I Shot a Roll of Lomography Colour 800 at ISO 3200 by Bas Schurink

Pushing Lomo 800 to ISO 3200
with Rodinal Pre-Flash

While planning my visit to Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam, I couldn’t make up my mind and kept wondering which film to use:

Should I bring Portra 400 or maybe Portra 800? Should I shoot 35mm or 120?

The Right Film for the Right Place

As a natural doubter, I couldn’t settle on one film and kept thinking almost until the last minute for a film that would suits my needs.

I checked online how Portra looked pushed to 1600, but thought this wouldn’t be enough and it looks like I was right… To figure out what would work best, I looked at some EXIF data of pictures taken by visitors at the museum and found out that most of their shots were sitting around ISO 4000.

Wow, it is dark over there in the museum!

While I was still on a journey to get the right film, I found a tip on a forum to “pre-flash” the film with Rodinal when pushed. I did found an example of the Lomography Colour 800 pushed to 3200 and pre-flashed in Rodinal, which was good enough to convince me to try this method.

What is Film Pre-Flash?

How does this pre-flash works, I needed to know more about that!

So again Google was my best friend but even if there wasn’t much information available, I found that pre-flash is used on both, black & white and colour film, to increase shadow details in high contrast scenes. This brings the shadows to a higher zone. Ansel Adams himself was using this technique and describes it in his famous book “The Negative”.

Anyway, even if I couldn’t find much about it, especially when it comes to pre-flash colour film, I decided to take the risk! If things did not worked out, I should get back and try again. Failure means that I’ve learned something, so no big deal.

For my visit to the museum, I bought a pack of Lomo Colour 800. I decided to shoot on my Mamiya M645 and a Mamiya Sekor 55mm f/2.8 lens. This lens will reflect an angle of view from about 35mm in 135 format and the f/2.8 aperture should give me enough light while retaining a decent shutter speed.

Well that was the plan I took. I learned over years to plan things before visiting places. For success, planning ahead is for me a major factor. Before visiting the museum, I spent a quit a while on planning this trip and making plans.

The day finally arrived and off we go to the Rijksmuseum museum!

As I am not living in Amsterdam, I’ve parked my car outside the city and went with public transportation to the museum. Arrived there, I’ve spooled in my roll of Lomography Colour 800 and set the metered prism finder of my Mamiya to ISO 3200.

Wow we’re finally getting started! I was really curious how this would go. First we visit the Library, which is one of the most important Art libraries of the world.

Then we went to the Gallery of Honor, which contains many important paintings, like The Nightwatch and The Milkmaid. As a big fan of Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings, it was a real pleasure to see them with my own eyes.

My visit to the museum took about 3 hours and I’ve seen so many beautiful pieces of art. At home, I could not wait to develop the roll of film. With all those beautiful paintings in my mind, I needed to develop the film tonight.

The Development Steps & Rodinal Pre-Flash

Depending on the size of your development tanks, values may be different but for today’s recipe, all measurements are based on the 500ML dilution.

For my C-41 development I use the Cinestill CS41 Kit.

Before you start prepare the following:

  • Make a solution of Rodinal,  dilution 1:100, which makes 5ml of Rodinal for 500ml water at 20 degrees Celsius.
  • Heat up your C-41 developer and Blix to 39 degrees Celsius.

Rodinal Pre-Flash:

  1. Pre-soak the film in water at 20 degrees for 5 minutes.
  2. Empty your developer tank.
  3. Pour the tank with the Rodinal solution for 10 minutes.
  4. Agitate for first 30 seconds ( approx 10 sequences of agitation/inversions).
  5. Leave it stand and agitate once again at 5 minutes (1 agitation/inversions).
  6. When the 10 minutes are over, empty the tank.
  7. Rinse with water at 40 degrees Celsius and fill the tank 5 times.

Developing & Pushing:

Now start your C-41 developer as described by the manufacturer’s instructions. I used a one stop push, as I like to push most of my films in dev with one push.

For 1-stop push with the Cinestill CS41 kit proceed as follow:

  1. Pour the developer in your tank for 4:33 (fresh developer, extent 2% per each developed roll). Agitate every 30 seconds 4 inversions.
  2. After the time, empty the tank and pour in the blix for 8 minutes. Agitate every 30 seconds 4 inversions.
  3. When you’re done start rinsing the film with fresh water for 3:30 or fill and dump with a minimum of 7 times.
  4. When done all this, you can add a wetting agent or stabiliser for 1 minute.
  5. Hang your film to dry and wait.

First Impression

First impression of the negatives was mwah looks good. The negatives were not very thin, but not thick also. Next day I set up my Digital Camera to start scanning. I scanned the negatives from the light panel and with my digital camera then opened the cropped images into Photoshop and inverted them.

When seeing the first results I was really impressed. The results were above all my expectations! The grain looks very pleasant and the color rendering was so nice.

With just some minor adjustments the film looked so good! Will I do this again, is a big YES and can’t wait to print some of them. 

More Samples

Visiting the Rijksmuseum? Here’s a tip for you

If you ever want to plan a visit to the museum, be aware you can’t bring any photo bag. The site of the museum states a bag with maximum size of A4 will be allowed, I thought mines would fit the dimensions, but it was too big.

They have lockers and a cloakroom were you can put your jacket and bag. Be aware no suitcases, because they don’t have enough space to store them.

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