Film Photography

Shooting Lomography Redscale XR 50-200

Draped flag

I forget who gave me this roll of Lomography Redscale XR 50-200. Perhaps Stephen Dowling of Kosmo Foto? Perhaps the kind people at Analogue Wonderland? Well, it was somebody, and if it was you, I’m sorry I can’t recall.

Wherever it came from, it’s been rolling around at the bottom of my film box for at least two years now. There’s just never been a time when my subjects would have benefited from a strong red cast! But I’m busy shooting up everything in that box, and this roll’s number came up. I loaded it into my Pentax ME, which already had a 50mm f/1.7 SMC Pentax-M lens attached, and took it with me everywhere I went for a while.

You’re supposed to be able to control the red by setting ISO anywhere from 50 to 200. The more light you let fall onto this film, the less red effect you get. I set my Pentax ME right in the middle at EI 100 and got mighty, mighty red images.

W
Happy 10th
XOO OOX XOO

It turns out you need to shoot this film in direct, bright sunlight. Shadows come out muddy and underexposed.

Windswept
Pond
Down the country road

This shadowy tree-tunnel shot turned out okay, though.

Tree tunnel

If I had another roll of this stuff I’d shoot it at EI 50 to try to tone the red down. I tried to tone it down in Photoshop, but I couldn’t manage it without introducing other deleterious effects. These images are all straight of the processor’s scanner.

Chair on the deck

I know that plenty of film photographers love films that give them unusual looks like this. I’m not among them. As I looked through these scans for the first time, I wished I’d shot many of these scenes with one of my usual color films. Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 just isn’t my jam.

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18 thoughts on “Shooting Lomography Redscale XR 50-200

  1. Lone Primate says:

    Heh, I guess I am among those people, but then, I’ve had two digital cameras refurbed to shhot infrared. I thought some of these shots were really compelling for the strange otherworldliness of them… the shot of the pond in particular. Some are kind of ordinary, like the barn side, but others, like strret shot and the drive-in (?) really make me feel like some strange and terrible is going on. I was left wondering how to fake this look up in Photoshop! :D

  2. I’m more of a documentary photography so not a huge fan of this type of thing for my own images. However, it certainly works in some cases especially the flag. It really is extraordinary.

  3. P says:

    I’m with you, Jim. Whether it’s redscale, or any other “special effects” film, I just don’t see the point. In my opinion it entirely defeats the purpose of shooting film. To each their own, but I just don’t get it, especially when most of these films cost a hefty premium over the already exceedingly expensive normal stocks.

    • I have a roll of the Lomography Purple to shoot and I’m dragging my feet. I’ve seen some good results on it but it demands a certain kind of light. Maybe I should put it in a camera and just get it out whenever I find the right light, rather than just shoot it up as I did this roll of Redscale. But after that I think my experimenting with alt-films is over.

  4. Where would we be without experimenting Jim? You shouldn’t have any regrets. You’ve tried and understood that it’s not for you.
    Some shots reminded me of Terminator 2:Judgment Day (when everything gets wiped out in red/orange colours)
    I think this particular look can work with a certain theme or in a certain project. I dig the landscapes.

    • It’s opportunity cost. The whole roll I kept thinking, “I know this would look great on Fujicolor 200 or Ektar, I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t look great on this film.” And then I was right, and I was disappointed! At least the shot of the flag turned out well.

  5. My understanding is that “red scale” film is nothing more than ordinary color negative film spooled backwards, so you’re exposing it through the base. But even if I’m wrong about that, I’ve never seen the point. As you’ve noted, there are few scenes that actually benefit from the effect. And if you really want that effect, it should be easy enough to create it from a scan of normal film in Photoshop. That’s what I did for black and white pictures before I switched to a digital camera. Starting with a full-color image offers opportunities for controlling tones in the final black and white image by adjusting the intensity of different colors.

    • I suppose it depends on what kind of photographer you are. Some people really do like the roll-of-the-dice nature of these kinds of films, and enjoy seeing what they get.

  6. Thank you for sharing. Not my cup of tea either, unless perhaps for a special project. But if we were all the same life would be boring and we would never discover anything new!

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