Beginners Guide

NEWCOMERS DICTIONARY

What is "vignetting" and what does it have to do with the LC-A+? What does it mean to "cross-process" a film?
What's the difference between a "pinhole" and a 'panoramic' camera?

One of the first things you'll notice when browsing the Lomography shop for the first time is that there are some pretty crazy terms thrown around. Don't worry, you'll find definitions for all kinds of photographic words on this page!

Camera Types

Medium Format Cameras
Cameras such as the Diana F+ and Lubitel 166+. They use 120 Film and produce super square images when developed.

Instant Cameras
Load an Instant Camera with Instant Film and you'll get photos in a matter of seconds. Check out the Lomo'Instant - the world's most creative instant camera! We also have Instant Backs available. Snap the LC-A Instant Back+ or Diana Instant Back+ onto an LC-A+ or Diana F+ camera and you'll turn it into an instant snap-shooting sensation.

Panoramic Cameras - With a panoramic camera, you'll capture more in every shot and get photos which are longer than usual. The Sprocket Rocket, Spinner 360° & Horizon all produce panoramas.

Pinhole Cameras - Cameras with a tiny hole (or 'small aperture' in photographic terms) and no lens - Because of this, pinhole photos often have a dreamy look. If you're interested in trying out pinhole photography, take a look at the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator; it's got 3 holes instead of 1 and allows you to use different color filters!

Fisheye Cameras - These cameras produce unique circular images. They have 170° wide-angle lenses, so you'll capture loads more than the human eye can see; they are also perfect for close-ups!

Multilens Cameras - Cameras with more than one lens; when you hit the shoot button, the lenses will fire and your final print will be made up of smaller images. The Actionsampler and Supersampler have 4 lenses so will have prints made up of 4 sequential images. The Oktomat has 8 lenses so has 8 sequential images on each print. The Pop9 has 9 lenses; each one fires at the same time, so each print will be made up of 9 identical images.

Film and Development

Once you've got your camera, the next step is to feed it with film! The world of film is so diverse it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, but this short guide will give you a good overview and set you on your way to shooting like a true analogue master.

Film Formats

35mm Film
Probably the most popular type of film out there, 35mm film can be used in a wide variety of cameras, from the legendary Lomo LC-A+, to the Spinner 360 and the Sprocket Rocket. It comes in small canisters and has small perforations along the edge of the film known as "sprocket holes". As it's the most popular film format available, you can still pick it up almost everywhere. It's also relatively simple get developed at photo labs and even some drug stores and supermarkets. There's a whole range of Lomography 35mm films for you to choose from!
Shop for 35mm film →

120 Film
One of the heavyweights of the film world, 120 film is a medium-format film which means it's much larger than many other types of film allowing it to offer a much higher level of quality and detail. Love square photos? Then 120 film in a camera like the Diana F+ or Lubitel 166+ is perfect for you. If you're a fan of breathtaking detail then a roll of 120 film and the Belair X 6-12 is your ticket to medium format paradise.
Shop for 120 film →

110 Film
Who says size matters? 110 film, also known as pocket film, is a tiny film format that allows you to discover entirely new perspectives. Having previously gone extinct, it enjoyed a glorious rebirth in 2012 when Lomography launched an entire new range of exciting 110 films along a new family of 110 cameras. It comes in small cartridges which also means it doesn't have to be rewound when the film is finished.
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Instant Film
Used exclusively with instant cameras, this film is fuss-free and doesn't require you to take it to a film lab for processing. The film develops within a few seconds, right in the palm of your hand!
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Film Types

Color Negative Color negative film is the most common film you'll find on the market. It's straight-up, straight-forward film that is processed by your lab (or you!) in C-41 chemicals. This is the stuff you can take to your local pharmacy and have ready in an hour - it's fast and fun and great for those gotta-get-it-quick moments.
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Slide Film Slide film (also known as Positive or Reversal film) is basically an alternative type of film to color negative. If you want your shots to be bright and vivid and dripping with in-your-face color, give slide film a whirl! It's processed in different chemicals to Color Negative in a process called E6. However it can still be developed in the C41 Color Negative chemicals for some truly surprising effects. This is known as X-Pro or Cross Processing and produces unpredictable, wild color shifts - which is exactly why it's so popular with Lomographers.
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Infrared
Infrared film is sensitive to infrared light and will result in photos which look different from what our eyes see. Often, trees and foliage will appear white, whilst skies will be black. It's a unique effect and produces some very cool looking photos! You can get Infrared 35mm and Infrared 120 film.
Shop for Infrared Film →

Instant
The type of film used in Instant Cameras. Instant film is discharged from the camera after the photo has been taken and develops by itself in front of your eyes - A clever kind of film indeed!
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Expired
Like a lot of things in life, film has an expiry date. Traditionally this is the date when people stop using the film but Lomographers have found that expired film can produce some really interesting results. Sometimes shots will be vague and ghostlike; other times, you'll get crazy color shifts. The best thing about expired film is you never know what results you'll get!
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Black and White
Fancy giving your shot that super vintage, classic look? Then why not go for black and white film! Black and White is also a great choice for playing with different contrasts and light conditions. Black and White film is usually developed in different chemicals to color films so it's a good idea to check with your friendly lab technician first!
Shop for Black and White film →

