LC-A Big Book Chapter 93: Film and Development


Picking film for your camera is similar to choosing the right type of canvas, colours and brushes for a good three hours of painting. Even though the use of film and development is a bit more expensive than digital options, the wide variety and possibilities along with the simple flair of purely analogue film are definitely worth the price. A good knowledge of your film type (colour negative, B/W, slide film!x-pro) and film speed is half the rent of getting the shots you want. For all things film related you should definitely check out: “”:

Nowadays colour film yields natural co|ours, contrast and wide exposure latitude, meaning that your prints can still look excellent even if your exposure is a bit under or over the mark.

It’s made of a simple sheet of plastic coated with at least three layers of light sensitive chemicals, which consist of silver salts. A tiny bit of pigment is added to the salts to make the material capable of capturing different tones. There are a wide variety of colour negative films available each of them supplying slightly different colour tones and saturations – just try out a bunch of different brands and speeds to see which suits you best. There are films with 12, 2 4 and 3 6 exposures available. Even though the films with fewer exposures are of course cheaper to buy, they do not pay off in development – as you are paying a fixed cost for the film-development, the cost/performance ratio is certainly the best with 3 6-exposure film for fast-shooting Lomographers.

Shooting with B!W film is perfect for portraits and strong contrasts and gives your images a great feel. Developing black & white film yourself in a dark room also allows you more freedom and control over your prints. Black and white film is definitely the best medium for jiving with light and dark, contrast and haze. There are also several variations on the market such as the XP2-film: this kind of B!W film will deliver perfect results and is, contrary to normal B!W films, developed with normal C-41 chemicals. This means that it can be processed quickly and cheaply in any one-hour photo-lab, as opposed to the often expensive and time-consuming conventional black and white developments. In addition to that, X P 2 film printed on paper results in Sepia-toned pictures, which can produce a cool effect. Sepia is an effect that is often applied in photography for its beautiful brown-grey tone. If you want to get this “bygone days” look just shoot away on any XP2 B!W film and tell your lab to develop the pics in Sepia – any professional lab should be able to grant your wish.

If you are in search of ubernatural colours and crazy contrasts introduce your LOMO LC-A+ to slide film. Generally preferred by professionals for its better tone reproduction and one-step process (no printing, therefore less grain and more sharpness), this type of co|our positive fl|m uses a different chemical solution than co|our negative film. When cross-processed (x-processed or x-pro meaning that slide film is developed in C-41 chemicals instead of its usual E-6 chemicals) the colours become displaced and your photographs explode with brightness, saturation and contrast. In practice, this means that you slam a slide-film into your LOMO LC-A+, shoot as normal and ask your lab technician nicely to cross process the film. Each film and laboratory will produce different results. It is often recommended to even slightly overexpose your film and ask for no co|our correction at the lab in order to get even stronger co|ours. For more instructions on cross processing check

Many Lomographers tend to buy expired film in bigger quantities in photo store sales or on the Internet. Like milk, each film has a certain date of expiration upon which the manufacturer guarantees full functionality. Professional photographers mostly don’t go for expired films, as the co|our and saturation is not easily predictable – which is probably just what a Lomographer wants! However, recently expired films that aren’t really high speed (expiration of a year or less) are a great deal because the results are often identical or very close to in-date film. Try out expired film if you want to add a little bit more unpredictability to your photo shoots and like to get a good amount of film for a low price.

When buying film take care that the film speed matches the light condition you plan to shoot in – a sunny day on snowy slopes, an event in a dimly |it room or a nicely nostalgic rainy autumn afternoon in a park. Film speed is the measure informing you of the film’s sensitivity to light. The most common film speeds are ISO 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600. It is easy to remember – the smaller the number, the slower the film; the bigger the number, the faster the film. Slower films are less sensitive and generally need lighter, therefore longer exposure times. Faster films are fast in action and are good for snapping in poor light conditions but deliver grainier and less colourful pictures. However, many people love the grainy, noir look that 1600 or 3200 black and white film yields. You should definitely try this out, as with the LC-A+ and a fast film you can shoot indoors without stabilizing the camera! If your film is expired, the film speed might change too – so better be ready for some unexpected results. You should never forget to set the ISO-settings-wheel of your LO M 0 LC-A + to the 150-settings of the film you use to make sure that the camera’s automatic exposure setting are working properly.

You can also over or underexpose your shots on purpose: to underexpose a shot set the ISO-setting of your LOMO LC-A+ a few stops higher (like ISO 800 setting for a 400 speed film). To overexpose your image set the ISO setting to ISO 100 when using a 400 speed film.

Despite the rumours that analogue material and film will disappear slowly in our digital age, we can swear on the life of Lomography that film is still widely used by professionals and amateurs and will be available as long as the LOMO LC-A+ exists (and vice-versa). Why? Because there are millions of amazing analogue photo cameras out there, because analogue film photography is becoming its own art form, because all big film companies have assured us that they will produce film forever and because film, in general, is not that hard to produce. Therefore, you’ll always find all kinds of colour-negative, B&W and slide film in professional photo stores. For buying cheap film we recommend you to check out sales of old, no-name or expired film.

The choice between a professional lab and the supermarket on the corner is up to you. Whereas supermarket and drugstore development is definitely cheaper, labs offer you a wider variety of options regarding your prints and scans and respond to individual requests (such as asking for no colour correction with x-processed films, whereas many supermarkets don’t even do cross-processing) . If you’re sure that you just shot a killer roll of film you might choose to pay a few bucks more for professional development, whereas you might rather take the results of your latest experimental shoot to the cheaper supermarket to see what has come out. The traditional Lomo-size of prints is 7x I 0 cm ( 2.8×3.9 inch), but many stores don’t offer this size any more, 9×13cm (3.5×5.1 inch) or 10×15cm (3.9×5.9 inch) are just as good.

Cos are good friends of up-to-date photographers. Getting your images scanned on a CD makes upload’ng new images to your Lomohome a piece of cake. It is always good to order scans with a bigger resolution, for taking part in the multiple rumbles the Lomographic Society kicks off once in a while and getting your images published in a book. For 10 x l5cm (3.9×5.9 inch) prints the standard resolution is 1200 × 1800 pixels, but for bigger high-quality prints its better to get a size like 2400×3600 (which is more costly than the first variant).

Scanning your negatives: in the long run, the cheapest option to deal with your pictures is to scan them yourself. Today you can get high quality scanners for a good price. These allow you to scan in your 35mm negatives yourself. It might take you a bit of time, but you’II also have more control over the results and the resolution. You only pay for film & development at the lab and therefore save a lot of money. A scanner is a good investment for any serious Lomographer.

Have the full glory of the book here

written by ungrumpy on 2011-04-25 #lc-a #history #film #lomography #library

One Comment

  1. qrro
    qrro ·

    "Despite the rumours that analogue material and film will disappear slowly in our digital age, we can swear on the life of Lomography that film ..... will be available as long as the LOMO LC-A+ exists"

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