Rollei Ortho 25 Plus – Exploring the Seaside Landscape
Rollei Ortho 25 Plus – Exploring the Seaside Landscape

Rollei Ortho 25 Plus – Exploring the Seaside Landscape

ortho 25

In a world of photography, the choice of film type can significantly impact the final outcome of any image. One such film option is Rollei Ortho 25 Plus, a black and white orthochromatic film well known for its rendering great detail and tones. Unlike traditional panchromatic films, orthochromatic films like Rollei Ortho are sensitive to blue and green light, rendering scenes with a unique tonal interpretation.

For my recent photographic trip to Milford on Sea, a place nestled along the picturesque South coast of England, I was drawn to Rollei. Intrigued by the prospect of capturing the beauty of this area, I saw this film as my perfect companion for this photographic journey. With its reputation for delivering exquisite results in landscapes, I embarked on this trip eager to witness firsthand the magic that this film could evoke in the serene seascapes near Milford-on-Sea.

Rollei Ortho 25 Background

Rollei Ortho is a revered black and white film among photographers, cherished for its exceptional qualities that lend themselves particularly well to landscape photography. With an ISO speed of 25, it stands out as a low sensitivity film, ideal for scenarios where fine detail and minimal grain are paramount. (This roll used in this blog post was processed using Rodinal, known for introducing grain. Another blog post for another day perhaps)

What sets this film apart is its orthochromatic nature. Unlike traditional panchromatic films, which are sensitive to the full spectrum of visible light, ortho films primarily respond to blue and green wavelengths, making them inherently suited for capturing slightly abstract landscapes. This unique characteristic allows for nuanced rendition of tones, particularly in scenes abundant with natural elements like foliage, skies, and water bodies.

Preparation and Milford on Sea Shooting Experience

Preparation for shooting with this film began with thorough research into its characteristics and recommended techniques. I familiarised myself with its low ISO speed of 25 and orthochromatic nature, understanding its suitability for landscapes and the need for precise exposure control. Equipped with this knowledge, I selected my trusty Canon AE-1 Program, a camera with a sharp 50mm prime lens.

During shooting, meticulous metering and exposure adjustments were crucial due to the film’s limited sensitivity to light. I employed spot metering to measure luminance accurately and experimented with aperture settings and exposure times to balance detail retention and dynamic range. Compositionally, I focused on scenes rich in natural elements, emphasising textures and tonal nuances.

Challenges arose in managing exposure in high-contrast situations, where overexposure and loss of shadow detail were risks. Patience was key, particularly in low-light conditions, where longer exposure times were necessary.

Despite challenges, shooting with this film offered opportunities for creative exploration. By adapting techniques and embracing the film’s unique characteristics, I managed this set of images that captured the timeless beauty of the area.

Film Sample Comparisons

Film TypeISO SpeedGrainTonalitySuitability
Rollei Ortho 25 Plus25FineRich tones, nuanced detailsLandscape, architectural
Ilford HP5 Plus400MediumBroad tonal range, classic lookGeneral purpose
Kodak Tri-X400MediumHigh contrast, gritty lookStreet, documentary
Fuji Neopan Acros II100FineSmooth tones, minimal grainFine art, portrait
Ilford Delta 100100FineSmooth tones, wide exposure latitudeFine art, studio


My experience using this film for landscape photography at Milford was both enriching and rewarding. The film’s unique orthochromatic nature and low ISO speed of 25 offered a distinctive approach to capturing the coastal scenery, allowing for exquisite detail and nuanced tonal rendition.

The film excelled in rendering textures and subtle variations in light, bringing out the intricate beauty of the landscape with exceptional clarity. Its fine-grained structure and high resolution proved invaluable in conveying the timeless allure of Milford-on- Sea.

While shooting with Rollei presented challenges, particularly in managing exposure in high-contrast scenarios, these obstacles ultimately contributed to a deeper understanding of the film’s capabilities. With patience and precision, I was able to overcome these challenges and produce images that captured the essence of the seaside landscape with remarkable fidelity.

For photographers considering using this film for similar projects or environments, I offer the following recommendations: Embrace the film’s unique characteristics and experiment with exposure techniques to maximise its potential. Prioritise meticulous metering and composition to make the most of its fine-grained structure and resolution. Additionally, be patient and adaptable, as shooting with Ortho requires careful planning and adjustment but rewards with stunning results that truly capture the essence of the landscape.

Key Strengths and Features of Rollei Ortho

StrengthsNotable Features
Fine-grained structure– Orthochromatic sensitivity
Exceptional resolution– ISO 25 for precise exposure control
Rich tonality– Captures intricate details with clarity
Nuanced rendering of textures– Ideal for landscape and architectural photography
Low sensitivity to light– Emphasises subtleties in light and shadow

Next time I use this film, I shall develop it in an Ilford developer and compare the results.

Rollei Ortho 25 Plus - Exploring the Seaside Landscape



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