January 11th, 2021. Saturday. 2:30pm. The Corner of Thurlow & Davie – Nicole: So as of late our camera testing has dwindled and has NOT included snacks, this is the reason for our blog’s re-naming. Firstly I blame the rain, secondly Covid-19. That being said both Meghan and myself still jumped at the chance to load up a few of our recent acquisitions and test out Rollei’s new limited edition 100 year anniversary film. Meghan chose her Nikon EM. Recently I received a Nikon FA and a Rollei SL35 E. I waffled hard on which to use…do I go with the same as Meghan and shoot the Rollei film in a Nikon? OR do I shoot the Rollei in a Rollei. In the end I chose the Rollei in a Rollei, and as usual this resulted in immediate regret. The Rollei SL35 E lured me in with its slick chrome finish. However, as I struggled to load it alarm bells went off in my mind and I thought perhaps I should switch back to team Nikon. Instead though I shoved the film leader around its loading spool by hand (which is perhaps what the designers intended all along), slammed the back door shut and hoped for the best (the spool re-winder did turn with every advance lever crank I made, which is good sign). The camera and I only had a brief time together, as we loitered on the corner of Thurlow ‘n’ Davie street and waited for Anthony to meet us for a walk. That corner is where I took most of my photos. The sky was grey, the lighting flat, there was zero in the way of inspiration…. I still managed to pop off 20 exposures. A few things I disliked and liked about the Rollei SL35E: The cameras shutter made a very loud clap every time I snapped a photo, people’s heads jerked my way and I got many questioning glances, which was not very inconspicuous. The split screen focus – the split is at an angle which is perfect for portraits and catching eye-ball focus. I did really like the feel of the shutter release button. Mostly though I like its exterior design, which reminds me of one of the small more uncommon edgy cars of the late 70’s.
January 14th 2021. Thursday. 10:32am. Beau Photo Supplies – Nicole: Mustafa was nice enough to develop my film for me (in Blazinal). This is where I would use emojis to express the level of my disappointment, alas this is a blog post not a text thread…. so first things first. Not all bad news – my roll was exposed perfectly! As for the film I would say that it is quite low contrast compared to the other Rollei film that we stock but with a fairly prominent grain. I shot this roll at 640, the rated box speed as noted on the canister. But that’s where anything positive ends. Once scanned I realized though it looked focused through the camera’s view finder, it was not focused at all. Had I shot more at infinity I might have noticed sooner that the split was off slightly. Needless to say this is more a random annoyance, not the fault of the film or all Rollei 35SL E’s, just the one I happen to get. A part of me isn’t surprised in the least, most times I try testing anything it manages to go wrong in new and exciting ways I couldn’t have foreseen. So this leaves Meghan and her Nikon EM to save the day.
**Fade to black**
January 9th 2021. Saturday. 12:00pm. Rocky Point Park. – Meghan: I hadn’t shot my Nikon EM yet so I thought with the arrival of this new Rollei film it was a good time to test both the camera and the film. Ok, maybe not always the best plan. Two unknowns. But I had it on pretty good authority both would work just fine. It was my birthday weekend and since no one can do anything currently in the way of any type of celebrations I thought a nice (social distant) jaunt at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody with my floofy companion and a couple friends would be a nice way to spend a couple of hours and a great opportunity to try this film. This film says it is rated at 640 but that it performs well any where between 320 – 1600. So I decided to try it out at 800 iso, as that seemed like a good in between and it has been so dark and dismal lately anyway! This film comes in a two pack to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Rollei and is named as such after the two founders of Rollei – Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke. Each roll has one of the founders names on it and in this case I got Paul, Nicole got Reinhold. Not alot was known about what the film was when we received it or shot it, but its packaging claims it to be of “fine grain & natural contrast. Excellent for available light, action and street photography.” As Nicole mentioned, so far we feel the fine grain may be debatable, but perhaps if you were to shoot it at a slower shutter speed it may be a much finer grain. Let’s see how my roll turns out…
As for the camera, I wrote a bit more about the Nikon EM over in this blog post for our monthly newsletter! You can check it out here along with a few more photos:
January 21st 2021. Thursday. 5:oopm. Rocket Repro. – Meghan: As always, thanks to our friends at Rocket Repro in Gastown for developing and scanning my film. Mitka just loves it when we bring in new, random film with zero information that he’s never seen before! AND shoot it at a different speed. Hehe. After seeing the scans it looks like the camera and lens combo work nicely together, though in a few mixed lighting situations its light meter definitely got tricked (as did I) and it exposed for the bright spot of sunlight rather than the shady field. The film has quite nice tones and I found my rolls developed by Rocket to be a bit less grainy than those below that were developed in Blazinal. Which is generally the case with Blazinal anyway. I would shoot this film again as a great versatile black and white film that seems to do well indeed at a variety of speeds.
Here are a few of our photos from all our experiments. Our friend Bruce also shot this film in his Rollei 35 Flash (Paul) shot at 400 and his Nikon FM2 (Reinhold) with a 18mm & 50mm shot at 640. He developed both in Blazinal at 1/100 and was kind enough to share his results with us. His shots seem to be the finest grain of all our test rolls so far. As well, Mustafa shot the P&R film in his Leica M4 at an unknown speed and developed it himself at home in Blazinal. When developing he said he took the recommended timing on the Rollei website as rated at 640 and added to it to account for any under exposure.
Here are a couple of Nicole’s photos, even though the focus did not work out, shot at 640 in the Rollei SL35 E:
Meghan’s photos shot at 800 in the Nikon EM:
Bruce’s photos shot at 400 in the Rollei 35:
Bruce’s photos shot at 640 in the Nikon FM2:
Mustafa’s photos shot at questionable speeds in the Leica M4: