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Rollei IR 400 First Impressions
Note: Additional development times (stand process in HC110) can be found towards the end of this post: Ludington Dunes.
A few months ago I ordered what will no doubt be my last rolls of Kodak High Speed Infrared film. It’s sad to see an old standby pass on, but while online buying film, I decided to pick up a few rolls of Rollei IR400.
I was looking for a film that could produce the same startling infrared affect that the Kodak film delivered. After shooting a couple of test rolls, it seems that the Rollei film is certainly up to that task. Here are a few first impressions of the film, plus tips regarding exposure and development.
Exposure: Without a filter, or with just a #25 red filter, setting the ISO to 400 and metering through the lens worked fine. As with most ISO 400 films, though, I prefer the results at ISO 320 or even 200.
As you’d expect, there is no IR effect when shooting without a filter. And, unlike some other IR films, there is very little IR effect when shooting with a #25 red filter. To get a pronounced IR effect I had to use a Hoya R72 infrared filter.
My first experiments with the IR filter were disappointing. I utilized a 5 stop filter factor, so I metered at ISO 400 with no filter and then increased the exposure by 5 stops – effectively shooting at ISO 12. I bracket up and down a stop, for ISO 24 and 6. Unfortunately, with the R72 filter in place, this still resulted in a grossly underexposed negative.
So the second time around I ramped up the filter factor to 7 - 10 stops – shooting at ISO 3, 1.0, and even 0.5. The shot above was metered at ISO 1.0 and was taken with the R72 filter in place. In bright midday full sun, with the lens at f16, this was a 1 second exposure – pretty darn long and comparale to the digital IR work I’ve been doing. (Just to be perfectly clear for folks trying to wrap their heads around adjusting exposure to compensate for filters – I metered the above shot with the camera set to ISO 400. That gave me a recommended setting of 1/500th of a second. I then clicked the shutter button to increase the exposure by 9 stops to 1 second even.)
The R72 filter was critical for getting the distinct IR effect. The image below compares two shots, one taken at ISO 200 with a #25 Red Filter, and the other with the R72. While Kodak HIE, Ilford SFX, and even the now long defunct Konica IR750 all produced good results with the plain red filter, with the Rollei film the red filter just doesn’t cut it. The technical specifications sheet recommends a deep red filter, but I have not tried that.
Development: Having only shot two rolls of this filme, I processed the first in Rodinal 1:50 and the second in HC110 Dil H (1:66). The roll dipped in Rodinal was grainy – very grainy. The HC110 roll had much more subdued grain, and much better tonal range (of course, that is also a result of the second roll being better exposed.) The successful process with HC110 was 20 minutes and 20C, with agitation one per minute for the first 15 minutes, and every 30 seconds for the last 5 minutes. For the next roll I’ll probably drop the agitation for the first few minutes, and extend the time, in hopes of coaxing out a bit more shadow detail.
Rollei IR400 is the first 35mm film I’ve used that has a water soluble anti-halation / dye layer. While this is generally the rule for 120 and 220 films, I wasn’t expecting it in a 35mm format. As recommended on the Massive Development Chart, I pre-soaked the film for 5 minutes before developing .
In conclusion, I’m really happy with the rest results from this film, and am looking forward to doing more work with it.
Hi there i have just one question, if the camera you are using can focus through the IR filter, is there any need to expose for the iso settings you mentioned?
Hi Ray –
Thanks for an interesting question.
My initial reaction was that metering through the R72 filter would not work, since the meter is calibrated for visible light vs. infrared light. But this is something that is easy to test, so I ran a quick experiment.
With three of my film bodies (Pentax Mz-S, LX, and Pz-1p) metering through the R72 filter was pretty accurate. With the ISO set to 400, metering through the R72 produced an exposure within ½ stop to metering at ISO 6 with no filter. I imagine that different camera meters vary, so run the same test on your camera. Using the Rollei IR400 with the #25 filter I found exposures at ISO 200 to be optimum, and ISO 3 was acceptable for shooting with the R72 filter. So I can see shooting at ISO 200 and letting the camera just meter through the filter.
But – you probably should test your filter to see how it meters when the R72 is in place.
