Back in 2010, Lomography bought a jumbo roll color stock from a mysterious Italian film manufacturer, then stuck the film into cold storage in the Czech Republic for 7 years before slicing it up and releasing Lomography Color Negative F²/400 in 35mm back in 2017.
Well, earlier this year, they sent me an invitation to preorder some in 120, and I jumped on it.
To be honest, I’m not sure why. After shooting through 3 rolls of the 35mm (and gifting one, I think), I stuck 6 in the freezer to add to my retirement fund. I like the film fine, I guess. It’s a bit saturated and a bit grainy for my taste, and while still really great to be able to shoot some
expired Ferrania fresh Lomography stock, I prefer the look from other, more readily available film stocks, and when it arrived in mid-August, and after unboxing (not videoed, sadly), I promptly wrapped 8 rolls up and stuck them in the freezer with the others.
I ran a poll on Twitter to ask what camera should get the honor of the first roll. It received a whopping 4 votes: 1 for the Debonair, 3 for the Yashica Mat-124, and none for the Zero Image. So I loaded up the first roll and got to shooting.
The first stop was the Dallas Arboretum for it’s $2 days during August. Given a mere 12 shots from the Yashica, I decided to go ahead and load a roll into the Debonair, and have a sort of shoot-out.
I metered the film at 320 in the Yashica, and shot mostly on the sunny setting with the Debonair.
I don’t quite know what happened, but my keeper rate was far better from the Debonair than the Yashica, even though my Debonair has developed a light leak. Part of it is the speed: with limited ability to focus and only two apertures, the Debonair is much quicker to shoot than the Yashica, and I only took 4 or 5 shots with the Yashica, most very poorly metered. But the most of it is what I’ve come to realize as depression: a lack of interest, motivation, enthusiasm, arousal, and a feeling of general malaise, a ho-hum-ness to almost everything.
I’ve felt it since late July, throughout August, when the Lomography F²/400 120 arrived, and continuing on now. I think it has most of its root in the lack of social interaction I experience, now that my employer closed its office and moved us all to forced work-from-home. I also think it might have something to do with exercise… Since I started working from home, I started spending the time I gained from losing the commute in the gym. It’s helping: I’m stronger and now have some minor muscle definition. I haven’t lost any weight, but my clothes already fit differently. All from 2-5 days in the gym, and at least 4 days/week of cardio and weights. I suspect that the hormonal changes from suddenly-started exercise, combined with changed vitamin requirements, also play a role in my depression.
But anyway, boohoo, and may Allah guide me back to a path of gratitude and appreciation.
So after the Arboretum, it took me almost two weeks to finish the rolls, entirely around the house. It was near enough to Eid al Adha, and my darling, adorable wife put up the green fairy lights, and I shot the sunrise, sunset, and evening light. *yawn*
So how do I like the Lomography Color Negative F²/400? Well, it doesn’t have the widest latitude ever, or maybe I just shot it at too broad a range, and it’s grainy. And I mean, grainy. In some cases, it works, but not so much in others. And the color is a bit strange, too blue, too saturated overall. It dries flat enough, and is therefore easy enough to scan, but it’s very difficult to arrive at a satisfactory result after scanning. I think some issues might be mitigated, partly, by exposing at 200 or 250. It’s grainiest out of the Debonair, and I think exposures were roughly correct there; and it’s slightly less grainy, but maybe harder to color correct at 320 out of the Yashica. The latitude, though, can only be solved by shooting under different circumstances, and come to think of it, this would probably also solve some of the grain and color correction issues. Hummm… Anyway.
Overall, I’ll give Lomography Color Negative F²/400 in 120 3.3 stars.
Lomography’s Color Negative F²/400 sold out quickly in 35 and even more quickly in 120, and I don’t even see any on the ‘bay, so I guess I’m glad to have 6 of the 35 and 8 of 120 in the freezer, if only to pull out in a few years and sell, but I hope to come up with a purpose for it, and shoot it myself one day.