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The Surprise Pack 35: Mystery Revealed!!

It’s an Analogue Lifestyle shopping review! You blindly give the online Lomography Shop your money; in return, they send “their choice” of five 35mm film rolls. You don't know exactly what you get until you open the box.

They promiseed “a mixed up selection of our favorite rare or limited stock films!” Should I trust Lomography? Will I be dazzled…or disappointed? I couldn’t resist temptation — I had to know! So, my film package contained…

Why did I buy the Surprise Pack 35? For one, I love surprises! Well, pretty much only the good ones, of course. But I’m no “riverboat gambler” with my money. While on a recent vacation to Germany and Spain, megs79 (or as I prefer, “Mrs. wonderdude”) and I had wonderful experiences shopping at the two Lomo stores we visited. Both the Gallery Store Berlin and the Madrid Embassy Store Echegaray treated us right, so I felt comfortable putting a little faith in Lomography to see what develops (bad pun intended).

The main reason I chose the Surprise Pack 35, however, is I’m a Lomo noob. I wasn’t sure which film to buy for my shiny new LC-A+ RL! Instead of endlessly researching all the choices and agonizing over which film might be best for me, which one’s the best deal, how many I should buy, etc., I let Lomography decide.

So here’s what I received:

Note: The shipping box also contained two LC-A+ accessories, so don’t fret about excess packaging!

Here’s a breakdown of the pack’s exact contents, in the order I examined them, along with my initial impressions:

  • 1 Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100VS (no exp. date indicated) – A premium slide roll! It was in stock on the Lomo shop website when I received my shipment, and I was very happy with its value and quality.
  • 1 Kodak Ektachrome 320T (exp. 04/2004) – The box says “professional,” but “tungsten?” What does that mean? It wasn’t in stock, so I searched elsewhere on the internet. According to Kodak.com, “It is ideal for motion picture and television stills, fashion, glamour, editorial, and theater/concert under existing tungsten light.”* I’ll admit this caused my imagination to go into overdrive: “Please lower your chin a little more, Ms. Klum! Excellent, Heidi…you’re a natural!” Yes, I embrace my inner child.
  • 1 Kodak Ektapress 1600 Gold II (“PJC 36 – 1600,” no exp date indicated) – Another pro film! Can my LC-A+ handle 1600? Yes, thankfully. This film wasn’t in stock, either, so I scoured the internet again. Seems like this was the professional concert photo film of choice from several years ago, and it’s now discontinued. Again, I fantasized: ”Excuse me; could you please let me through? I need to get to the stage to get a few close-ups of the band. Thanks!”
  • 1 Kodak MAX 400 (exp. 11/2004) – Wasn’t in stock, either. I learned this was a standard consumer-grade film. I guess the surprise packs can’t all be exotic pro rolls, so I wasn’t unhappy.
  • 1 Kodak T400CN (exp. 12/2002) – More professional film…black & white, even. This pack really is quite the potpourri, isn’t it? I can’t remember if I’ve ever shot a roll of B&W, so that made it even more intriguing.
    You may recall I mentioned I’m a Lomo newbie – that doesn’t mean I’ve never used film before, though! Let’s just say I had a lot of fun visiting Berlin, because the last time I was there, I went through the REAL Checkpoint Charlie. I was indeed carrying a point-and-shoot 35mm camera then, by the way, and Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” was big back in the USA.

In any case, I’ve only shot two of these rolls so far: the T400CN and E100VS. I chose them because I was curious how a 10 year old B&W film would turn out, and I wanted to see what my LC-A+ could do with the expensive vivid color film. Here are a few examples:

I was very happy with my purchase, but my curiosity was not yet fully satisfied. Why not? Well, being a man of the arts AND sciences, my little shopping experiment only raised MORE questions. Was my Surprise Pack 35 a typical example of what you get? Are the packs always different? Will the next one be as good? What happens when you buy more than one pack at a time? Again, I just had to know! So I ordered two more Surprise Packs. Here’s what my second shipment contained:

I haven’t yet researched these rolls a lot, but here’s a brief breakdown:

Bag on the left:

  • 2 Ilford FP4 Plus 125 B&W (exp. 09/2006) — The second roll (no expiration date) is in the black canister with the light blue top. Yes, you can receive non-Kodak film!
  • 1 “ULTRAFINE B&W FILM ISO 400 36 EXP” (no exp. date) – This was in the clear canister with the darker blue top. The roll itself has a very basic dark blue label, and does not list any other information.
  • 1 Kodak Professional Plus-X 125 / 125PX (exp. 07/2005) — B&W
  • 1 Kodak Professional T-Max P3200 (exp. 08/2004) – Also B&W.

So I received a 100% B&W Surprise Pack 35. Is the second one all color? Nope, but that’s OK with me.

Bag on the right:

  • 2 Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100S (no exp. dates) — color slide
  • 1 Professional Ektachrome E100G (no exp. date) — color slide
  • 1 Ilford FP4 Plus 125 B&W (no exp. date) — In the black canister with the light blue top, like the other bag.
  • 1 Kodak Professional Plus-X 125 / 125PX (exp. 07/2005) — B&W

I’ve only shot one roll so far from my second surprise pack shipment: the “Ultrafine B&W.” Here’s an example:

Overall, I’m pleased with my three surprise packs. I received a variety of interesting rolls, and I’ve now got a bunch of film to experiment with. In addition, my curiosity is satisfied…for now.

The Surprise Pack 35 contains the spirit of adventure, spontaneity, and discovery that is the Lomographic lifestyle. Whether you’re a Lomo newbie or vet, and looking for some inspiration, or a little thrill (or you’re just being plain ‘ol indecisive), almost any day can be like your birthday with the Surprise Pack 35. Who doesn’t enjoy opening mystery boxes, anyway?

What’s in the box? I’ll bet you won’t get the same exact rolls I did, but they’ll most likely all be interesting and unusual, as advertised. In my opinion, it’s a great gift for either yourself, or that special Lomo addict you know and love. I feel I got my money’s worth, and I recommend the Surprise Pack 35.

written by wonderdude

20 comments

  1. adi_totp

    adi_totp

    woooow! Kodak Ektachrome 320T, I never heard of it before. thanks for sharing :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. tallgrrlrocks

    tallgrrlrocks

    What a supercool surprise pack!!! Great results too. I have never held a Kodak Ektapress 1600 in my hands before.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. icuresick

    icuresick

    Wow! I wanna purchase a Surprise Pack too! :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. vtayeh

    vtayeh

    Surprise packs are so much fun!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. wonderdude

    wonderdude

    I shot a few more rolls since writing the article. The concert photography info inspired me to go to a local show and take some photos. I loved the Kodak P3200! Here are the results: http://www.lomograph(…)ot-clownvis

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. megs79

    megs79

    Great article husband! :) Thanks for the picture shout out too.
    I love the suprise packs, what a great way to try out new different hard to find film. @adi_totp the 320T is a great film. Tungsten when shot outside gives you blue tones. Here's an example-http://www.lomography.com/homes/megs79/albums/1700766-horizon-tungsten-photos-of-forest-park

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. odax

    odax

    This is a pretty neat idea :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. awesomesther

    awesomesther

    I want the Surprise pack too and it was great fun reading your article :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. daforl

    daforl

    very nice. but where in the shop do we find these?

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. latella

    latella

    Waiting for mine!! Super excited!!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. veato

    veato

    I cannot find these packs in the UK online store :(

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. kneehigh85

    kneehigh85

    @veato neither can I and I sooooo want to!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. naomac

    naomac

    They don't have the surprise packs in the Australia online shop hope they do soon.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. juliet1688

    juliet1688

    Really good article and I really want to get a pack but there is none on the UK online store :-(

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  15. b0rn2b1ush

    b0rn2b1ush

    surprise, surprise... share results of the 320T. i've only used 64T.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. wonderdude

    wonderdude

    @b0rn2b1ush It appears the 320T mrs. wonderdude shot was mine :( I still love her, though :)
    The link she gave doesn't work...and it's for a roll of 160T. Here's the correct link: http://www.lomograph(…)forest-park
    I'll convince her to post the 320T pics soon!

    UPDATE: The day the article published, I bought another surprise pack; here's what I received:
    AGFA APX 400
    AGFA Vista 400 24+3
    Kodak Elitechrome 100 (2 rolls)
    Kodak BW400CN

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. wonderdude

    wonderdude

    Unfortunately, the Ektapress 1600 didn't turn out the best...but I did get some interesting photos: http://www.lomograph(…)ownvis-live

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. pomps

    pomps

    I like surprise I should order it!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. whatapathy

    whatapathy

    nooooo, lomograph asia doesn't seem to sell these surprise packs :(

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. thedumeister

    thedumeister

    Dude that is so awesome. I'm probably going to purchase some too!

    about 2 years ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Nederlands.