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Lomography Beginner's Guide: Newcomers' Dictionary

What is ‘vignetting’ and what does it have to do with the LC-A+? What does it mean to ‘cross-process’ a film? What’s the difference between a ‘pinhole’ and a ‘panoramic’ camera? One of the first things you’ll notice when browsing the Lomography site for the first time is that there are some pretty crazy terms thrown around. Don’t worry, you’ll find definitions for all kinds of photographic words on this page!

Camera Types

Medium Format Cameras – Cameras such as the Diana F+ and Lubitel 166+. They use 120 Film and produce super square images when developed.

Instant Cameras – Load an Instant Camera with Instant Film and you’ll get photos in a matter of seconds. We also have Instant Backs available. Snap the LC-A Instant Back+ or Diana Instant Back+ onto an LC-A+" or Diana F+ camera and you’ll turn it into an instant snap-shooting sensation.

Panoramic Cameras – With a panoramic camera, you’ll capture more in every shot and get photos which are longer than usual. The Sprocket Rocket, Spinner 360° & Horizon all produce panoramas.

Pinhole Cameras – Cameras with a tiny hole (or ‘small aperture’ in photographic terms) and no lens – Because of this, pinhole photos often have a dreamy look. If you’re interested in trying out pinhole photography, take a look at the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator; it’s got 3 holes instead of 1 and allows you to use different color filters!

Fisheye Cameras – These cameras produce unique circular images. They have 170° wide-angle lenses, so you’ll capture loads more than the human eye can see; Fisheye Cameras also perfect for close-ups!

Multilens Cameras – Cameras with more than one lens; when you hit the shoot button, the lenses will fire and your final print will be made up of smaller images. The Actionsampler and Supersampler have 4 lenses so will have prints made up of 4 sequential images. The Oktomat has 8 lenses so has 8 sequential images on each print. The Pop9 has 9 lenses; each one fires at the same time, so each print will be made up of 9 identical images.

Photo by albeelee

Film Types

35mm – The most common type of photographic film. You’ll find it on the shelves in supermarkets and can probably develop it there too. Loads of Lomography cameras take 35mm film; a few of them are the LC-A+, LC-Wide, LomoKino, Spinner 360°, Diana Mini and Sprocket Rocket. Usually you can take 36 photos on each 35mm film.

120 – Film used in Medium format cameras such as the Diana F+ and Lubitel 166+. 120 film looks different to 35mm and generally produces more detailed images. You can usually take between 12 and 16 photos on a 120 film roll. It’s a little harder to find places to develop it, but the LomoLab will!

110 – Lomography have brought back the 110 film format for a whole new generation of analogue enthusiasts. So far, you can pick from Orca B&W 110 Film or Tiger Color Negative 110 Film – But there are plenty more to come in the future! If you’re looking for a 110 Camera, check out the Fisheye Baby 110 and Diana Baby 110. Looking to find out more about developing 110 film in your country? Take a look at the 110 Film FAQ section.

Color Negative – This is the most common type of film; you can get Color Negative 35mm and Color Negative 120 film. When you develop Color Negative film, you’ll get ‘negatives’ back from the lab; it’s usually developed using a process called C-41.

Color Slide – In contrast to color negative film, when you develop Color Slide film you’ll get positive images. You can get Color Slide 35mm and Color Slide 120 film. Color slide film is usually developed using E-6 chemicals. But us Lomographers like to break the rules and develop it in the ‘wrong’ C-41 chemicals; this process is called Cross-Processing and often leads to wild, colorful photos!

Infrared – Infrared film is sensitive to infrared light and will result in photos which look different from what our eyes see. Often, trees and foliage will appear white, whilst skies will be black. It’s a unique effect and produces some very cool looking photos! You can get Infrared 35mm and Infrared 120 film.

Instant – The type of film used in Instant Cameras. Instant film is discharged from the camera after the photo has been taken and develops by itself in front of your eyes – A clever kind of film indeed!

Expired – Like a lot of things in life, film has an expiry date. Traditionally this is the date when people stop using the film but Lomographers have found that expired film can produce some really interesting results. Sometimes shots will be vague and ghostlike; other times, you’ll get crazy color shifts. The best thing about Expired film is you never know what results you’ll get!

Photo by fruchtzwerg_hh

Photographic Terms

Aperture – The word ‘aperture’ refers to the size of the hole that allows light into the camera. Simply put, a big aperture means a lot of light will be able to enter the camera when you take a photo; a small aperture will mean less light will be able to enter the camera. A lot of cameras allow you to adjust the aperture but some have a fixed aperture.

ISO – A film’s ISO number refers to its speed or sensitivity to light. A film with a low ISO number (such as 100) will be less sensitive to light and will generally produce less grainy photos; it’s best to use films of this speed on clear, sunny days. In contrast, films with a higher ISO number (such as 800) will be more sensitive to light so it’s better to use them on cloudy days.

Cross-Processing (X-Pro) – A firm favorite of the Lomographic community. The terms ‘Cross-processing’ or X-Pro’ refer to developing your film using the traditionally ‘wrong’ kind of process. So you develop a color slide film using negative chemicals, or vice-versa. Cross-processing often produces wild, crazy and exciting colors. Read our Guide to Cross-Processing for more information!

Multiple Exposure – A multiple exposure (or MX) photo is one in which two or more photos are taken on the same frame. A lot of Lomography cameras allow you to take multiple exposures; a few of them are the LC-A+, LC-Wide, La Sardina, Diana F+, Diana Mini and Sprocket Rocket.

Half-Frame – Half-frame cameras allow you to take 2 photos on 1 standard 35mm frame. This means that you can take 72 photos on 1 roll of film instead of the standard 36! Two Lomography cameras have a half-frame option; the cute Diana Mini and talented LC-Wide – Check them out!

Sprocket Holes – Sprocket holes are one of the characteristics of 35mm film. They are little perforations which run along the edge of the film roll; sprocket holes hook onto the sprockets in your 35mm camera. Usually they aren’t exposed when you take a photo; but with cameras such as the Sprocket Rocket and Spinner 360°, you can expose the sprocket holes for some beautiful and unique looking photos!

Wide-angle – A wide-angle lens captures more than a standard lens, so you’ll see more when you get your photos developed! A few Lomography cameras with wide-angle lenses are the LC-Wide, Sprocket Rocket and La Sardina.

Vignetting – The word vignetting refers to a reduction of brightness at the corners of a photo. This effect comes naturally to a lot of Lomography cameras and produces very artistic results by drawing attention to the center of your photo.

Saturation – This word refers to the brightness of a photograph’s colors. A heavily saturated photo will be full of colors and contrast. Many Lomography cameras produce naturally saturated photos, especially when their films are cross-processed.

More Terms in the Lomography Photo-glossary

Searching for your first Lomography camera? Let the Beginners Guide light your way to that dream analogue snap-shooter!

written by tomas_bates

1 comment

  1. 110isnotdead

    110isnotdead

    Thank you so much for writing this. As a relative new-comer to the analogue lifestyle, there are many things that i am unsure about. It is so nice to have references like the ones that are on this community.
    Thanks again

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam

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