August 22, 2010

Rollei Retro 80s - Caffenol-C-L


news from the coffee game. A friend gave me 2 rolls of Rollei Retro 80s as 35mm film to test it with my ugly tasting coffee brew. Thanks a lot , Nils! The RR 80s is known as a slow speed, extremely fine grained and somehow delicate to develop film. It also has an extended colour range up to mild infrared sensitivity. I never did IR-shots before and probably won't, so I decided to to see how it works under daily use conditions. No filter was used for the shots!

Exposed from EI 80 to 320, and developed in C-C-L stand development for 60 minutes at 21 °C. Sidestep: I get a lot of inquiries like "film X was bad in C-C-L at 60 minutes developing time". Pleeeeease, these questions are completely useless without specifying the temperature and agitation regime! Allright? OK, back to the theme. The RR 80s came out quite contrasty - means overdeveloped - and not too much shadow detail and very dense highlights. Fog free and perfectly even developed. EI 320 is unusable, 160 works better if the shadows are brightened during post processing, EI 80 is quite nice but for my taste still a bit too much for darkroom prints. Scanning is OK. I guess that best results will be achieved with EI 40 - 64 for wet prints with reduced development time, maybe 40 - 50 minutes at 20 °C stand development. 

The tonal characteristics are very special. Blue is rendered darker, clouds and blue sky are seperated nicely without filtering. The look is like using a light orange filter. Sharpness is extraordinary as is the almost unvisible grain. The 5x5 mm crop from the negative at 2400 DPI clearly shows the limitations of my scanner. Having no experiance with real slow films of 25 ASA or so, these are the finest grained and sharpest images I ever took, even at EI 160 for the RR 80s! If someone wants to support me, donate a Nikon Coolscan *lol*

The Rollei Retro 80s must be exposed and developed carefully. If so, you are rewarded with the finest grain and sharpness you maybe ever saw with 50 - 100 ASA speed films.It works great in Caffenol-C-L when regarding the notes above. Dont't push too much or even pull, develop at less time as shown here.

Best regards - Reinhold


FiatluX said...

Wow, no filter!?!
That´s a pretty interesting tonality scale/rendering..
It has the transparent filmbase doesn´t it?

imagesfrugales said...

Yes, no filter, clear thin polyester film base, should be handled in dim light when loading/unloading the camera. And it's a real "rollfilm", curles pretty much, but I don't care.

christian said...

really cool! i'm waiting for my KBr to start with some coffeeexperiments :D

cooler blog ! danke... ich werde ihn weiter beobachten !

Alex said...


just a question
I tried your method for a Retro 80S and I got nothing on the film, neither the brand of the film was readable. My film was completely transparent (stand development).
I tried a second time without the bromide of potassium and I got really better results (classic agitation method).

So my question is : may the KBr reponsible of this transparency? For info I put 1.5 g/L of KBr


imagesfrugales said...

Hi Alex,

dies C-C-L work for you with other films as desired? F.e. with an "easy" film like Tmax100?

If yes, the answer is difficult. The Aviphot Pan XX aerial films are very complicated as the desastrous Superpan200/Universal200 experiance shows. I still habe no explanation for this failure - so: no clue. So my only recommendation is to check your Caffenol mix with "regular" bw-film first :-(

1 g/l KBr should be OK, but 1.5 g/l should not spoil the party comopletely.

Best - Reinhold

Alex said...


thanks for your answer

the retro 80S was my first try and i did like it is said in the article (50 min in stand development), after i did a test with an APX 100 without KBr and it was OK.
I will try with a "normal" film to check the effect of bromide. I ll let you know.


imagesfrugales said...

Yep, APX 100 is easy and the aerial films are divas.