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3 Jun 2022 8:05PM   Views : 404 Unique : 292

Orwochrome was a cheap transparency film from behind the Iron Curtain and had a unique colour signature.

It was never going to challenge the likes of Kodachrome and Fujichrome. It was advertised in the pages of Amateur Photographer and other enthusiast magazines in the 1980s and 1990s, and very likely before that too though that was before my photography interest grew.

It was made in what was East Germany and was very inexpensively priced. I recall it only had an ISO of 50, hich wasn't an issue in those days as the popular Kodachrome was only ISO 64. The cost of the film included processing, and you did wonder how hey could do it for the price. The images were returned in a decent plastic box neatly mounted in plastic mounts with the pale blue Orwo logo on them. On the nmounts that is, not the pictures, just to make that clear.

It was my father who expressed an interest to see what it was like so I bit the bullet and bought a single roll of 36 exposures. It was only a few pounds, so something like half the cost of my usual Fujichrome 100 which I bought in packs of ten.

So, to the results. Unfortunately I can't find those transparencies now, so I've had to emulate the efect in software to illustrate this blog.


A very warm rendition and high contrast were characteristic of Orwochrome (simulation here)

Colour. Yes, it had colour. With a brown cast. A strong brown cast. If you wanted to look at the world through a sepia tone then this was your film. It could work for some autumn landscapes. Pretty much unusable for anything else. People must have used it as it was always advertised for sale. Perhaps it was popular in the Eastern Bloc under communist rule, in the grey colourless cities. It was adequetly harp and had reasonable grain, acceptable but nothing to set the world alight.

As an aside, Orwo made black and white negative film too, and while I never tried that personally it had attractive grain and contrast that appealed to some mono workers and which some try very hard to replicate in software. If film noir is your thing then you'd be happy.

But am I being unkind? I'm sure some wouldn't give it house room but some must have captured some nice memories with it. And equally if you looked at those images now they'd have that nostalgic look.

All text and and images Keith Rowley 2022

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nobby1 Avatar
nobby1 Plus
19 21 United Kingdom
6 Jun 2022 8:57AM
I used Orwo for a while back in the mid-80s when I was broke. Basically, it was crap!

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