For two weeks, I attempted to capture my life in squares — the medium format way. Having mainly shot only in 35 mm and a single 120 format roll with a TLR camera in the past, I tried my hand at using a fully automatic medium format camera, the classic Lomo LC-A 120 Film Camera, loaded with the LomoChrome Color ’92 120 ISO 400 — curious to test its portability and compact nature.
Since the camera’s release back in 2014, it has made a name for itself; well-beloved and received by film photographer novices and experts alike. Some claim that this 120 film model belonging to the Lomo LC-A family pushes one to go beyond the grid despite it’s standard 6x6 square format. Contrary to reservations that some may have regarding the square format, the 6x6 frame operates as an instrument that artists, photographers, journalists, and all kinds of creatives can use to realize their ideas and push boundaries, supporting their vision and craft.
Initially, I was hesitant to casually carry around a medium film format camera for two whole weeks due to its larger and bulkier build. I also had doubts about its lack of manual settings — having to solely rely on the camera's auto-exposure feature to capture the original image envisioned. Coming from a predominantly 35 mm film background, nerves and feelings of unease flooded my mind knowing that I’d only get a total of 12 exposures (aka 12 chances to capture images) instead of the usual 36 from 35 mm.
But much to my surprise, the Lomo LC-A 120 Film Camera subverted all expectations and reservations I had. Since this camera belongs to the iconic and historical LC-A family, the build of this specific camera is sturdy enough to sustain some bumps that may occur along the way, while still being somewhat light on its feet and fast enough to operate. Its wide-angle glass lens and shadowy vignettes bring a unique approach to medium format, carving a signatory Lomography look. Overall, the beginner-friendly features make 120 film format newbies like me feel at ease from the get-go.
Week 1: Easing in
I had a late start on using the camera during my first week with it. The weather at the time made it a bit difficult to capture the images I had wanted, so I waited it out until the weekend. Luckily, things turned out for the better and I was able to document some daytime happenings.
I played around with two out of the four focal ranges: mainly using 0.6 and 1. The photo I’m most proud of from the week was the third photo (first image on the second row) since the image was relatively well-lit and in focus considering the backlight present. I love that the lens has a good amount of detail and a level of sharpness to it that emphasizes the medium format’s precision and higher resolution.
Week 2: Layering it
With the second week rolling in, I thought it would be good to challenge the film stock in some low-light spaces. I was also curious to see how the Lomo LC-A would perform in situations like these. So to test it out, I shot some photos in my home and at some indoor outings with friends.
The LomoChrome Color ’92 had more of a green tint than what I had originally expected but I’m happy with the fact that it was successful in capturing these images with the indoor lighting available. The camera’s MX (multiple exposure) feature was extremely simple to use — with me taking my first double exposure shot on a medium format — making the usual uncertainty that comes with creating multiple exposures very welcoming and fun to experiment with.
In summary, I loved using the Lomo LC-A 120. I’d argue that it often feels like a 35 mm from its easy point-and-shoot functions but performs at top speed and tier, similar to how world class 120 film cameras would. Although the two weeks I spent documenting my everyday moments with the Lomo LC-A 120 felt short, it was memorable enough for me to recall those memories spent in great detail and good light, figuratively speaking.
This member of the Lomo LC-A family is ever reliable, compact, and classic. I'm looking forward to testing it out in different terrains and maximizing its built-in features as I progress along my film journey. For now, you can find me playing around with the camera's MX feature and experimenting with the zone focusing's four focal ranges.
Thank you to Sunny16Lab for the film scan and developing!
Curious about Lomography's medium format cameras? Head on over to our online shop to see the complete line-up of 120 format cameras and join fellow Lomographers as you journey into the analogue world.