35mm Rollei Retro 400S Film

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35mm Rollei Retro 400S Film

Matthew Osborne Photography

I recently bought my first roll of 35mm Rollei Retro 400 S film to try.  RR 400S is a modern black and white film from Agfa Gevaert, Belgium and is said to be fine grain and have good exposure lattitude.  From reviewing example images taken by others on Flickr my only expectation was high contrast portraits with blown highlight detail on face.  As such I planned to develop my film to reduce the contrast and retain highlight detail where possible in normal lighting.  I shot the roll of RR 400S in my 1950s Leica M3 and used a Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 Collapsible lens for the first part of the roll and the Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 for the rest of it shot at f1.  I metered and developed the film at box speed in 1:100 Rodinal, semi stand developed for 45 minute at 21 degrees.  Negatives were scanned with my new Epson v800 scanner at 2400dpi using an Epson v600 35mm film insert (placed on the glass).  Please see the results below.

Leica Elmar 50/2.8 + M3

Canada Water Graffiti

Canada Water, London

Leica M3 Film Fashion

Rollei Retro 400S

35mm Rollei Retro 400 + Rodinal

iPhone Light Portrait

35mm Rollei Retro 400 film

Rollei Retro 400S Portrait

I was really pleased with the look of the Rollei Retro 400 S negative scans and might even prefer it to Kodak Tri-X 400.  I need to shoot more Rollei 400 to be sure but it looks very promising.  I also need to try developing 35mm Tri-X with the same 1:100 dilution rather than the usual Rodinal 1:150.  I have also bought a roll of 35mm Rollei Retro 80S to try next. 🙂


Author: matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.

5 thoughts on “35mm Rollei Retro 400S Film”

  1. Matthew, I just compared your pictures with RR80s and RR400s. There are worlds in between. I would go for the RR400s in order to keep the highlights. As you mentioned the RR80s has no sensitivity to blue light so models turn into aliens very likely. For it’s infrared sensitivity I also will give the RR400s a go.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. Yes I prefer non-alien looking models where I can! 🙂 I’ve not used these films for a while but have fun. I have just been shooting with Kodak Plus-X so interested to see and share the results once developed. Matt

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