FOMA B&W materials

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Bill Dobbs, May 21, 2007.

  1. Bill Dobbs

    Bill Dobbs Member

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    I have recently become aware of a company called FOMA from the Czech Republic. I understand that they produce b&w film and paper (amongst other products).
    Does anyone have experience with this brand? If so, how does it compare with Ilford or other brands available in North America?
    Your reply will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have just moved to Forma Action 400 for my fast 35mm, and to Forma 200 for 4X5. I like the tones and grain of Forma 400 better than TriX or HP5. I have Forma paper as well, both RC and FB, so far so good although I dont know if I will use Forma as my paper of choice as I am still experimenting.
     
  4. Bill Dobbs

    Bill Dobbs Member

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    Thanks Paul and Mark

    I'll look for Foma film. It might be a good replacement for other brands that are falling by the wayside. Now if it were only available in Canada...
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Bill,

    you may also be interested in testing their papers. I've only had experience with their Fomatone so far, but that has been nothing but pleasure so far.

    - Thomas
     
  6. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    I really like Fomapan 100 sheet film. Fomabrom N111 looks like a very promising paper.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm a huge proponent of their sheet film. I love the Fomapan 200 - it has become my primary film in 5x7 format (what I shoot the most). I also like their papers - I have tried their regular variable contrast fiber paper, as well as their "chamois" finish warmtone paper. If you want to see some images shot with their film, I have a large number in my gallery here (you'll see the film listed as Arista.EDU Ultra, which is in fact the Fomapan 200).

    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=21190&cat=500&ppuser=6785

    for example. That is a hand-coated palladium print on Bergger COT 320 paper.
     
  8. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I have used Fomatone MG classic for lith printing, on Tim Rudman's advice. It gave me the beautiful orangy-peach tone I was looking for in a particular pair of images. I think I will stick with Ilford Warmtone for normal warm and sepia toned images, but for the right application Foma is great.
     
  9. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Love their 200 speed sheet film, but still prefer Pan F and FP4, especially in 120 roll film. Tough to beat the sheet film price, especially for Freestyle's relabeled Arista version.
     
  10. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I've tried 3 different Foma papers (Fomabrom, Fomatone Glossy and Fomatone Chamois) and they all lith beautifully.
     
  11. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    Based on the work TheFlyingCamera have shown here and also the recomendation for the Fomapan 200 it is now becomming my main film in both 5x7 and 8x10
    It is a superp film for tonality and contrast for alternative work.
    And, the price can not be beaten.


    jan
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've been shooting a fair amount of the 200 lately in medium format. Here's a recent 6x-not-quite-17 in Acufine--

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Makes me want to put a sweater on . . .
     
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  15. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    The Fomatone Classic is so damn beautiful for lith printing that I almost don't want to waste it on conventional printing.

    Which leads me to ask -- how is it for conventional printing?
     
  16. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

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    If its economical for you (shipping prices) I strongly recommend the Arista Ultra.edu line. Its all Foma. I'm playing with Arista 200 shot at 100 ASA and it seems quite nice. I also have the Arista variable contrast fiber based paper, and that stuff is great. It develops as fast as RC, and to my aesthetic looks a lot nicer. Try some out!
     
  17. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I've been testing the Arista Edu Ultra FB paper from Freestyle. It has to my eye a slight warmth to it. I've been experimenting with a version of Ansco 130 that gives it a nice warm silver/black tone to the shadows with a slight warmth to the highlights. A very nice paper for the price.

    Jim
     
  18. efreddi

    efreddi Member

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    Hi Bill,

    I tried the Fomapan 400 Iso and I gave it up because it was not satisfactory, but a deeper investigation was necessary (I tried only very few rolls). On 35mm I use almost only Tri-X and the Foma was not the same. On 120 format maybe I could give it a try, but so far I'm sticking on Adox CHM 400 because it is the cheapest I can buy (I'm still learning how to use the Hassy...), for sure not the best one too.

    About the paper, I tried the multigrade RC, I don't rememeber the exact name. I have been really disappointed by it - I come from Agfa MCC and the Foma is not in the level: pretty thinner, I found some uneven coating and there are ESD taking the foils out of the bag (!!!!) that leave marks... never seen anything like this before.

    So, my point of view is that if you are on the budget side it can be worth to try Foma material, with some attention on the handling of the paper. If instead you want high quality, you have to look for something different.

    Regs



    Elia
     
  19. Trond

    Trond Subscriber

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    I've recently started printing on Fomabrom paper, and it looks beautiful to my eye. No issues regarding quality.

