When cross-processed, every film reacts differently. Generally there is a boost in contrast and color, but most films vary in color shifts. For instance, Provia usually has a green cast while Velvia 100 usually has a red cast. Of course, even with each roll of film there can be different colors depending on the lighting conditions. Some don’t have a color shift, but instead enhance certain colors. Lomography 100 and Kodak EB 100 are good at producing high contrast without much of a color shift. But I’d like to talk to you about my favorite film…
Agfa CT Precisa
This is the most gorgeous film ever for cross-processing, IMHO. It produces a very strong contrast that’s perfect for shooting during cloudy days or in other low contrast situations, and it can really make you subject pop. The colors are saturated beautifully, especially blue. Agfa Precisa loooves blue.
Unfortunately, like many other things that seem too good to be true, Agfa Precisa is not made any more and is hard to come by. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also an imposter Agfa Precisa. I’m a little fuzzy on the details as to how this other film came about, but here’s what I know: Agfa sold their imaging division to another company, via management buyout in 2004. This company was called AgfaPhoto. A year later, they filed for bankruptcy, and the Agfa CT Precisa fell in the hands of the holding firm Lupus Imaging Media.
What does that all mean? I don’t really know. The point is that somewhere along the way a different film was introduced under the same name. Many lomo lovers have complained about buying Agfa at the suggestions of others only to find a strong green cast present amongst their photos. Some claim that after the original sell off, the following companies only rebranded the Agfa film and sold the remaining stock. However, with this sudden shift in color when cross-processing, I’d have to disagree. You could try and blame it on the fact that it’s expired film, but it’s only recently expired, and I don’t think that there would be that much of a difference in the images.
There are some who suggest that you can tell the difference by looking at the box, but I don’t think this is true either. I bought three rolls of Agfa CT Precisa once from Lomography. Two were the normal Agfa, and one was the green Agfa. They all looked the same. I imagine that Lomography bought up what remaning Agfa they could find and piled it all together so that the original Agfa and the new Agfa were mixed together. These are all just educated guesses based on what I’ve read. You can find lengthy discussions about the whole ordeal on Flickr, but everyone has a different opinion.
But not all is lost. Lomography makes some very good films which produce similar effects. In fact, the Lomography X-pro 200 120 film is made from the original Agfa RSX 200 emulsion. It may not be the same, but it still looks pretty fantastic.