RPX 100

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Links and Data:
  1. Cubical classical type medium speed B&W film

  2. Panchromatic sensitised: 380-660nm

  3. Fine grain for film type

  4. Good sharpness

  5. Wide exposure latitude

  6. Wide tonal range and good contrast

  7. Triacetate film base

Characteristics:
  1. Development Data by www.digitaltruth.com

  1. Sample Images: Flickr Set

  1. Manufacturer’s Datasheet

The Rollei RPX 100 was a film I had looked forward to with great anticipation, assuming it would be a film that could rekindle the look and feel of the now dying supply of APX100. Unfortunately, once it hit the market, it soon turned out that this film isn’t a replacement for the APX100, in the sense that it isn’t the same. The RPX line are a result of the cooperation between Maco, Harman and Efke. In this sense, the RPX films have a greater similarity to the Kentmere films, if not identical. Although this may sound a little disappointing, the RPX100 is a great film, capable of producing excellent results. It is my most used film, and easily my favourite film.


Aside from the hype during it’s announcement, and then the slump of disappointment after it’s release, the failed replacement for APX100 wasn’t a failure after all, at least to me. The film offers a lot, and it’s become my go-to ASA100 film. I wanted a classical type ASA 100 film, and before the RPX films came out, Rollei didn’t have anything to offer in medium format. My options were FP4 and Plus-X, which were both quite expensive for me to get. I really don’t like the Plus-X look. I preferred FP4, but I wasn’t incredibly impressed with it. The RPX 100 film seems to have a cleaner look, with a more flattering tone curve. Early impressions of this film made me quite excited, and after a few years, its my favourite non special-application film.


Even though Rodinal tends to reduce the speed of most films, it doesn’t feel like I loose much with the RPX 100 film. Pulling the film to ASA 50 doesn’t always give me the benefits that are worth the loss of one stop of speed. Overall, this film is a great ASA100 film. The combination of RPX100 and Rodinal is fantastic, and the images have great tonality, contrast and pop. I highly recommend it! When one does need that wider latitude, a one stop pull does work really well. A low contrast negative is not always ideal, but RPX 100 is versatile enough to cater for a large range of scenarios.


Probably one of the most interesting developers for RPX 100 is Beutler, and probably the simmilar FX-1. Both are high definition developers, but my experience extends only to Beutler for now. Beutler 1+1+10 makes for a very high acutance image, capable of capturing a wide range of tones, making it ideal to tame high contrast subjects. It’s does with pushing RPX to ISO 200, without it looking high in contrast. One can pull RPX to ISO 50, and capture an even greater dynamic range! Of the four sample image a littler lower on the page, the bottom left image should indicate how well this film does to handle strong contrasty light. It’s hard to see in the image, but the light hitting the trees and the grass is bright late morning light, however, it looks very subdued in the shot. At the same time, the shadows in the forest all seem fairly bright. One would tend to think the image was captured in overcast conditions, but in fact it was very bight high contrast light.


As you can see in the above mouse over image, the grain is fairly fine and unobtrusive. I would say it’s grain size is similar to most other films of this type, but I feel it’s a little finer grained that FP4+ and certainly finer grained than Fomapan 100. I shoot almost all of my shots on medium format, so grain is virtually a non-issue to me. Besides, I don’t dislike grain at all. One thing I care a lot for in a film like this, is how small details are rendered. I’m not talking about resolving power, but rather perceived sharpness and definition. As seen in the above image, there is plenty of that available!


Besides a film that delivers relatively fine grained and sharp results, another important characteristic is it’s broad tonal range and wide exposure latitude.

I find these to be fairly important attributes. It gives me the confidence to try new things, since it’s not a very fussy film. This is not what can be said about Retro 80s and 400s films.


The only developer I have had issues with so far has been with Diafine, when photographing low contrast scenes. As one can see on the right, the original scan is horrid, with no black or white point. This reminds me of the look RPX400 has in Rodinal 1:50. Weird. The problem is, that this image requires a substantial amount of editing, which degrades image quality substantially if working on a scanned image. Even an Imacon still suffers the same ill effects as all digital imaging products out there. How this negative will fair as a darkroom print, I have no idea, since my experience with the darkroom ends with developing film. My experience with Diafine is average, as I’ve yet to shoot a wide variety of films across various different scenes, but this result has made me very cautious.



Besides the above mentioned example, my experience with this film has been nothing else but fantastic!  So far, my favourite developer for this film is Rodinal, with using a dilution of 1:50. I’ve yet to try a stand or semi-stand develop, but I don’t see this as being necessary, because I like the overall contrast as it is. The film also works quite nicely in ACU-1, acting as a strong compensation developer and producing finer grained images than with Rodinal. Below I have included a few of my RPX 100 images. Top left was developed in Rodinal 1:50 and the top right in ACU-1. The bottom images were developed in Beutler. By clicking the images, you can see them large as 1800px images.


Please keep in mind that I do very little editing to my scans. Mostly just black and white points selection, cropping and dust removal. Any edge effects one may find are from the developer or developing procedure. These images were all scanned from 6x6cm negatives using an Imacon 343 scanner. Also, please respect the copyright of these images :)


                    


                    


Rollei RPX 100 is a very good all round, flexible film. Its capable of producing excellent results, characterised by great tonality and sharpness. I feel it’s superior to FP4+ and Plus-X, but this is a very subjective statement and more a matter of personal taste. I highly recommend this film for everyday use, and also as a great and safe choice for those starting film photography thanks to its forgiving nature. I feel that RPX100 is a film that will lend itself to photographers willing to spend time to master it.

 
Personal Review:

All images remain the copyright of Martin Zimelka

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