    Trond
     
  20. mjs

    mjs Member

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    I bought 50 sheets of Arista.EDU in 8x10 from Freestyle to try. I've been developing in trays in straight D76 and initially rated the film at ISO 125. After some over-exposed and over-developed negatives, I'm at 4 minutes in D76 at 68 deg. F. at ISO 200 and it's a lovely film. One issue, though: about 10-15% of my negatives have what appears to be a continuous roller mark on the back of the film sheet, about 1.5 inches from one of the long edges of the film (I believe the same edge which is notched,) extending from one edge of the film to the other and absolutely straight. The mark is very light and can only be seen holding the film at an angle to the light. The mark is definately not put there by the film holders. I haven't seen any trace of them on the work prints yet (although my printing of these negatives has not been extensive.) Has anyone else seen that?

    mjs
     
  21. dxphoto

    dxphoto Member

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    I am replacing Tri-X with foma 400 (edu ultra 400) as the everyday film. The first impression with rodinal was bad but d76 (1+1) archive better. it's not going to be as great as tri-x but its certainly better than forte and classic. the speed is around 320. but the latest 100' I am using seems to be 400. I tried foma 100 and 200. they are both great in rodinal. the 35mm film has solid base and it doesn't curl.

    I have no complains on their fb and rc paper.
     
  22. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    [On 35mm I use almost only Tri-X and the Foma was not the same.


    I agree that Foma and Tri-X are not the same, if you like the look of current Tri-X stick with Tri-X, but I think that Foma looks like an older version of Tri-X which I happen to like.
     
  23. Matthijs

    Matthijs Subscriber

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    I've been using Fomatone MG paper (fiber based, variable contrast) for some time now (conventional printing only, no lith stuff) and I'm very happy with the results. I have limited experience with other brands, but looking at my own prints, I can recommend the paper to anyone. In fact, I'll be loading up some more paper when I'm in the Czech Republic this summer.
     
  24. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I like the Foma films. I have a rather large stock of Tri-X 320, HP5+ and FP4+ in 4x5, and I don't use too much of it so it will be a while before I need any. I have no complaints with the stuff in 35mm and medium format though. The 100 stuff looks great in D-76 1+1 or Rodinal. The 200 and 400 versions are really good in D-76 or XTOL, but then what isn't good in D-76 or XTOL? For my purposes, all 3 films can stand a bit more development than the manufacturer recommends with these two developers. The 100 version is almost perfect in Rodinal at the recommended times.

    The variable contrast RC papers are a good value for the money if you buy them as the Arista.EDU Ultra brand. Certainly not in the same league as Ilford, and the now defunct Agfa and Kodak papers, but pretty good. It is thinner than some of the other RC papers I've used, but I don't see that as a particular disadvantage. If I have a really good negative, the prints look good. I never count on the paper to bail me out of a bad negative. The emulsion is slightly warm and tones well in selenium or two bath sepia. I've only done a few tests with the fiber based, variable contrast papers in both glossy and semi-matte finishes. These papers also tone well in the aforementioned toners, and have a much nicer finish than the resin coated products. I've not seen any QC problems yet.
     
  25. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've also used Foma products -- mostly 35mm film and VC RC paper (Fomaspeed Variant III 311, IIRC). I agree with much of what's been said, but have some points I'd like to make or re-iterate:

    • I like the 400-speed 35mm film, mainly because of the grain pattern, which I find subjectively appealing. I think part of it's that the grain seems crisper than the grain of most other ISO 400 films, even in developers that tend to produce softer grain. I've also used a fair amount of the 200-speed film, but I've shot relatively few rolls of the 100-speed film.
    • I've processed the film I've shot mostly in XTOL or PC-Glycol, both of which seem to work well. I've also used D-76, Rodinal, and DS-12 on some rolls, but not enough to really judge how they work.
    • In 35mm, Foma films have poor anti-halation characteristics. This isn't important for a lot of shots, but if you shoot at night with street lights visible or in the day with bright objects (reflective chrome, say), it can be an issue. I've heard that larger formats don't have halation problems, but I have yet to shoot any Foma in MF (as large as I've got).
    • Some people have reported quality control problems. There was a batch of ISO 200 35mm film that seemed to generate a lot of complaints a few months back, for instance.
    • I agree that the paper is thinner than most and is slightly on the warm side. It curls a bit more than some I've used.

    It's all subjective, of course; you might or might not like Foma products. They're certainly worth trying, though.
     
  26. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    i shoot primarily 4x5 foma 100. i love it. i use hc110 at 119:1 and i love it. i have been using it mostly for pinhole work (i just love shooting pinhole images!). the only complaint i have is its reciprocity figures are so slow. as a result i have been using a bit of Tmax for the super increase in speed. but i still favor foma100. most of my 4x5 pinhole images are shot with foma. please have a look.