25 Lomos: 9. Xpro Big Ben

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The Lomo LC-A, designed in the last decade of the Soviet Union, could have become nothing more than a curio.

But thanks to the Lomographic Society, the little compact morphed into a variety of different cameras (all of which are profiled in this post on Kosmo Foto).

After the souped-up Lomo LC-A+ – which added such revolutionary features as a cable socket, multi-format switch and ISO up to 1600 – Lomography went back to the drawing board in 2011 and came up with a new Lomo designed to fit even more of the world into the frame.

The Lomo LC-Wide sports a 17mm Minigon lens and a format switch that helps turn it into a half-frame camera or a square-format shooter.

An LC-Wide had been high on my shopping list for some time before Lomography’s UK operation gave me one to try in the summer of 2012. Eager to see just how much it differed from its earlier cousins I criss-crossed central London with a bag of free film.

A whole weekend, with nothing more important to do than shoot a few films? It’s what every photographer dreams off.

One of the packs of film Lomography gave me was their now defunct Xpro Chrome – rebadged Kodak Elite Chrome 100. Along with the original Agfa Precisa this was the best film for cross-processing. No wonder Lomography did a deal to put their own branding on them.

I wandered along London’s South Bank, the very best place in London to test a camera – there’s such a wealth of subjects and rich hunting ground for those wanting to practice street shots.

This was taken on Westminster Bridge, just as the strong sunshine pushed through the clouds. Big Ben looks almost silhouetted, a combination of the backlight and the cross processing’s exaggerated contrast. There are shining edges on the shadowed figures to the side.

The LC-Wide was, quite simply, revelatory – almost twice as much world packed into every frame. I was hooked.

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