Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR Film Review

A Unique, False-Colour Experimental Film With an “Extended” Dynamic Range

7 min read by Dmitri ☕️.

Lomography’s Lomochrome Purple XR is a false-colour film with an “extended” exposure range that delivers unusual colour renditions reminiscent of the elusive Kodak Aerochrome.

This film is made exclusively by Lomography (no rebrands!) in Germany. The current version of the film is labelled “Pétillant” and is available in 35mm, 120, and 110 formats.

In this review, you’ll see lots of samples I’ve shot on this film during the past three years of travel experiments and learn about ways to make Lomochrome Purple look better for your project — from exposure techniques to post-processing.

Purple isn’t the only colour the Purple film will render for you, which is why it’s very hard to emulate digitally. The proof’s below the fold.

Lomography Lomochrome Purple with Voigtländer Vitessa A.

Lomochrome Purple colours.

Lomochrome Purple belongs to a special group of false-colour films, which include the legendary Aerochrome and Lomochrome Turquoise.

In the Turquoise film review, I explained false-colour films in detail, but in brief: it’s not about colour accuracy but complimentary colours in the results. For example, a true-colour film would render green colours as green in print (complimentary), but Lomochrome Purple will sometimes make them look purple (non-complimentary).

 ☝︎ Further reading:Shooting Kodak Aerochrome vs. Lomochrome Purple.”

Lomography Lomochrome Purple Pétillant Edition film box.

The colour effect is not just a green hue replacement. With Purple, you’ll find that your darkest exposures will show more purple colours, but cool and bright green shades will remain green. Oranges, reds, and even yellows will be rendered as pinkish-red. The blues will drift slightly towards the green.

Ironically, the purples will look green with this film.

Another thing you’ll notice about Purple is that the fidelity of the colours it produces is limited. For example, films like Kodak Portra 400 can render a vast gamut of green colours, whereas the Lomochrome emulsion will render most greens in the same hue. You can use this to your advantage to “flatten” your scene (if that’s what you want) or consider choosing a scene with a variety of colours to add depth.

While a false-colour, Lomochrome Purple may still be used for portraiture. You won’t be able to get a natural-looking skin tone, but the hues it produces can still look flattering, definitely better than what you may get with Turquoise or Aerochrome. You can even see fantastic examples of Purple portraits on the boxes the new film comes in.

Lomography Lomochrome Purple with Voigtländer Vitessa A.

Exposure guide for Lomochrome Purple film.

It’s easy to meter for Lomochrome Purple. While Lomography does not publish any datasheets for the film, it appears to have a wide exposure latitude/dynamic range. Meaning it can preserve a good amount of detail in shadows and highlights. Over- and under-exposure tolerance is a byproduct of a wide dynamic range, which Lomography markets as Extended Range, or “XR” in the film’s name: Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR.

Along with their own terminology for the film’s exposure latitude, Lomography is also nonchalant about their film speed ratings. The suggested “box speed” for Lomochrome Purple is ISO 100-400. Thus, you can rate it ISO 100, 200, 400, or anything in between and then develop normally.

Lomochrome Purple does not have a DX code on the canister, which means that it will not work with certain point-and-shoot cameras that default to ISO 25 (i.e., Konica Big Mini F and Pentax Espio Mini). You can check the default ISO of your point-and-shoot camera by doing a quick search for the manual and reviewing the technical specifications section. But in most cases, you should have no problem shooting Lomochrome Purple in your point-and-shoot; I’ve shot some frames of it in my Yashica T5 and got good results.

Toy cameras, such as Diana Mini and Holga, don’t care about DX code; their shutters typically fire around 1/125s, and most examples have apertures between 𝒇8-𝒇11 — making Lomochrome Purple an excellent candidate for scenes in full sun, light overcast, and partial shade.

In a manual film camera, Lomochrome Purple can be persuaded to show stronger purple hues when metered as an ISO 400 film (i.e., err towards under-exposure) or lighter teal hues when metered as an ISO 100 film (i.e., err towards over-exposure).

Lomography Lomochrome Purple with Yashica T5, exposed at EI 100.

Scanning Lomochrome Purple film.

Scanning Lomochrome Purple is relatively easy. It will give you characteristic results with most default or custom scanning software settings. However, you are not locked into that look.

For example, I got good results by shifting the hues toward yellow and away from blue in the photograph below (using the Colour Balance adjustment layer in Photoshop). While it does not look like the other Purple scans in this article, this colour change allowed me to keep the rocky mountain face looking grey and the wooden sheds a shade of brown.

Keeping these recognizable elements looking somewhat realistic makes the picture stronger, in my opinion, as the purple effect now appears like an anomaly in an otherwise natural-looking landscape.

Lomochrome Purple, shot with Minolta TC-1 at EI 200 & colour corrected in Photoshop.

Lomochrome Purple may be colour-corrected to show almost natural-looking colours in some cases, like the grass under the mushroom in the photograph below. The mushroom cap looked light orange IRL, but as a result of my manipulation, it turned a shade of pink that you may sometimes find in a cake frosting.

Lomography Lomochrome Purple with Yashica T5.

Of course, you can edit your Purple film to show you cooler shades; it may even look good in a near-blue scale:

Lomography Lomochrome Purple with Minolta TC-1.
Lomochrome Purple with Olympus PEN FV & 150mm E.Zuiko Auto-T lens.

Lomochrome Purple grain structure, resolution, and sharpness.

Lomochrome Purple is grainy but not any more than you’d expect from a typical colour ISO 400 film. The grain appears sharp, which can crispen the images made with soft or cheap lenses — provided that you scan it with a good scanner.

Lomochrome Purple with Olympus PEN FV & 150mm E.Zuiko Auto-T lens. Some noticeable grain but an overall still smooth-looking half-frame diptych.

How much does Lomochrome Purple XR cost, and where to buy it.

Lomochrome Purple is a popular film. You may find it at many stores that sell film photography gear and most online marketplaces.

As of this writing, the film retails for an average of about $14 per box.

If you’re interested in film prices and would like to stay on top of them, the best way is to subscribe to the free semi-annual reports on film costs. I do all the hard work surveying a curated variety of film stores across the world on this and many other film stocks.

By the way: Please consider making your Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR film purchase using this link  so that this website may get a small percentage of that sale — at no extra charge for you — thanks!