When the exposure is right I really like the Lomography X-Pro Slide 200, but it seems I’d somewhat forgotten this while shooting this roll: don’t overexpose!
I like Trains, shot on a winter evening, of this little, rather specialised, store around the corner from Place de la République. As a kid we had a large track in the basement, and one can only be happy to realise that these toys have not gone completely extinct yet.
The colours in Ida are exactly what I’d like most shots to look like, yet unfortunately there aren’t many like that on the roll due to overexposure; Sleeping under the Bridge for instance is nice for the scene of SDF’s (refugees?) camping under a metro bridge, but it’s hard to argue that better colours would have made it better.
It’s my impression that the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 these days are mostly used for cross-processing, yet after having seen what it can do there I got curious to see it’s true colours as well — not least after having seen the beautiful blues of another positive film, the Fujifilm Velvia 50.
Overall I was hoping for more, yet to be honest this is likely to be because the film requires more accurate exposure than I offered it.
In some cases, e.g. City Beach, Rinck, and especially Rain Clouds, we did a great job and got what I wanted. In other cases, e.g. Under the Bridge I’d like to think that the result could have been better on a higher quality film; however, while Stripes and Circles also falls in this latter group not all mishaps are actually that bad.
Verdict? At less than half the price of Velvia 50 it’s still a candidate for nature/post-rain scenes like Rain Clouds.
July has been a busy month with work and visits, but perhaps because of the latter I also managed to finish three films with a mix of your typical tourist photos, and whatever kind of photos it is that I tend to take when out on my own.
The first one is a Kodak Portra 400, and as always it’s the forgiving hero delivering great colours even when the exposure is sure to have been a bit off. Skin tones, greens, sky — all is good. All but one are from Paris (Fête Nationale and Le Tour), with the last one being from my brother’s gymnasium graduation (congratulations again!).
Next up is an Ilford Delta 100 Professional. I still can’t tell the difference between this one and the Kodak T-Max, not least because so much is determined during scanning, but perhaps this will change when I eventually make prints.
And last but not least, a Lomography X-Pro Slide 200. Although surprisingly the colours are quite different from the first one (perhaps because I used a different printer) the result is still pretty good when the exposure is right — take Educating or Hanging Around for instance.
On the other hand, it is clear that the film is not nearly as forgiving as the Portra, and both underexposure (High) or overexposure (Expensive District, Wineyard, and Blue Shades) leads to an unpleasant purple tint — the best example perhaps is Scholastique (Smiling) and Scholastique (Looking) where the latter seems to be correctly exposed, and the former was deliberately given one stop more.
In my on-going hunt for a Lomography X-Pro Chrome substitute I’ve heard the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 mentioned on a few occasions, and it finally became time to try it. It has done a decent job, and moreover illustrated that a step might have been missing in my process so far.
As you never really know which film is actually inside the Lomography canisters (rumour has it they were using old Kodak film in the beginning and has since gone through several manufactures, including unknown Chinese brands) it is also non-trivial to tell if it’s actually a negative or a positive film — and apparently it isn’t just me who’s confused: for the first time my developer charged a special cross-processing feed, even though I’ve given her Lomography films before that were supposedly also meant to be cross-processed. But this time I’m absolutely certain that I have in my hands a bona fide cross-processed film!
As mentioned, I think the film has done a decent job. Scholastique (from Above) for example is exactly what I was hoping for, and also like the toning in House.
However, most prints are quite a bit off in terms of colour balance, as for example Behind the Park, In Time, and Cornershop. For some it works out nicely, e.g. Scholastique (In the Rain) and Goth Metro, while for others I felt the need to cheat and colour correct in Photoshop afterwards: Pearl of the Quartier, for instance, was shot seconds after Scholastique (from Above) using exactly the same exposure yet completely green.
I’ll be asking my developer the next time if it’s really a question of exposure or not, but at this point my suspicion goes in direction of the printing process simply not being as standardised as I believed it was. More specifically, that asking the developer to either scan the film or make prints is still not enough to achieve the “real” colours of the film.
As disappointed as I was when I learned that the X-Pro Chrome from Lomography was not out of stock but in fact out of production, as surprised was I when an email popped in about a month ago saying that their other slide film, the X-Pro Slide, was now back in stock. I soon after grabbed a copy from the store, shot it, and went to pick up the prints today.
So I’ve gotten wiser since my surprise with the X-Pro Chrome. I now know that X-Pro stands for “cross processing“, and that this means using different chemicals during development than those originally intended. Handing in the Lomography film the other day was hence less shameful since I now understood what the woman behind the desk was saying and could respond with “you’re absolutely right, it’s a slide film for E6 processing, but would it be possible to have it developed in C41 anyway, for effect?” — won’t dwell too much on whether that’s cool or nerdy though.
I was a bit suspicious about the outcome for at least two reasons. Firstly because I’ve since learned that the X-Pro Chrome might have been a repackaged Kodak film of unmatched quality, and secondly because both the seller and various online galleries hinted that the photos will have a strong citrus tint. In the end though, they turned out much better than expected and I’ll probably head to the stores for some more soon.
Again I like the vivid colours, especially the orange/red shades as in Dissidi, Red and White, Child’s Play, and Fake Roof. The blue sky in most of them is not amazing, but looking at the negatives it might have been because I over-exposed too much. Lastly, what happened in Weird Red remains a mystery for now, as no extra filter was used nor was the lighting different.