposure, and one under but I think this was as metered based on my notes from the day.

For any shots with the orange filter I just used the camera reading and tended not to bracket.


 F100/Hoya G(16) Orange Filter


 F100/No Filter


F100/ ND Filter


F100 /Heliopan RG715(88A)


F100/No Filter


FM2 /Heliopan RG715(88A)


FM2/Hoya G(16) Orange Filter


FM2/No Filter

Kylemore Abbey

F100 /Heliopan RG715(88A)


F100/Hoya G(16) Orange Filter

And here is how it looks when used with cows and people.


FM2/No Filter


FM2/Hoya G(16) Orange Filter


Fm2/No Filter

So in conclusion, I really like this film. I think it is amazingly versatile and allowed me to pretty much shoot what i wanted without thinking too much about what film was in the camera. I was surprised by how strong the IR effect was using the correct filter even on a day that was mostly overcast. The results with the orange filter are pleasing and I think have creative potential in a more urban landscape where the Tri-Pod and note taking are less of an option.  My results here seem to have been more consistent than my efforts with Efke820, Rollei 400s IR film and Ilford SFX. The fine grain makes it appealing for portrait photography and I think I would happily buy more of this film. It has strong blacks and a rich tonal range. I still have a fair bit in my bulk roll and some that I have pre-spooled from the Galway trip so I have the option to do more with it soon.



Leave a Comment
  1. Moni / Jun 7 2014 1:59 pm

    That was very thorough. Great shots! I especially love the portraits and the castle ones.

    • Aware of the Void / Jun 7 2014 4:54 pm

      Yeah I took more portraits but it’s matey stuff. It’s a really interesting film. The castle is Kylemore Abbey and until a few years ago it was a convert/girls boarding school. Beautiful location and now a pretty major tourist attraction. But it is easy to drive for 5 minutes and find yourself lost in some really beautiful landscape.

      • Moni / Jun 7 2014 5:21 pm

        I’ll have to check it out! All kidding aside, I do appreciate how thorough you are. I have learned a hell of a lot via your blog posts over the years. 🙂

      • Aware of the Void / Jun 7 2014 5:30 pm

        Oh dear, some or all my ideas could be wrong you know 😛

      • Moni / Jun 7 2014 5:36 pm

        well, then I guess I am screwed. (haha)

  2. Phantazein Studio / Jun 12 2014 10:00 am

    Wow, gorgeous results!

  3. Allison W. / Jun 14 2014 11:32 am

    I really like that someone else besides me is developing prints! I am taking a class at Columbia in NYC and it’s the only ivy league that has a dark room still! What a shame. Anyway, these are beautiful.

    • Aware of the Void / Jun 14 2014 12:27 pm

      Really glad you like these, it’s a shame to see that traditional darkroom skills are being lost in the universities. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Allison W. / Jun 14 2014 12:52 pm

        sure! I look forward to seeing more prints. yes, my undergrad university in California didn’t have a dark room either. I don’t think they offered film photography. It is a shame because you can’t do the same amount of work without using film photography. I don’t think digital will ever rival film. It’s a certain integrity to the image when it’s on a gelatin silver print.

  4. Luddy's Lens / Jun 15 2014 5:11 pm

    That is a really beautiful film — especially dreamy without a filter. I’ve added it to my shopping list!

  5. grumpytykepix / Dec 30 2014 3:22 pm

    Thanks for the ‘like’ which brought me to your blog. Really interesting what you’ve done with the Rollei 80S. I haven’t tried it as I was rather put off by experience with the 400S. I’ll have to get some now. Thanks again.

    • Aware of the Void / Dec 31 2014 11:51 am

      I lime the rollei 400ir film but have never tried the 400s i tend towards trix for that sort of speed. Thanks for stopping by, i and lurked on your blog for a while but need to comment more over there! Happy new year.

  6. Grahame Hall / Mar 1 2015 7:10 pm

    Cool post, lovely shots.

  7. Adam / Aug 3 2015 2:42 pm

    Great images, and yes I found 1980’s results at first with this search while actually looking for the results of others with this film. I just shot a roll of this and really like this look of it, and am now amazed to see how versatile of a film this actually is! I see more of this in my future!

    • Aware of the Void / Aug 3 2015 5:29 pm

      It’s a fantastic film, I still have half a bulk roll to shoot!!

      • Adam / Aug 3 2015 7:48 pm

        Envious! It is really tough to find here in the US! I am also a big fan of Rollei RPX 25, but this may well become my slow speed film of choice! Thanks for the write up!


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