Regular readers will know that I’ve recently acquired a pair of film cameras. Unlike digital cameras (where the types of images created by modern cameras can be changed in Photoshop, or in camera by adjusting various parameters like saturation and colour, or even by adding built in effects which many entry level DSLR’s have these days), with film cameras, the only way to change the effect is to change the type of film you insert into the camera. And if you want something that looks truly different and especially vintage, then Lomography’s expandable range of redscale film might be perfect for you.
The make up of regular film has various layers. One of the top layers on the film will be sensitive only to the blue spectrum of light. Blue light is weak and therefore needs a lot of exposure to be able to have enough of it recorded. Hence why it sits on top of the film and gets exposed first. Red light – on the other hand – is very strong and so film doesn’t need as much exposure for it to be recorded accurately. So the layer of film sensitive to red is situated last. If one flips the film upside down, because the red layer has so much more exposure and the blue layer has so much less than normal, images come out with a very red colour cast. This allows for some very creative and different images. But the problem with this is that having all your photos looking red can become a bit tiresome.
Lomography have a solution to that: expandable range redscale film. This film has a sensitivity rating of 50-200 ISO, which means it doesn’t matter what sensitivity you’ve set your camera’s light meter to. As long as you’ve set it to between those sensitivities, you will get a correctly exposed picture. The effect this has on your images is that the colour and intensity of red will vary, depending on how much light the film has been exposed to. The higher you’ve rated the ISO of the film, the deeper and more saturated the reds will be. At 200 ISO, it will be almost like regular redscale film. 150 ISO will have some orange tint, 100 ISO will have a yellow tint and – at 50 ISO – the reds will be so weak that the images will take on a more golden tint. The beauty of this film though is that it can be pushed even further than that. The ISO rating can be pushed as low as 20 ISO. At those ISO’s, the film has a blueish-grey hue to it. It can also be pushed as high as 300 ISO. At that rating, it becomes a deep, dark red. It has a beautiful vintage look to it, regardless of what colour your images have come out as. It is a perfect film for beginners who aren’t confident in their skills with film cameras because it is almost impossible to mess up the exposure and it is one of the most versatile types of film; in that you can control the colour of the film without any filters, just by adjusting the camera’s light meter. It is quite cheap at roughly R150 for a box of 3 rolls and is available in both 35mm and 120 medium format. Even better than that is that it can be processed at regular one hour labs, so there is no need to hand develop. It is easy, cheap and cool film.