Regarding auto focus through an IR filter – in shooting digital IR I found that the camera could easily auto focus through the filter. But I also found that it was way off when I looked at the distance scales on the lens. For example, focusing on a very distant point, which should be at infinity for non-IR shooting, would lock in at 7-10 meters with the IR filter in place. I’ve taken to just focusing in visible light, and then manually adjusting the lens to focus a little bit closer for shooting with the IR filter in place.
If you have a lens with IR focal points on it, test you camera’s auto focus to see if it is close. If you don’t have a lens iwth IR markings on it, put the IR filter in place and autofocus one a point that should be at infinity. If the lens locks in significantly closer than infinity, the AF is probably not working through the IR filter.
Well Mark I finally managed to develop the roll (rollei 400) last friday. Here are the scanned results (The delay was the scanner actually, just picked it up friday).
Developed the roll in rodinal 1:50, 13.2 minutes, 25 degrees(used the first mixture for a roll of 120). Fixed for about 40 minutes (having problems with ilford rapid fix).
I will admit that defer to your original observation, that the rodinal is grainy, however i was expecting some grain (iso 400) but it also is kind of moody (which i like) will definitely try the hc-110 and dd-x in the future. Picked up some more film last week also along with the ilford sfx, so i will also let you know how that pans out. Will have to defer to my 24-105 no more ultra wides for the moment (not happy).
Anyway sorry for too much detail, but when I posed the question to you last week I was half way through the roll (at iso 400) so I decided to stick with that.
Just some other observations, focussed through the 720nm filter (no post adjustments on the meter, read direct off camera) however focus was set to infinity (IR infinity taken from first shot then set manually except for leaf picture, guessed distance and compensated). Sounds like a lot but easy with an ultra wide lens.
Another thing the I left my camera with film in car 2-3 times got hot (didn’t affect film), rewound roll midway through because was changing for another film, put in freezer for 3 weeks came back, shot with cap on to point where I stopped, camera got hot in car again! Unloaded and loaded in daylight, point being, I know it is only my first roll, however I’m really tough on my equipment and materials and I think I more than put it through its paces for during this time and proved that it is more durable than you would think.
Anyway I’m going to try to upload some results now. All shot with eos 1n and 16-35mm, which i dropped sunday night, camera lcd smashed, lens filter ring dented, (can’t fit filter on it). Anyway i’ll figure something else in this department.
Sorry just figured I can’t upload pictures, how do I do this?
Thanks in Advance,
Hi Ray -
Thanks for the update. Sounds like the through the lens metering worked out OK. Do you know what ISO the through the lens metering worked out to be? My ISO 3 - 0.5 seems to be a stop or three slower than most people are shooting this film at.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a facility for folks to upload photos here on the blog - if you can put them up on the web someplace else, a link to them would be great. I’d be very interested to see what kind of results you are getting!
Hey Mark check out flickr ray_kinsella, I think I put them in the new york section but they’re all marked ir anyway. Some boring shots in there but just wanted to get the roll developed!
Hi Ray -
I enjoyed the IR photo set - you seem to have gotten a pretty decent IR effect in foliage, plus nice black skies and water. Did you use the R72 filter for all?
Hey Mark I left you a comment on your flickr mail regarding the above, did you get it?
Hi Ray - About SFX? I did get it and shot you a reply from my regular mail (I assumed that it was going to the right place…) I’ll forward it on to you.
I shot out my last couple of rolls of Rollei yesterday - scanning them now.
Get them posted Mark, I haven’t shot any of sfx or rollei for that matter in a long time, I’ve been swamped at work so haven’t been able to commit to any real degree as I would like.
I just got my hands on a large format calumet 4x5 and I know rollei makes a 4x5 negative so should be real good, I’ll keep you posted.
If you shot F16 @ 1″ in direct sun, that means you shot at 32iso. The Hoya R72 filter only has a filter factor of 5 stops. If you felt you needed to increase the exposure beyond five stops that is because of Rollei’s sensitivity to IR, not how much light the filter is blocking.
This is why we apply ISO ratings to base film in order to avoid confusion.
Kodak is one of the best camera’s that gives photos that back in the day look.
fantastic shots - once i master b&w infra red I cant see me using anything else for landscapes
How much of an enlargement were you able to attain before noticing grain?
Garrett - Grain is present in even small prints but does not seem to overshadow the detail in the image until you go beyond 11 x 14 or so. Depends a lot on the exposure.