It's not a monochrome film. It's not really a full colour spectrum film. The wonderfully unique Lomography Redscale 120 ISO 100 is in a class by itself.
One of the first truly unique films that the good people at Lomography have created are their Redscale films. With Redscale, they have made available to the masses a shooting technique that used to only be able to be achieved by some hands-on D.I.Y.-ers. Originally, to make redscale film, you would have to reverse a roll of C-41 film and expose the back of the film instead of the front. Now, that easier-said-then-done bit of handiwork has already been done for you and you can load and shoot Redscale 120 (and/or 35mm) as you would any other.
Here’s a brief explanation of how Redscale film works. C-41 film is made up of three different emulsion layers. Usually, the bottom layer is red. But since Redscale film has been “flipped”, the red layer is now the first layer to be exposed to light. This gives Redscale photos their instantly recognizable strong yellow, orange and namesake red hues. Depending on how much the film is exposed, you can also achieve some very warm, earthy greens.
When shooting with Lomography Redscale 120 ISO 100, I tend to use it the same way as I would use black and white film. I try and find well-lit subjects with good contrast, but that is just a personal preference. It’s as versatile as any other ISO 100 film, meaning it’s best used in bright daylight or with a good, strong flash and your subject close to you. Personally, I’m more inclined to err towards over-exposing a little rather than under-exposing my shots. Over-exposing results in some pretty surreal and intense reds and yellows, whereas under exposed Redscale ISO 100 tends to look dull and dark. Pulling or pushing the film during processing also affects the hues and tones of the final images and can produce pale purple and green photographs. In my experience, Redscale ISO 100 tends to be more consistent in its red, orange and yellow colours than Lomography’s Redscale XR 50/200, but might just be because I tend to shoot it at its recommended speed and not up or down a stop.
In the right camera, Lomography Redscale 120 ISO 100 has a pretty fine grain too, so you’ll be able to see a lot of details in your photos, much like other good slow films. While Rollei also has a redscale film called Nightbird, it is very grainy and its colours are not nearly as appealing (in my opinion) as what you get from the Lomo films.
When I’m out shooting in medium format, I tend to have a roll of Redscale in my bag or already in the camera. I never know when I’m going to want to use it, and for me, there are no substitutes. If you haven’t put some of this awesome film through one of your medium format cameras yet, I highly recommend that you pick up a 3-pack and go out. Happy shooting!