Is Rollei IR 400 and Retro 400s the same film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Simonh82, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    I've been using Rollei IR 400 film in 35mm and 120 for a year or two now and have had some pleasing results. I generally rate it at 12-25iso with a Hoya R72 filter on and get a very pronounced IR effect. It is however expensive film at £7 a roll for 35mm and £6 for 120. I know that people have successfully used Rollei Retro 400s for IR work and there are plenty of examples on Flickr with good IR effect when shot at 12-25iso. The retro 400s is marketed as having extended red sensitivity but isn't sold as IR film.

    When you look at the data sheets for the IR400 http://www.maco-photo.de/files/images/TA_Rollei_Infrared400_eng.pdf and
    Retro 400s http://www.maco-photo.de/files/images/Retro400S_Infrared_aviphot_pan400S_2006_01_09_en.pdf. The shape of the spectral sensitivity graphs is identical and importantly the portion above the 720nm cut of of an IR filter is the same. They are both films made by Agfa and repackaged by Rollei. Is this just a case of clever marketing. Selling exactly the same film at a significant mark up to a niche market?

    If it is, then on the one hand that sucks, although I guess that's capitalism for you. On the other hand, this film is available from First-Call as their own brand film http://www.firstcall-photographic.co.uk/products/4916/firstcall-400s-135-36-iso-400 for £2.49 a roll in 35mm. Shame it isn't available in 120 from them.

    So what do people think, is it the same film?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In general you could neither trust Maco data sheets nor their statements in the past. Both were contradictory.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I cannot speak for other countries' laws but if the OP is right then I think that there may be an infringement of the Trades Descriptions Act if it uses the same specifications for what may or may not be different products.

    At the very least it is difficult to see how this can just be a careless mistake. This cannot do anything but damage Rollei's reputation. If it cannot be trusted to give the right specifications then it raises the question of what it can be trusted with.

    The OP having done some research has asked a good question. I hope he gets to the truth of this subject

    pentaxuser
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    There are hints that under the same label Rollei Retro 400S different films had been sold. In that case single observations on its characteristics may not be very helpful.
     
  5. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    I don't think this would infringe the Trades Descriptions Act. As long as the actual description is accurate I don't think there is anything to say you can't sell the same thing under two different labels. For instance, lots of supermarket brand baked beans are made Heinz. It is down to us, the consumers, to be savvy in our shopping habits.

    I know Rollei aren't the greatest company when it comes to being up front about their products, however they do continue to support film use so I'm happy to buy their products. Their film is never going to be the bulk of what I shoot but if I can get IR film for £2.49 a roll I will snap it up.
     
  6. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Fine by me if you believe that Rollei is OK to sell effectively the same product at different prices using "clever marketing" which amounts to using a different name. If I had the choice of buying two double glazing products from company X and one was given a name which strongly suggested it was designed for a specific circumstance and was more expensive than the other but I later discovered that the cheaper double glazing did exactly the same job at a cheaper price then it wouldn't be fine for me.

    I don't suppose that Rollei support film out of a sense of nostalgia or philanthropy but do so to make money. This is OK by me but I do want any company I deal with to be honest about its products.

    I take my electricity from Npower but if it sold "more efficient and powerful electricity" at a higher price I'd be upset if the "more efficient" electricity still only powered a 1 kilowatt fire for an hour the same as the "cheaper standard electricity"

    I'd hope the electricity regulatory body would be a little upset as well :D


    pentaxuser
     
  8. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    I never bought IR 400, but I know that the current version of 400s is Agfa Aviphot pan 200, an aerial film: http://www.agfa.com/docs/sp/aerial/aviphot_pan200_2004-06-15_en.pdf .
    It is sold by Maco under the names Superpan 200 and Universal 200 too. Please keep in mind, that it has only 100 ASA in most developers.

    Former versions of 400s was made from other (technical) material.

    Aviphot pan works well with a 720 nm IR filter. With the same filter you can use Aviphot Pan 80, a nearly grain free film: http://www.agfa.com/docs/sp/aerial/aviphot_pan80_2004-06-15_en.pdf .

    In comparision to Avi 200 it tends to block highlights which requires some arrangments during development. Avi 200 is well tempered and needs not a special development. It's grain is quite smooth for a 100 ASA film.
     
