Rollei Blackbird Film

This is a mini test of  Rollei Blackbird film following a short post on this film back in October which seemed to get some interest.

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Rollei Blackbird is a really unusual film and produces unique results. However if it’s underexposed it will be a disaster – there will be no shadow detail at all, so it’s always best to expose for the shadows and let the highlights sort themselves out.  What makes it special is it’s treatment of shadows – if correctly exposed and developed it cuts to a deep black at just the right point in the midtones giving a dark, moody image.

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A side effect of exposing for the shadows is that the highlights often wash out. Not that good if it’s sky, but for other subjects the results can be interesting.

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It’s a very fine grained, sharp film and can be rated at 25 or 100 ISO. Its even more contrasty at 25 ISO so 100 ISO is the most flexible rating. The development times are 10 minutes for 100 ISO or 6 minutes for 25 ISO in D76/ID11 stock at 20 degrees C with no prewash. It makes and a fine mess of the stock developer but I’ve reused the same stuff 5 or 6 times without any problems. If you need to tame the contrast a little, cut the development time by 10% and only agitate the tank every 1.5 minutes.

I’ve used in 35mm format, and the Big Dev Chart lists D76/ID11 and Rollei RHS High Speed development times only, so no Rodinal unfortunately – unless you’re feeling experimental! It should be loaded in subdued light which hasn’t been a problem even on bright days.

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This beach at Plement Bay in Jersey has some deep shadows cast by the surrounding cliffs and rocks – good for contrasting with the sunlight on the sand and water, all enhanced by Blackbird.

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Can’t have a post without some peeling paint!

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Finally a repost of this shot from the first post back in October – it’s worth re-showing as for me it’s the definitive ‘Rollei Blackbird’ shot.

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All pics shot on an Olympus OM1N or OM2N with 28mm, 50mm or 85mm lens scanned on a Plustek 7500.

So definitely a film worth trying – or even getting hooked on as I have! In the UK it’s about £4.50 per roll if bought as a twin pack so around the same price as PAN F or Tri X.

Thanks for looking and hope you like them.

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