5 Frames… Of derelict Communist hotels on Rollei RPX 400 (EI 400 / 120 format / Rolleiflex 2.8GX) – by Ray Rapkerg

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

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Ray Rapkerghttp://www.rapkerg.com
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 faves: Rolleiflex 6008AF, Pentax 67II) and, sometimes, 35mm cameras.

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2 COMMENTS

  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).

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