Munich as you have never seen it before: Rollei Redbird 400 film review

I am always happy to try a creative approach to photography and sometimes that is best achieved through experimenting with different film stocks. Join me for a walk around Munich with some redscale film.

I had a roll of Rollei Redbird 400 stored in the fridge for quite a while, so I decided to take it out for a test run over a sunny Sunday walk. I am not a huge fan of creative films, but always happy to try out a roll to see if I like it. There are more extreme creative films out there, with deliberate special effects like lightning bolts on the negative and other crazy inventions.

What is redscale film?

Redscale film is where the film is deliberately loaded the wrong way round so you are exposing light (your final image) onto the back part of the film. Apparently the name redscale comes from the fact there ends up being a colour shift towards red as this is the sensitive layer that is exposed first. There is quite a following for this technqiue, where photographers intentionally do this to get the special effect. It seems some film manufacturers  want to capitalize on that and have produced this film for that audience. I have tried redscale film before and found it quite interesting, albeit certainly not an everday emulsion that I would choose.

According to Rollei:

Product Highlights:                   

Reverse-Rolled Color Negative Film

ISO 400/27° in C-41 Process

Strong Red, Yellow, and Orange Cast

Effect Can Be Controlled By Exposure

All shots are taken with my Leica M2 and either my 35 or 50mm lenses. I did not have a theme in mind other than shoot scenes I found interesting in and around Munich’s city centre.

I liked all the crossing lines in this shot. Of course in real life it was a bright sunny day with blue skies. It is hard to imagine how the shot will come out in redscale, but overall I like the composition.

Some nice leading lines in this shot, and I think the shadows work well.

This shot has an aged feeling to it with the old looking text mixed with the model cars.

For some reason this shot came out very underexposed. That is the issue with this type of film, it can be very unpredictable. But I think that is why some people enjoy using it.

This shot looked better in real life…bit of a small light leak at the bottom of the frame too.

Some typical Munich architecture with a small shop - I cannot remember what kind of a shop it was and the windows are too dark to look into in the shot.

This was the first shot of the roll, which might explain the big light leak. I dont mind them though, they usually add to the creativity. It is a pity the shot came out a bit underexposed. You see many of these cars in Munich, which are usually BMW employees who test the car for the weekend, hence some cover to not give away what a new model really looks like.

Taken from inside a train on the way into the main train station.

More train tracks.

This is my local train  stop and I always like this shot as the leading lines work to give lots of depth to the image.

I was surprised how well this came out, I was not expecting the effect of the darkened shadows that really accentuate the end of the driveway.

There is street art all over the city, many times on the side of apartment blocks.

A very typical Munich street scene. I like how well the colours came out in this shot (compared to some of the other shots that are all one shade of red).

Street parking at its finest.

Another mural with a random artwork about someone struggling with a cash machine.

Steps to nowhere.

Completely underexposed due to it being an inside shot. This film reacts very differently with under / over exposure.

I thought this shot would come out brighter, you can see the strong shadows. I liked the strong shadows and logo.

Very eerie looking U-Bahn station.

I am a big fan of overlapping lines and simplicity or minimalism. One of my favourite shots of the roll.

Overall observations

I think it can be fun to experiment with this type of creative film. I also know a lot of people who shoot expired film and look for that totally unexpected shot. This film produces some interesting results, especially if strongly under or over exposed on purpose. It reminds me a bit of the Lomography redscale film (reviewed on my 52 rolls of film project here).

That being said, I think these kind of films are better used in typical point and shoot cameras, as you are not going to get the most out of a Leica camera putting this type of film through it. Overall I think I got some interesting shots and can highly recommend trying out this Rollei Redbird film if you are feeling creative.

Thanks for stopping by,