Images shot on Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400 in Lomography LC-Wide
One weekend evening when I was sitting in front of my computer and had drunk a few light ales, I decided it’d be a good idea to buy a Lomography LC-Wide camera.
I think I’d gotten a little bored of shooting the Yashica Electro all the time, with its fixed length 45mm lens and kinda chunky body that makes it kinda inconvenient to casually walk around taking casual snapshots.
So whilst not cheap, the LC-Wide seemed a good departure from most of these issues. Yes, it’s still a fixed focal length, but 17mm is a lot different to 45mm.
It is small enough to put in your pocket though, and ergonomic and simple enough to whip out and shoot whatever takes your fancy without thinking too much about it. Which is the Lomo ethos, after all.
I’ve really enjoyed using it since, but things didn’t get off to a very good start. In fact, as I’m about to explain, they got off to a very bad one.
The first shots but not the first roll
The shots I’m showing you now are the first set I got out of the LC-Wide, as the first of the roll one up there confirms.
But this Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400 – which I also shot this poppy field on – wasn’t the first roll I loaded into it.
There was another before this. A roll of Ilford HP5 Plus which started off badly and then somehow got worse. I have nothing to present to you from that one aside from the story of what happened and how you can avoid doing the same with your LC-Wide.
My first mistake was walking around my village and shooting about ten frames with no batteries in the camera. Note that with the LC-Wide, the shutter will not fire if there are no batteries in it, even though it sounds like it is doing.
So all of those exposures – if we can call them that – would have been blank, had they have had the chance to get developed.
When I realised this, I put some batteries in and headed into Mansfield to hopefully salvage the rest of the HP5 with some shots from around the town.
This was going well until I went into a shop, took my hand out of my pocket, and the LC-Wide slipped off its wrist-strap and fell onto the floor, springing open the back and exposing the film in the worst possible way.
With no other film on me, the only thing I could do to avoid this being a wasted trip was to head into Boots and buy the roll of Superia X-Tra 400 that the images you see here were shot on. And some Ilford FP4 Plus too, because I’d never shot that before either.
So there I sat on a bench, in a bad mood, holding the LC-Wide in my backpack and loading this Fujicolor into it when I policewoman walked up and asked what I was doing.
She did look a little surprised when I told her I was putting some film in my camera, but then told me she’d asked because she could smell the distinctive scent of mary jane on the breeze and wondered if what I was doing with my hands in my bag was related to that.
After all this, I can’t say I was too enthusiastic about walking around and shooting anymore. But I hadn’t bought the LC-Wide to not do anything with it. Especially as I’d had to pay a hefty import tax bill a few weeks after it’d arrived from Austria.
Another Brexit benefit right there, folks…
But looking at the results, I’m glad I did get up and shoot even just the twelve photographs I’m posting here. Because some are actually not bad, and others have lessons I can learn from for shooting this Lomo camera in the future.
First impressions on shooting the LC-Wide
I’ve shot so predominantly with the Yashica Electro in recent years that its 45mm lens has become a normal focal distance for me.
I always appreciated the extra width that the 35mm lens on a point ‘n’ shoot like this Canon Sure Shot gave me, and I remember really, really enjoying shooting with a 28mm lens on the Nikon FM3a that I borrowed from a friend.
As you can see in that photograph of the viaduct arches though, the 17mm lens on the LC-Wide is on another level completely. I couldn’t believe how much of that scene I could fit into the shot.
Walking around and getting to grips with this camera wasn’t just about wide-angled cityscapes, though. The next image focussed on the donut man, with the width of the shot just allowing more background in there.
A couple of – lets them topical – signs at the Church of St Peter & St Paul follow, and then two images of shut down shops that are pretty hacky when it comes to shooting around British high streets these days, I feel.
The shot of the bananas on the market was one that I was pleased to see come out well, though. And when I say well, I mean with the bananas in focus.
The same is true of the first image on this post, with the face of the statue nicely sharp against the blurred background.
We’ll talk about these in more detail in the next section.
A couple of Lomography lessons learnt
The LC-Wide uses a zone focus system, with a little switch on the front giving you two options. These are from 0.4m to 0.9m, and from 0.9 metres to infinity.
The bananas and the statue were clearly within that first range when I shot them, but the phone box below must have not been. I’ve misjudged the distance on that one and should have either got closer or set the camera to the 0.9m to infinity setting.
We live and learn though.
Something else I learnt as I lived through the process of shooting these photographs and getting them back from the lab is that the parallax error is more pronounced when you’re shooting up at something.
If you’re not sure what that means, I’ll explain. Because you’re not actually looking through the lens when you look through the LC-Wide viewfinder, the camera is seeing your subject from a slightly different angle to how you are.
This can result in your composition being slightly off when compared to how you framed it in the viewfinder.
Thankfully, I haven’t noticed this happening much in general. It’s only been obvious when I’ve pointed the camera up at something, like the Bentinck Memorial in the final image below, and in other shots from other rolls of film in other places.
In all cases, the subject has ended up lower and there’s been more sky in the shots than I’d have ideally liked.
Wrapping up the first shots from the LC-Wide
From an exorbitant import tax bill to some ruined Ilford HP5, plus a policewoman thinking I was up to no good on the streets of Mansfield, it’s fair to say me and the LC-Wide didn’t have the best of starts.
But that’s all behind us now. I’ve shot a few more rolls after this Superia X-Tra 400 – which you can read about here – and have really enjoyed doing so. I’ve also got back a bunch of photographs that I’m really pleased with.
I also realised that Mansfield isn’t actually that bad a place to wander around with a camera. I even got some nice results from some 110 film from an hour or two spent walking around there.
It all started with this, though. With an uncharacteristically unenthusiastic walk around my town. But I must say that this was the only time I’ve shot this camera and not had a tonne of fun whilst doing so.
My definite favourites from these first shots are the statue and the donut man, but it wasn’t really about the results I got here being good or not.
More important was getting to grips with the camera, making and learning from a couple of mistakes, and knowing how to avoid them next time.
Because if I can go into Boots and buy some Superia X-Tra 400, load it into a camera that is very, very enjoyable to shoot and get results I like from it, then I’m not sure what else I’d need as a photographer. 🙂
- Great for Action or Low Light Shots
- Exceptional Color Reproduction
- Patented 4th color sensitive emulsion layer
If you enjoyed that post, why not take a look at these others to stay inspired or learn more about some other films I’ve shot:
And if you think others will find this post on getting to grips with the LC-Wide useful, help them find it by giving it a share 😀