Our Black and White Kino Family is always expanding and it's sometimes overwhelming to find your fit! Luckily, California-based photographer Trevor Lee took it upon himself to review all our Kino films — testing their limits and capabilities, comparing tones, contrasts and grain. After shooting digital as his main medium of photography, Trevor rediscovered film while living in Yosemite in 2015 and has been dedicated to analogue ever since.
He reviewed our Kino family on the Darkoom's website, the lab which he’s been working with for more than six years now. We asked Trevor what his favorite Kino Film was, what motivated him compare our Black and White family, and his strategy to do so! Up on the Darkroom blog and Youtube, his reviews will allow photographers to choose which film best fit their needs in terms of monochomatic outcome.
How did you get into film and why do you still shoot film?
I shoot film pretty much everyday — it’s my job but also my passion and am, still working on how to keep it my passion without it only being work. Personally, I enjoy photographing everyday life here in Sacramento with my wife Hannah and daughter Stevie. Work-wise, for the Darkroom I am always shooting film for content and to keep it all separate I have cameras I use for work and a camera I use personally. I rarely shoot digital, only for weddings/paid gigs but I also do paid work with film as well.
Can you tell us more about the darkroom?
The Darkroom is a traditional dip & dunk lab based in San Clemente CA. I found them in 2015 when trying to find a lab that developed that developed E-6 slide film in-house and a year later I was working with them.
Do you prefer to shoot in black-and-white or in color?
In general, I shoot a lot more color and prefer it but over the years I have been shooting much more B&W. I love shooting both, depending on the subject and the emotion I want to portray.
How did you decide to do a comparative review?
I do a lot of side-by-side film comparisons for The Darkroom and at one point asked what comparison people would like to see next —I got a lot of Lomo suggestions so I figured it would be fun to compare all six!
Can you explain to us the process of how you decided to shoot each film and compare it?
For the Lomo B&W comparisons, I decided what to shoot based on the light/weather. For Berlin Kino 400 & Lady Grey 400, I chose an overcast day since the 400 iso allowed for more versatility. Off all six, Berlin and Lady Grey are my favorite and I would choose to shoot Lady Grey 400 on overcast days and even light due to higher contrast which would, well, contrast to the even light! For bright sunny days and scenes with higher contrast I would go with Berlin Kino 400.
For the Potsdam 100 and Earl Grey 100, as well as the low iso stocks, Babylon 13 and Fantome 8 I tried to shoot in bright sun light. For side-by-side comparisons I always shoot the same settings, cam camera, and same lens - I try to photograph a wide variety of scenes, subjects, and light so the viewer will have a better idea of what to expect from each film.
With that being said, it was hard to do in these comparison since it’s winter in Northern California which means less sun and ,more overcast days.
Do you have a favorite Lomography film from those who tested?
For color, I love Lomography Color Negative 800 for every day use but I also love the LomoChrome Purple which I shoot on occasion. The LomoChrome Purple is a fun way to change things up, especially when photographing a location I have shot many times before. For B&W, I really like Berlin 400 for its unique look —I like the lower contrast, subtle tones, and classic-looking grain.
Can we expect more of those blog types in the future? Let’s say with our Lomochromes, or color negatives!
Yes, totally! In fact, I have been wanting to do a LomoChrome comparison since I always enjoy shooting both Purple and Metropolis! Also, it would be fun to do a Lomo 100, 400, and 800 comparison as well and talk about why you might choose one over the other depending on your style and the light you’re shooting in.
Check out Trevor's Youtube review here: