When shopping online for film the other day, I decided to try the Rollei Retro 80s and the RPX 100. The lower prices compared to Ilford and Kodak also seemed attractive. First I put a RPX100 in the Hasselblad but either I or the camera messed up. First, the paper ripped and then I inserted the film the wrong way with the result to find the film empty after developement. So, I tried the Retro 80s next and made sure I did it right. I went into the center of Munich, walked around, shot some frames in the Hofgarten, got a beer, shot and walked some more and got Thai food and developed the film the same night.
I gave it 14min in 1+50 Rodinal at 20C and thought for sure I did something wrong during development. The film base is so transparent and the contrasts are so rich that I thought for sure I overdeveloped. However, next day I scanned the film and I quite liked it. It was easy to scan with good contrasts and no visible grain. I read online that the film looses details in the shadows easily. However, I didn't think it is any worse than HP5+ developed in Rodinal.
Another thing that makes the film atractive, is the low sensitivity to blue light which works great with blue skies. It comes out nice and dark and fluffy clouds will brightly light the sky. I can only image using an orange or red filter. The lights are amazing, the gray tones are ok and the shadows aren't as bad as I thought. Even shooting against the low evening sun seemed to lead to decent results. It's a modern film with an old emulsion. I have no idea how it would print in the darkroom but it works well for the semi digital workflow I've adopted.
Compared to Ilford, Fuji and Kodak the film is relatively inexpensive here in Germany and www.fotoimpex.de is a good source to get some. However, the film gives me the feeling of a "cheap" make compared to other brands. I would recommend to handle with extra care since it just feels a bit flimsy.
Maybe some words about the development. I think Rodinal is a good choice since it compensates the high contrasts a little bit. Too get started I selcted a recipe on filmdev.org and check massive dev chart as well. I started with Rodinal 1+50 at 20C for 14min. I haven't tried stand developing yet but I can imagine that it would work as well for compensation. The film seems to behave like an ISO 80 but I'm not so scientific about metering. I'm sure the film can be easily pulled to 40 but haven't tried it. I found info somewhere that the film can be pushed to ISO 160 but also haven't tried it either and not sure if i will.
Some more interesting info here: http://www.martinzimelka.com/pages/Rollei_Retro80s.html