  9. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    I've done a bit more digging and comparison of data sheets. On the Maco website, which I completely concede may not be accurate, the Rollei IR film looks a lot closer to the Rollei Retro 400s film. As mentioned previously the spectral sensitivity graphs look the same for both. For Rollei Superpan 200 the graph looks quite different although it still has IR sensitivity http://www.maco-photo.de/files/images/Superpan200_aviphot_pan200_2004-06-15_en.pdf.

    One give away is in the URL of the IR 400 datasheet includes retro 400s and Infrared alongside Aviphot pan400s which is the Agfa name for this film. maco-photo.de/files/images/Retro400S_Infrared_aviphot_pan400S_2006_01_09_en.pdf. I'm guessing that at least at some point in the past Retro 400 and IR 400 were the same film. If they are different now that will require some testing.

    This is interesting, I've hear that the Retro 400s is actually aviphot Pan200 although I don't know why they wouldn't use Aviphot Pan400. I didn't realise that people consider that it is a 100 speed film in reality. Certainly the datasheets online would suggest that this isn't the case. I've used the IR 400 at 400 without a filter and developed in HC-110 for the recommended 8.5 minutes and whilst there was reasonable shadow detail, the mid tones were darker than I would have imagined. I've not printed any of the non-IR images yet but have scanned a few. I guess the test will come when I get in the darkroom.
     
  10. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Over the past year or so I've read so many different things about Rollei Retro products, so many claims that one film is "really" another film, that Maco data sheets can't be trusted, that the quoted speeds are way off and so on and so forth.

    The trouble is that no-one who ever claims that one film is "really" another film ever seems to back it up with any evidence that is more (or less) credible than Rollei's (or Maco's) statrments & claims.

    In the end therefore it all just seems a lot more "internet bollocks", unless someone has some evidential support beyond their own beliefs for all these wildly conflicting claims.

    In the absence of anything sold to go on, the best thing to do is shoot it and work out how best to develop at what EI yourself.
     
  11. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    I would agree that, as always, testing it yourself is the only way to really tell. Although exact testing with two different films in the same conditions isn't very easy for me. Most of my photo excursions include an accompanying 4 year old boy who has limited patience for his dad setting up tripods and messing around with IR filters on one camera, let alone two. I just wanted to point out that Rollei's own published data sheets for these films suggest they are the same.

    I will certainly be doing some testing with Retro 400s to see if it performs as well as IR400 in the infrared end which is what I want to use it for.

    Apart from IR, I'm about to standardise on all Ilford products as far as film goes. With a student discount at Silverprint and bulk rolling my own film I can get HP5+ and FP4+ for just over £3 a roll 35mm and under £4 for 120. That will do for me.
     
  12. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    > Infrared alongside Aviphot pan400s

    This brings in mind what I knew at a time: Aviphot pan 400 is discontinued by Agfa. The older versions of 400s contained this film. To remain the name Aviphot pan was / is sold using the same name.
     
  13. Klaus_H

    Klaus_H Member

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    Last summer I did test fresh IR 400S. R400S and SP200s in 120 format without filter and with RG715 Filter. 3 rolls of each film had ben exposed by a Bronica SQA with 3 magazins. Every time the same camera position, the same lens ,the same exposure time the same f stop for all 3 films. I developed the films in a Paterson tank with 3 reels. Every reel contained a different film with the same exposures.

    After inspection of the negatives of 3 times 3 films I can say: IR 400S. R400S and SP200s produced the same results. I could not find a difference. The films provided about 100 ASA without filter.

    Some years ago the films (120 format) had been different. In this time IR400S produced the best results.

    Today there is only a remarkable difference in the quality of the packing. The IR400S is packed high quality like Ilford films. The packing of R400S and SP200S can not match this quality.
     
  14. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In the region beyond 750nm the Aviphot Pan 200 and Aviphot 400 S are not that far off and depending on situation might yield similar densities.

    The latter though should be a true ISO 400 film without filter.
     
  15. Brownman

    Brownman Member

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    Interesting thread. I think i may have to try retro400s. My film of choice has been another from rollei; the RPX400. Last year, i ordered 20 rolls from my supplier here in France and some them arrived with R400s stickers either on the film itself or on the black canister. I reported it to the seller and he assured me after a some time that it is indeed RPX400. I dont have any of the other films to compare it with but that batch pretty much behaved the same as my previous experiences with RPX. Maybe thats also the reason why they changed the packaging for this film? No more confusions in the packing line? Hope i didnt add another film in the suspect lineup.

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