My usual goto B&W film stock is ILFORD HP5 PLUS, which I shoot at box speed up to EI 3200 quite regularly. I love to try out other B&W films and compare them to HP5 PLUS so when Lomography announced Berlin Kino 400 I immediately bought some with the intention of shooting each at different speeds.

This first roll was shot at the film’s box speed of EI 400 and developed in Rodinal 1+50 dilution for 13.30 mins. Berlin Kino 400 is a German cine film stock and according to Lomography, it can be pushed up to 3200 and still retain sharpness and dynamic range.

I loaded up my trusty Nikon F4s with the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor AF-D and went to a local 1940’s wartime event here in Bridgend town centre with Army/Airforce personnel and paraphernalia, which seemed to be appropriate for this film stock.

Once developed I was very happy with how the negatives looked and they scanned very well, the film was pretty flat after drying. It had quite a pronounced chunky grain structure which to my eye seem less uniform compared to HP5 but as I like grain it did not distract from the images it gave it a quite distinct look which when comparing a HP5 scan it looks far more gritty.

Whenever I process in Rodinal I always get sharper-looking scans than when I use my usual goto B&W developer, ILFOTEC HC and this Berlin Kino stock is pretty sharp, It is lovely and contrasty with nice deep blacks but also held the highlights well but even though it has a gritty look it had a lovely wide tonal range.

Overall I will happily use this film again it may not be a film that I would take portraits with unless in a specific sort of setting maybe like the street where the gritty look really brings something to the overall look and feel.

It gave a timeless look to these images that really suited the subject matter and I was glad that I used it in this setting. Berlin Kino 400 won’t replace my HP5 PLUS, which is probably slightly more versatile but I really do recommend that you give it a go.

~ Tim

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About the author

Tim Dobbs

I'm Tim and a Printer by trade but have had a lifelong love of photography. I have been taking photographs for over 30 years and fun, informal portraits are my passion. I have a varied portfolio and I am open to any commissions and willing to travel. You can...

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  1. I bought some a Berlin kino to take and shoot in Berlin on an Olympus trip, yes it was a complete affectation but was great fun…the photos were good too

  2. Hi Tim – an excellent report. The film being repackaged by Lomography in this case is actually Orwo N74 or N75 (the 74 has been replaced by Orwo recently). Orwo is the East German successor to the great Agfa plant at Wolfen – hence ORiginal WOlfen which they had to use for trademark reasons). I have used both this and the 100 asa un54 (sold as Potsdam Kino by Lomography), and it is lovely film, excellent flatness and a gorgeous look. I agree with you on the grain at 400 with Rodinal (that other great Agfa invention) so shoot it mostly at 250 with PMK Pyro 1+2+100, which gives lovely sharpness and highlight detail without obvious grain. At the price I pay for self-loading it knocks the like competitors out of the park. At Lomography price I would pass – like you I find HP5+ to be such a versatile and brilliant film from 125 to 3200 that it’s hard to beat. Nice to see such a classic Agfa film in its modern incarnation get some love – soon I’ll be shooting some un54 which formula dates back to the 30s! Cheers Charles