I first got into cross-processing when I bought my first Lomo LC-A back in 2000. The Lomos’ heavily vignetted lens seriously suits the effects of mucking around with slide film, and it’s not overstating to say that Lomography‘s popularity comes partly from it.
The number of slide films has dwindled considerably in the last decade – Kodak axed the last of its stable last year, and Fuji have whittled down theirs to a bare handful. One of the very best xpro films was made by Agfa, its’ CT100 Precisa. Precisa was a great consumer-level slide film, but really came into its own when it was cross-processed.
Instead of the garish, dayglo green of Fuji’s Provia or the purple haze of cross-processed Velvia, Precisa gave off deep blues and an atmospheric grain, boosted shadows and saturated colours (check out some of the best on Flickr). It was definitely the xpro film of choice, until Agfa pulled the plug in the mid-2000s. You can still buy a film that calls itself Precisa – AgfaPhoto CT 100 Precisa – but this is in fact Fuji Provia that hasn’t quite met Fuji’s quality control standards. Cross-process it at your peril.
In the last couple of years I’ve found a few stashes of the old film, mostly on eBay – enough, hopefully, for a few more years of xpro-ing. I’m trying to use it in as many cameras as possible too. My Zenit 3M, a 60s-era Soviet SLR I picked up for £20 a few years back goes well with xproing- the uncoated, old-school Helios lens lacks the surgical focus of modern lenses.
My biggest tip with cross-processing is to wait for bright light – so I waited until the autumn light was strong before heading to London’s South Bank book market, my favourite place in the city to people watch and take photos.