Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary Film Review

An ISO 640 Black and White Film With a Lovely Contrast Curve

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At the height of the colour film shortage of 2021, I visited my local camera shop, Kerrisdale Cameras, which had Ektar (it was sold out everywhere else). Lucky for me and unlucky for my wallet, Kerrisdale also had lots of other shiny emulsive things, amongst which stood a festive-looking two-pack of monochrome film, Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary — ISO 640.

Not buying this film would just be silly,” thought I. The package doubles as a film holder, and this film is no doubt of a limited run: a brand can celebrate a century of relevance just once!

Though this kind of logic often yields wasted cash, Rollei* did not disappoint with their sharp, contrasty film that worked remarkably well with my TC-1 during the foggy winter walks around Surrey, BC.

✱ — This film is actually made by Maco Direct, a German photographic retailer. They license the Rollei brand name for their films.

Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary with Minolta TC-1.

Grain structure, resolution, sharpness.

For an ISO 640, P&R is a very detailed film. It’s sharp and fine-grained. Without a spec sheet, it appears to render more details than Ilford XP2 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 or on par with JCH StreetPan 400.

In 35mm, the grain will be visible on 12” prints though it’s not overbearing like that of XP2 and looks to add a pleasing texture when developed in Ilford DD-X.

Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary with Minolta TC-1.

Dynamic range and contrast.

I shot my Paul & Reinhold 100th at box speed, which gave me a lot of contrast at the low end and a lot less contrast in the highlights.

I loved how my darker exposures turned out on this film. The shadows produced very little detail, but the grain made the transition into blackness appear “alive and grungy.”

A dramatic underexposure with Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary with Minolta TC-1.

If you’re looking to preserve some detail in the shadows with your film, Paul & Reinhold 100th may not be the one for the task. As you can see in the examples, there’s very little left in the dark regions.

You may try rating your film at ISO 400 or lower (or simply add a stop or two to your exposures). Paul & Reinhold will save a lot of visual data for you there. However, I’m not particularly happy with the results I got while trying to add contrast and reduce the brightness digitally in Photoshop. The grain appeared overbearing when I saw my scans on a large monitor.

Note: Try viewing this page on a laptop, desktop, or a large tablet if you want to notice the grain in the images here.

Perhaps you’ll get better results using another method or when printing optically. Here is mine:

Contrast adjustments in Photoshop of a Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary film scan, taken with Minolta TC-1.

That is not to say that this film can not look good when taking pictures of bright scenes. As long as I got some meaningful shadows in my shot, I was lucky enough to get some nice-looking pictures.

In fact, Paul & Reinhold 100th gave me a lot of keepers — or photos I was happy to have taken and proud to share. It’s too early to tell if it’s the film, the seldom but brilliant light of the moody West Coast weather, or if it’s something I did.

Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary with Minolta TC-1.
Rollei Paul & Reinhold 100th Anniversary with Minolta TC-1.

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