Week Thirty Four, Rolleicord vb

June 27, 2017

Week 34 – The Rolleicord VB

I had dropped off the Serine 105 and was just about to enquire about the forthcoming week 34 when Russell plonked the Rolleicord VB on the counter with the words – Can you film test that? Okay! A bit pushy lol, but I thought why not. I had ran its more desirable sister in week 1 and had been a little underwhelmed by it despite everyone raving about it. I found my Yashi 124g almost as good and easier to use. Then I remembered one of the first film camera reviews I had read, a review by one of my early mentors and a man responsible for bringing me into the film community – Shawn Mozmode! So all I am going to say about the camera is read here! ---

Shawn Mozmode, Me and my Rolleicord.  You can google it or find it at EMULSIVE

Done it? Cool, we will move on. Shawn was in my head now so I decided to run with it. I would spend the next few days tipping my cap to a milestone man in my photography. I didn’t want to copy him but just a hint of his style. There had to be humour, quirkiness in an urban setting. He uses colour and B&W, expert at the selfie and a lover of portraits. I chose 2 films new to me – Kodak Ektar 100 for colour and on the recommendation of Sandeep a c41 B&W, Ilford XP2 400.

Ektar is a vivid colour film loved by many but it can, I believe, be a little finicky. I loaded it up and set along with my all my compatible Yashi hoods, filters and attachments. The sun was bright and the sky was clear and blue, perfect for this film. I just rolled with it and let things happen. The Cord was really easy to get on with. I loosely metered the shadows and played with composition and colour. I quickly realised why I had not been impressed with the Rolleiflex. It had been hyped as the god of TLRs and it was never going to reach expectation. This little fella however with its simplicity just felt right! I put the film through my usual process and while not perfect with a few iffy ones, they are probably some of my best colour work. It left me thinking maybe I CAN shoot colour after all!

Next up the XP2, I love my black and white film process and this film was off my normal track, developing as colour seems alien and not having the control in development was a bit scary. I couldn’t have been luckier, the sun vanished and nice cloudy skies appeared, perfect BW territory for me. Again I metered the shadows letting highlights fall wherever. I had 2 hours of fun! A little silly at times but hey! I shot a few selfies, mixed in some bikes for Shawnee but alas no portrait presented itself. Now, you might see a few damaged areas on both films, TBO I had a mare of a time loading tank reels in the humidity. I struggled post editing the WB on the XP2 and ended converting to BW in lightroom but I am pleased overall but really it is hard to see it fitting my work flow.

The Rolleicord is a great little camera giving much more bang for your buck than the flex. I would even go as far as it being better than my Yashi! I hope I haven’t done you a dis-service Shawn and thanks for your support!

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