I was intrigued by the low saturation of Lomography’s Lomochrome Metropolis film so I took out a roll and set out to try it. There’s something about this film that I find very pleasing, the low saturation, some colors that just seem to come out like the reds. It’s hard to explain, it has the feeling of an old 1980’s film. Basically I had to go and try it out, see for myself and discover the hype about this film first hand and see what it could produce.
I loaded a roll in my Pentacon Six TL dropped a fresh battery in the TTL metered prism and rated the film at EI 200. All that was left was choosing the lens, and as my intent was to capture buildings and street scenes, I decided to use a normal lens that day. I opened up the breach lock and put in a wonderful Carl Zeiss Biometar 80mm. This is a beautiful, tack sharp, multi-coated lens with a very respectable maximum aperture of f/2.8.
The TTL prism is very good, I hear a lot of comments on the complexity of using it, but once you learn how to use it, it is really simple and accurate. Being an earlier example of TTL technology it’s a center weighted reading only, there is no spot meter option, and it’s not coupled and therefore more akin to a handheld meter.
The camera itself is big, and unlike most medium format camera it’s equipped with a curtain shutter. Basically it’s an oversized 35mm SLR. The Pentacon Six TL is a fully mechanical camera. It has its issues, but what camera doesn’t? The biggest one as far as I’m concerned is the film advance mechanism, it tends to have spacing issues if the film is not loaded precisely and the film winder is not used properly. The film must be advanced gently, and the winder cranked completely in one shot, it seems obvious but with the size of the winder, and its range of motion its not so obvious, but most importantly, it must never be allowed to snap back, it must be controlled on its return.
I took a walk in the Byward Market in Ottawa on a sunny summer Saturday morning. There were virtually no clouds, the sun was getting pretty high and provided harsh lighting. So I started to shoot and make the best of what I had.
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I started down York street, taking aim at the bars and local shops. Then came to the OTTAWA sign or is it the AWATTO sign? Having really bright conditions and the film being rated at EI200, this limited my options a bit, I could not isolate any subjects very well, everything had to be stopped down. I ended up using the top shutter speed of 1/1000 a lot and still could not open up beyond f/9.6 on a few frames. Overall the experience was nice. I even had the typical passerby question me about the camera, and the wow they still make film comments.
What did I think of this film? When shooting architecture, buildings and street scenes with it, it really works well, it’s not the sharpest film out there, I think that may be part of what gives it its appeal, and the low saturation is very pleasing with buildings.
I found myself pleasantly surprised, I’m a Kodak Ektar and Chrome shooter when using color film, I like the high Saturation and vivid colors and that made me really skeptical about this film, sure it looks interesting in other people’s work, but for me I wasn’t convinced. Turns out I really liked this film stock.
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