I have been wanting to try this film for a while now, ever since it was announced. I loved the look, the tones, the grain, just everything about the film. Well, I finally bought a roll, loaded it up in my Mamiya 645 AFD with my 150mm f/3.5 AF (because I need to use this lens more often) and here are my thoughts on it.
I shot this film at box speed and developed in R09 (Rodinal) 1+25 for seven minutes according to the Massive Dev Chart app.
As silly as it sounds, I loved the packaging. It shows a photo that was taken with the film, it’s well-designed and it’s sturdy. I can’t tell you how annoying it is having film in my bag and the boxes are all beat up because they’re so flimsy. Other film manufacturers should take note.
Another silly thing I liked. The film has a great base. Not thin and won’t crease easily if accidentally bent. Very easy to load onto the reel. A+.
Potsdam has lovely tones. The mid-tones are where this film really shines. It definitely has a “poetic” look to it, as it’s been described. It was exactly what I was looking for regarding the look. I most loved the frames I intentionally underexposed by a stop or two.
Every film has its strength and weaknesses. This film’s weakness is the highlights. There were a couple of frames that I intentionally shot for this article, that didn’t work out. I trust the light meter built into my camera. It has always been spot on with metering on my film and my digital back.
You might be interested in...
The scenes weren’t enormously contrasty either. This film just doesn’t retain highlights well. Which contradicts the “wide dynamic latitude” that an unnamed, photographer mentions, unless you expose for the highlights.
The CURL. With FP4 PLUS and XP2 Super, I normally leave a stack of books on my sleeved negatives for a day or two to flatten them on for scanning and printing. I left a stack of books on Potsdam for a week, I was busy, and it did not flatten.
Several frames also had scratches on the emulsion done most likley during manufacturing. These are straight-line scratches that go the length of the short edge of the frame (645) and are near the middle. I have never experienced this on any film from ILFORD, Kodak or Rollei that I’ve shot, but I have had this happen with Bergger Pancro. I’m always very careful when handling my film, and when I do experience a scratch in the emulsion that I caused, it is the tiniest little black spot.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed the film. It’s not something I’m going to be using for my projects, and it’s probably not something I’ll shoot often unless it’s for something specific. There is cheaper and better film out there for what I’m wanting. But this film does have a nice look to it.
Submit your 5 Frames... today
Get your own 5 Frames featured by submitting your article using this form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.
Share your knowledge, story or project
The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.
On ebay there is a shop offering “berlin 100” and “potsdam 400” film. In fact, when you look at the canister, there is “400 ISO” on the berlin film.
Although, in the Lomography shop, I can only find “berlin 400” and “potsdam 100”.
Are you shure you don’t have 400 iso film, exposed like 100? – That would give an explanation for bad highlight handling.
Rainer, good suggestion. Though what I shot was indeed Potsdam 100. I still have the box and the sticker from the roll, and both say 100 on them.