Rollei R3 4x5
Is anyone on our thread using Rollei R3 film in 4x5? If so I would be interested in some comments and suggestions based on the experience that only trail and error can provide.
I recall that there was an initial burst of interest and curiosity in the film. Such interest appears to have passed, and I have heard and read little about the film and its' perceived advantages and disadvantages.
I got some as part of a little test-package from Rollei when they asked some of us to try the IR prototype.
R3 has a very nice base.
Unfortunately, that is all I care for, of the film's characteristics.
Rollei R3 with red filter:
Both are 4x5, developed in acu-1.
If you have applications that can exploit the clear, thick base and/or the wide ISO tunability in different developers, it may be worth considering. Otherwise, I consider it to be a characterless film unless perhaps it is red filtered.
P.S. Perhaps it would be more interesting if developed for positives.
I've been using it off and on for the past year. Have had some results I'm pleased with, and lots I'm not. I have only recently returned to 4x5 after decades away - so many of my problems can be blamed on user error. I don't know how to insert links to my photos in the gallery, but the majority of my 4x5 images there are Rollei R3. Most of them are on the second page of my gallery - with my favorites being the series of Fort Rodd images, "Project", and "Path to Upper Falls".
I've shot it from 25 to 800 ISO - but mostly at 100.
My biggest bloopers have been when I've used the Rollei Low Speed developer - the developing times are very long, and with my darkroom in an outbuilding - maintaining consistent temperature through the long developing times has been difficult. That said - when I manage to keep the temperature consistent I quite like the results I've acheived.
I will be continuing to use it - recently bought a hundred sheets.
A lot of beautiful results there, Sly! Maybe I will try the RLS with a temperature-controlled bath.
Thanks to all who responded....however, do you thing that R3 produced results that are different/better then you might have achieved with one of the more "conventional" films such as Tmax or Ilford Fp4/Hp5? If not then there might not be enough advantages attributed to the use of R3. Simply curious...
I do like the fact that I can assign an ISO from 25 to 800 or more. I can load up a bunch of film holders (say all 17) and go on a camping trip and be ready for anything. I can shoot at 25 for cotton candy water, and the next sheet can be at 800 to stop every droplet. I just have to be sure to keep careful notes. Actually, now I keep much better notes than I used to.
I'm not experienced enough to be able to compare and contrast with other films. I have to admit that one of the reasons I buy it is because the Toronto supplier (no consistent local supplier of LF) I get it from always responds promptly to emails and has been very helpful. Plus - his street address is on Silver Shadow Path. How cool is that?
I do find that shooting at lower speeds I get terrific shadow detail, as well as highlights. Even the very thin negatives that resulted from cooling developer have detail right through the shadows. If that doesn't show in the gallery photos you can blame it on my printing, or my scanner if you're feeling kinder.
I've just posted "Thimbleberries" a print from yesterday's session in the darkroom. It was shot on R3 at 800 and developed in Rollei High Speed developer. The deep shadows do lack the detail I would have gotten if I'd shot at 25 or 100 and developed in low speed developer. Take a look.
The only way to tell if you like R3 is to give it a try.
Thanks for the great information Sly. Actually I just developed a sheet I took to compare the negative with both the new and the old Tmax 400. I have not printed the negatives, but on the light table the R3 ( rated at 200 and developed in Low Speed Developer, Jobo Expert Tank, 75degrees, 25 minutes , 5 minute pre soak ) seems to block up the highlights just a bit ( as compared to the TMax ), with comparable details in the shadows. The R3 negative is certainly denser in the highlights ( I metered in Zone 4 to preserve the shadow detail....there wasn't very much deeper shadow in the scene which had a very high subject brightness range ), and as a result is more contrasty and has more "pop" then the TMax negatives ( which are very close by the way ). Perhaps at that SBR one might consider developing for 23 minutes or so....I'll take some more over the next week and see what turns up.
When the film was announced I was curious because of the unbelievable promise that you can use it from 25 to 6400 ASA.
In the beginning, it was treated as an insider tip... "did you hear about...I have got some prototype rolls.... don't pass the secret...Shush!"
After some weeks I bought some rolls, bought the developers and found both very expensive.
I exposed 5 rolls, developed them exactly as described in the recommended magic potion. As a long-time Tmax user I am a stickler for detail when it comes to developing a film according to its specifications. Many years ago, I was an Ansel Adams devotee, used the zone system for a long time. I think I know how to read instructions and process a film exactly as recommended.
And then I compared the results with Tmax at 100 ASA and Tri-X (both processed in cheap Xtol 1:1).
What can I say? The promises that Maco/Rollei gave were unbelievable, and when I saw the results I actually stopped believing one word.
A Tmax 100, much cheaper than this Wonder Wart-Hog, beat the beloved all-round man at 100 ASA with ease. Good ol' Tri-X was sharper, had less grain, nicer tones, at 800 ASA.
It's like in all other types of business: never promise things that you can not keep.
But one thing astonishes me, even retrospective: how could the manufacturer's marketing achieve that a substandard product could cause such a stir? Do we all believe what we want to believe? For me, I hope it was the last time I payed dearly for overpraised (and overpriced) products.
Great advice....I too am very careful with developing my film having done meticulous film testing via the BTZS methodology. That's why I was so interested in seeing the results with R3-more intuitive perhaps, and the wide exposure latitude promised. Several blogs ( just google Rollei R3 to note one or two ) really pumped the film hard claiming amazing shadow detail, better accutance, etc. I don't have the considerable experience that you have had with R3 vs. Tmax processed in more "mundane" developers, and it's good to know of your observations. I'll shoot a few more negatives ( I have about 15 sheets left ), and try to form some opinion. It would certainly be much more convenient to stay with our tried and true, less expensive, and more easily available old standbyes.
Another tremendous area of debate involves the advantages of Pyro developing which has, as most of us know, attained the status of the holy grail in the mind(s) of so many well known and talented photographers. However, Pyro vs. non-Pyro negatives and the advantages of one over the other is grist for another mill!