I discovered the existence of Orwo films during my short, full immersion trip in the changing Berlin of March 1990. Cheap as they were, I bought many BW rolls and used most of them (but some are still waiting in a drawer!). I forgot about Orwo for roughly 25 years, then I tried a reel of N74. In those days, I was not very fond of working with EIs, developers and so, and I had just a moderate satisfaction. Orwo recently relaunched their e-shop, so I decided to try something different: 30 m of UN54 and 30m of DN21. The latter will be the object of a future post; about the former, I heard that some Twitter friends have had good results.

First of all, I tried a strip of UN54 at EI 100, developing it with ID11 1+1 (what else?). The frames were nice, although a little flat. But, what about pushing it just a bit…?
In May I had to go in Scandicci near Florence, with one of our textile technology students who was to attend a national school contest (spoiler: he won!).

I decided to travel light: a Canon FTb and just two lenses, the small 35/3.5 FL that I rarely use, and the tourist’s workhorse, 70-210/4 FD. Oh, and three rolls of UN54 that I decided to expose at EI 160, as a no-rehearsal field test.

Of course, colleagues and students of the hosting school gave us a great reception, including a long excursion across a quite hot Florence. No problem to finish my rolls, even when you’re on Ponte Vecchio for the n-th time and you have clear ideas about your subjects, not to use the camera as a machine gun. In the end I loaded a FP4, EI 200, just to compare the results.

I also used filters, red on the wide angle and orange on the zoom. Developed the same way, just increasing the time and, wow, the results were better than I had hoped! Even with the filters, high lights are not washed out, shadows are not empty, there’s a good sharpness and not so much grain. Portraits are fine and smooth; street and architectural frames are really satisfying.

During the summer, I shot and processed some other rolls the same way, and I think that UN54 is one of my new favourite films. Of course, as a bulk rolls aficionado, the ROI of the operation is a further advantage.

~ Sergio

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

Avatar - Sergio Palazzi

Sergio Palazzi

Chemistry teacher, photographing mostly b&w and mostly on film since the '70s, sometimes affected by GAS, a great fan of Emulsive stuff!

, 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 have been to Florence twice in my lifetime (January 2006 and February 2017). I love seeing other people’s photographs of locations where I also have visited. It gives me a view into another photographer’s mind and way of looking at the world. I love your shots and the way you used your lenses to pick out subtle details in your frames. Nice work!

  2. Hi! Retired teacher here – Graphic Design & Photography. I love the shots you posted of Florence. My wife & I visited in 2015 as our retirement gift to ourselves. Your shots bring back pleasant memories of a wonderful city.