Redscale
The redscale technique was one whereby crazy photographers would reload their film backwards and shoot through the semi-transparent layer on the back. Normally, this would have been done by winding the film upside-down into an empty film canister. The result was often gorgeous splashes of fiery reds, oranges and yellows! Channelling this creative spirit, we have now released a range of different redscale films with the film already loaded backwards. All you have to do is shoot and start getting creative!
Shop for redscale film →

Photographic Terms

Aperture
The word 'aperture' refers to the size of the hole that allows light into the camera. Simply put, a big aperture means a lot of light will be able to enter the camera when you take a photo; a small aperture will mean less light will be able to enter the camera. A lot of cameras allow you to adjust the aperture but some have a fixed aperture.

ISO
A film's ISO number refers to its speed or sensitivity to light. A film with a low ISO number (such as 100) will be less sensitive to light and will generally produce less grainy photos; it's best to use films of this speed on clear, sunny days. In contrast, films with a higher ISO number (such as 800) will be more sensitive to light so it's better to use them on cloudy days.

Cross-Processing (X-Pro)
A firm favorite of the Lomographic community. The terms 'Cross-processing' or X-Pro' refer to developing your film using the traditionally 'wrong' kind of process. So you develop a color slide film using negative chemicals, or vice-versa. Cross-processing often produces wild, crazy and exciting colors. Read our Guide to Cross-Processing for more information!

Multiple Exposure
A multiple exposure (or MX) photo is one in which two or more photos are taken on the same frame. A lot of Lomography cameras allow you to take multiple exposures; a few of them are the LC-A+, LC-Wide, La Sardina, Diana F+, Diana Mini and Sprocket Rocket.

Half-Frame
Half-frame cameras allow you to take 2 photos on 1 standard 35mm frame. This means that you can take 72 photos on 1 roll of film instead of the standard 36! Two Lomography cameras have a half-frame option; the cute Diana Mini and talented LC-Wide - Check them out!

Sprocket Holes
Sprocket holes are one of the characteristics of 35mm film. They are little perforations which run along the edge of the film roll; sprocket holes hook onto the sprockets in your 35mm camera. Usually they aren't exposed when you take a photo; but with cameras such as the Sprocket Rocket and Spinner 360, you can expose the sprocket holes for some beautiful and unique looking photos!

Wide-angle
A wide-angle lens captures more than a standard lens, so you'll see more when you get your photos developed! A few Lomography cameras with wide-angle lenses are the LC-Wide, Sprocket Rocket and La Sardina.

Vignetting
The word vignetting refers to a reduction of brightness at the corners of a photo. This effect comes naturally to a lot of Lomography cameras and produces very artistic results by drawing attention to the center of your photo.

Saturation
This word refers to the brightness of a photograph's colors. A heavily saturated photo will be full of colors and contrast. Many Lomography cameras produce naturally saturated photos, especially when their films are cross-processed.

More Terms in the Lomography Photo-glossary

UNDERSTANDING ISO RATINGS AND FILM SPEED

When choosing a film you'll always see a corresponding ISO number. But what does this mean? The ISO number that you'll find written on each film is an indication of the film speed. This will tell you just how sensitive the film is to light. The lower the number then the less sensitive your film is to light and the finer the grain and vice versa. What does that mean? Well if you're shooting somewhere with a lot of light e.g. outside on a sunny day, you'll need a film with a lower ISO number (100 ISO is perfect for sunny days!).

Whereas if you're shooting in low light scenarios, it's much better to go for a higher number although keep in mind the higher the ISO number is, the higher the chance is that the picture will start to get grainy.

What's cross processing?
The prime choice for outrageous colors. This consists of developing a slide film as if it were a normal color negative film. Merely ask your local lab technician (nicely) to process your slide film in C-41 (normally used for 35mm color negative) and see what you get out of it. By using the "wrong" chemicals, the colors become displaced and your image explodes with brightness, saturation, and contrast. The unpredictability of results is perfect for the Lomographer and gives the photo an even softer edge. Each film and laboratory will produce different results - which is part of the reason we love it.

What does it mean if film is expired?
Just like bottles of milk, film comes with an expiry date that you'll usually find on the outer film package. Don't worry, they don't start to smell bad and actually we as Lomographers love them. Film can usually still be used many years after the expiry date passes. But here's the fun part - when film does expire, things can sometimes start to get a little crazy. Unpredictable results, strange color shifts and much more!
Tip: If you have a film that's close to expiring and you feel like keeping it nice and fresh, then why not keep it in the fridge? It'll help preserve the film for much longer!