Lomography Color 100 – a brief review

I haven’t shot a roll of Lomography Color 100 film in almost 2 years, but I don’t really know why. In going back through my archives of it this week, reworking some shots with my new negative conversion process, and better understanding of producing more film-like color, I’ve found it to be easy to work with, flexible, and quite lovely really.

Lomography 100 was one of the first films I shot when I started shooting film back in 2014, and I’m pretty sure my first rolls were from the days when the old Ferrania/3M were manufacturing it for them. Lomography Corp. doesn’t produce its own film, it contracts with other manufacturers. Ferrania made the Color stocks (or the 100 and 400, and the Redscale, and some others) until it exited the film business in 2012 or so. I’m pretty sure I bought two 3-packs of Lomo Color 100 in mid 2013, and given the different colors and negative conversion process, I suspect those first packs were still Ferrania.

I’ve shared some of these before, all with my old Lightroom-based process. But now, with two years of Capture One workflow behind me, I re-did them and think I got the colors much closer this time, but maybe my sensibilities have changed… it’s probably a bit of both. I know my skills have improved, as I was able to eek out a picture from this woefully underexposed shot.

I think I finished off that first batch of Lomography Color 100 in Costa Rica with my LC-A, and it was during that trip when it developed a sticky shutter (that I solved, temporarily, with a few hard whacks of the camera against my palm, and temporarily again when it fell out of my backpack and smacked the driveway hard… Great little camera, if a bit finicky and prone to breaking: I’m not sure how many times I’ve had to open it up to tighten or loosen screws or something equally inane). I think the color is much closer this time… the color down there is incredible, and this was shot near sundown on a walk through Cariari.

And these two, of my old team there (most have moved on, but a few remain)… these were horribly underexposed, but I managed to pull detail out and get actual pictures, with actual hair texture and almost facial expressions. GoGo Capture One!

After that, I think I ordered two or three more 3-packs, probably of the Kodak-made emulsion. These were all much easier to process, and I was happy enough with my Lightroom work that I didn’t even bother updating them with the new Capture One process.

If this is the new Kodak-made emulsion, I think this may be my new go-to 100 speed film. I love Kodak Pro Image, but at $25-$30 for 5 rolls, and only available overseas, it’s nearly double the price of Lomography Color 100, which you can get all over the Internets for $10.90/3 pack, and at my local supplier for not much more. That’s cheaper than Fuji and Kodak stocks even, at the drugstore anyway, and with better results (to my eye) than either Superia 200 or Kodak Gold 200 (Fuji and Kodak don’t make a consumer 100 film as far as I know). In fact, 3 rolls of Lomography 100 are about a buck cheaper than 3 rolls of Kodak or Fuji 200, even from the NYC Superstores, so it’s a real bargain, I think, and if I wasn’t trying to shoot through all my stock, I’d probably order some up right now, to be honest.

It may curl a bit on drying, but I have solutions to that now, and the older versions of it may go a bit red, but that’s fixable in post, but it has great character to it, smooth grain, and it’s cheap enough and readily available.

Grain
Character
Handling
Processing

Overall, I’d give it 4.3 stars.

I know many of us love to hate Lomography and the whole hipster ethos around it, and let’s face it, some of the things they make just don’t appeal to everyone. (I kickstartered the Petzval 85mm, had big problems with it, solved them, then didn’t shoot it and ended up selling it, but I love my LC-A, Diana Mini, Sprocket Rocket, and Action Sampler.) But they’ve really done good things for the community, keeping film and toy cameras going through the darkest digital night, and coming up with great instant cameras and fun, if ludicrously expensive, toys. And Lomography continue helping keep film alive, even as some of the big players drop even more stocks, maybe we should ignore the hipster thing (it’s on its way out anyway) and support active player just a little bit.

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