Film Review: Lomography Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400

No one can get photographers to buy an expensive roll of grainy, experimental film quite like Lomography can. With their Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400, Lomography boasts a new film that “intentionally renders false colors, where blue becomes green, green becomes purple, and pink becomes yellow.”

Lomography released its purple film back in 2013 and despite its high price at $12 per 35mm or 120 format roll, the largest film retailers are still having trouble keeping it in stock.

After several days of deliberation, I bought a roll of the 35mm to see if this product could live up to the hype and shot it on my vintage Minolta X-700.

Even before seeing the images, this film is fun to use. While shooting, it made me consider which colors I included in my images to get the greatest effect.

There is also a huge novelty factor. After scanning my film and sharing the images on my Instagram, even non-photographers seemed interested in how the color shifts are an in-camera effect, not a filter.

This film’s claim to fame is the way it shifts greens to purple, creating an effect that looks similar to infrared film. With this in mind, I used the film in areas with lots of green grass and leaves. Without any kind of editing, the green turns a vivid bluish purple.

Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400
Image taken on Purple Lomochrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400

Underexposed images, however, really suffer. The color shifts change and the purple looks less prominent. This film has a range of 100 to 400 ISO, but I would recommend giving a little extra light regardless.

Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400
Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400

Portraits, however, looked better than I expected. The film’s description said that the color shift would not change skin tone, but I wasn’t sure whether to believe it. My boyfriend Ethan and I do look a little pinkish in the photos but Lomography, for the most part, was right.

Beyond the color green, color shifts on this film are fairly unpredictable. For example, in the image below, Ethan’s shirt was a light red which turned a forest green on film. Meanwhile, my blue jean shirt remained about the same color only slightly greener and brighter.

Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400
Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400

Here are some other sample images I shot on this film:

Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR
Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400
Image taken on Purple LomoChrome
Minolta X-700, Purple LomoChrome XR 100-400

I was satisfied with the results and definitely plan to shoot more rolls of this film. I didn’t mind the film’s unpredictability though more precise photographers might. Not every image will go according to plan on this film, but that’s what experimental film photography is about.

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