Into their existing lineup of traditional (i.e. Color Tiger) and non-traditional (i.e. LomoChrome Purple) films, they were adding a new beast: LomoChrome Metropolis XR 100-400. With muted tones and a cool color balance, they pushed it for urban street photos. Instead I used it to shoot my normal junk.
Truth be told, it's difficult to take a Lomography announcement at face value. Is this a real item that they're hawking, or are they just putting a sleek package on garbage? A new product from them can go either way, like when they sell film damaged in production as a cool, new special edition. So we peel back the marketing blitz and model photos which would look good on any film stock, and take a look at Metropolis as it is.
I ran two rolls of the 35mm variant through my Nikon F80 using the 50mm f/1.8D Nikkor, metering at ASA 100. It was an overcast day, and I shot photos walking around the streets of Santa Clara, California, as I often do. Compared to the sample photos, subjects less urban, and absent the youthful and beautiful.
Plainly, this film mutes bright color, especially warm color, and brings out blues and greens in the shadows. Grain is big and visible, and contrast is high. Use this film on a colorful subject, and you'll see those colors in the image, but much lessened. Shoot this film at a colorless subject, and you'll get an image that's nearly monochromatic.
I shoot a lot of expired film. The muted look of Metropolis is different than that of expired film. And unlike LomoChrome Purple, which creates images so sharp they cut, the images here aren't ruined by edginess. In short, this film does what it says on the box. In that respect, it's successful.
This is a great way to consistently deliver that gritty, urban look that it promises. Is anyone going to design their own style around this? That would seem foolhardy. But is it worth dipping your feet into, running some through your cameras, playing with the results? Absolutely. And even if you decide it's just a gimmick (like so much of photo gear), it's a harmless one, costing nothing more than a few rolls of film and your time.
Like all the most inspiring photo tools, this Metropolis film makes me want to revisit the world through its eyes. I want to go out and shoot photos that I've shot before, but this time to see how they render on Metropolis. That's a great feeling, and why I ultimately recommend this film.
In specific, I've done the overcast suburb photos you're seeing here, so next I want to try this out in landscapes with challenging light, somewhere with bright sunlight, at night with people, and in the midst of an urban downtown. I want to continue to see how this film plays out. So I say, even if you didn't like previous LomoChrome films, do pick some Metropolis up, and give it an honest go. Lomography has stepped up their game with this film.