Recently I went on vacation with the family to Croatia. It was not a photographic trip, so I took just one film camera, a Rolleiflex 2.8GX. I grabbed three rolls of 120 film from the fridge, one of which turned out to be Rollei RPX 400, a film I had never tried before.

In Croatia, I discovered something I did not expect to be photographing: five derelict communist hotels. These hotels were built on the beach by President Tito of communist Yugoslavia, as a resort for communist leaders and troops. As communism fell, the hotels were the scene of intense fighting. Their mortar-shelled concrete carcasses loom over the beach to this day. There is a lot of history in these ruins.

I exposed the Rollei RPX 400 film at EI 400. I was lucky I had an ISO 400 speed film, because it was quite dim inside the buildings. I developed the film in Fotospeed FD10 developer, which is my ‘go to’ general purpose developer. It is the same as ILFORD ILFOSOL 3 developer.

Rollei RPX 400 turned out to be a pleasant film, with medium contrast, medium grain, and nice tonality. It is described as quite a retro-looking film, and I would agree with that. It has the tonality of famous photographs from the 1950s to 1970s. I like that. I would say there is nothing exceptional or unusual about Rollei RPX 400, but it is a good normal film. I would certainly use it again.

I think in Europe it tends to be priced slightly lower than many better-known films, but in North America and Asia, I believe it tends to be priced a little higher. I’m not sure I would pay a premium for it, since there are other perfectly good, normal films – but I would happily use Rollei RPX 400 if I found it in my camera.

~ Ray

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.

About the author

Ray Rapkerg

I photograph people, including fashion photography, quirky portraits and art nudes. I feel photography is mainly about the images and the people in them, but secretly I am a bit of a gear-head as well! I like using a variety of medium format film cameras (current...

, and please make sure you also check out their website here.

Join the Conversation



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I love these images. The film/developer combination has produced a medium contrast result, but with a lovely tonal range very much suiting the subject matter. I particularly like #1 and #5 in which the quality of the light has been captured nicely.

    I understand your overall assessment as being somewhat reminiscent of images taken during the period of the ’50’s to 70’s. They remind me of HP3 and which I used in the 1960’s (along with Tr-X and Ilford FP3 of the same era).