Before I get into the two rolls of film, I feel like I need to introduce Lomokino. Lomo + kino.
The word “kino” in German roughly translates to “movie theatre,” so it probably won’t surprise you that the Lomokino (designed by Lomography) is an analog motion picture camera that shoots with 35mm film (not the typical 8mm film that motion picture cameras tend to shoot with).
Why do I bring this up? Because in 2018, Lomography launched a new line of film stocks… Kino!
These film stocks were inspired by none-other-than classic movie films. The first of the bunch was Berlin Kino – the 400 ISO film stock that was inspired by the New German Cinema movement. It was designed with delicate grain and soft midtones.
In 2019, they updated the formula with the launch of their Potsdam Kino 100 ISO filmstock. The new (2019 version) Berlin Kino is the film stock you can find in stores today.
Cameras, Lenses, Developing, and Scanning Used for this Comparison
For this comparison, I tried to keep everything as consistent as humanly possible.
I shot with two 35mm manual cameras with 50mm lenses. The settings on the cameras were exactly the same when shooting (although, it’s important to note that all cameras are different with different quirks). However, it’s safe to say it’s a pretty fair comparison.
Both rolls of film were developed with Kodak HC-110 dilution B (1 part developer + 31 parts water).
They require different development times, so they were developed separately. Shot and developed at box speed: Berlin Kino requires 7 minutes at the above dilution; Lady Gray requires 5.5 minutes at the above dilution.
The Differences Between Lomography Lady Gray and Berlin Kino
I was expecting the differences to be subtle. But after scanning, they aren’t subtle at all.
From these rolls, it looks like Lomography Lady Gray has more dramatic contrast than Berlin Kino. Lady Gray photos feel richer with more depth. Whereas it looks like Berlin Kino takes the midtones and neutralizes them by making everything more gray and less black and white.
Since Berlin Kino was inspired by movie film, it makes sense that the images are a little more dreamy and less drastic.
Personally, I’d probably love Berlin Kino for portraits – you can get those soft, dreamy tones. Where Lomography Lady Gray might be better for documentary or street photography.
But regardless of what you decide, I really don’t think you can go wrong – both film stocks are fantastic and a lot of fun to shoot.