Rollei Retro 80S is not a new kid on the block anymore, it’s been around since mid-2000s and plenty has been written about its most prominent characteristics: extended red sensitivity, high resolution and contrast – all signs of its surveillance film DNA.
I was aware of this stock but it did not interest me until just about a month ago when I started preparing a large project that would require half the shots to be taken on a film in the EI 50-100 range. This coincided with my interest in pyro staining developers (PMK in particular) and I thought it would be a good match based on the following:
- It would provide ample resolution and contrast.
- It has a rather steep curve in the shadows (rapidly going from mid-gray to pure black) could be dealt with by rating the film as EI50.
- PMK, with its signature highlight preservation and smooth gradations, would keep the highlights from blowing out and give a smoother grain structure due to the staining effect.
These 5 frames are from my field test roll, shot during a walk at a seaside resort of Scheveningen (Netherlands) when the summer was finally gone for good and a sense of mid-season abandonment started to settle in. I used my Bronica ETRC with the Zenzanon 50/2.8 PE lens. I used an orange filter to add a bit of drama to the clouds. Since I’m into a hybrid workflow, it is important to me that these shots scanned well and were reasonably flexible in post-processing, dynamic range is really quite impressive.
I like how they turned out, with plenty of contrast but also sufficient detail in the shadows and separation in the highlights. Most importantly, Retro 80S/PMK combination captured the mood that I was after and that’s what really matters.
Thanks for reading!
Want to submit your own 5 Frames...?
Go right ahead, submissions are open! Get your 5 frames featured on by submitting your 350+ word article by either using this Google form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.
This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
Share your knowledge, story or project
At the heart of EMULSIVE is the concept of helping promote the transfer of knowledge across the film photography community. You can support this goal 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 personal passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and giving 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.