Foma film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by John cox, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. John cox

    John cox Member

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    I'm sure this has been asked alot but I can't find anything on it. I'd like to try out Foma and want to know how their film behaves before buying the film. I've heard the 400 is more of a 200 and the same type of things about the 200 and 100. I'd also like to know what to expect for contrast, latitude, grain, etc.
    Also is there one of the three that would be recommended over the others? I would prefer to buy 20 or 30 boxes of one of the three to get a feel for it and get good results. I will be shooting 120 or 35mm.

    Thanks in advance,
    John
     
  2. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    It has a more vintage look, which I like. What I don't like is the film seems to be very curly and scratches a little easier than most.


    Kent in SD
     
  3. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I'm surprised you didn't find a bunch of results. Searching for "fomapan" might work better than just "foma".

    Basically, the films are grainy for their speed and many people downrate them by a stop; some people really like their spectral response. Fomapan 200 is something of an oddball, with a different grain structure---some people really love it. The 120 films are coated on a blue base, which startles people the first time they see it.

    To my taste, Fomapan 100 is pretty grainy for routine use in 35mm, but fine in larger formats. Your taste may vary. I didn't find that Fomapan 400 had anything extremely special about it, but it was a perfectly good faster film, and I found it came out pretty close to box speed in HC-110.

    -NT
     
  4. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Try search for Arista EDU, it's the same stuff rebranded. Lots of discussion.
     
  5. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I've wondered the same thing, mostly about 4x5 and mostly because it's half the price of everything else (or, a foma100 50 sheet box is the same price as a 25 sheet box of FP4).
    What do you mean by "vintage look", is it just larger grain? Or some unmeasurable 'look'? If I go a box of 4x5 100 I'd be devving in Rodinal, would that help with whatever 'vintageness' it has?
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I'm not sure I know what a "vintage" look is, really; there are so many variables attributable to so many different aspects of the process. Grain itself looks "vintage" to some people, as contrasted with the grainless look for which a lot of t-grain users strive. So do empty shadows, sometimes. But if you really want viewers to go "OMG V1NT4G3!!1!" about a photo, sepia-tone it and put it in a gilt frame...

    -NT
     
  7. damonff

    damonff Member

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    I like the Foma 200 look, developed in PMK Pyro, semi-stand, 30 minutes: childrensDAY (9 of 9).jpg
     
  8. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    What I mean by vintage is there is more pronounced grain, and there seems to be less contrast.
    I use it in my 1942 Leica, 1928 Bergheil, 1914 Kodak Special No. 1. It does not look the same as modern films such as TMax and Delta, and for me that's a good thing. My "standard" films are FP4, HP5.


    Kent in SD
     
  9. Light Guru

    Light Guru Member

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    A good way to see images shot on a particular film is to search that film on Flickr.
     
  10. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    FOMAPAN 100 is best in the larger formats, where grain is not really a problem very often. In the UK in 8x10 it costs £99.95 for 50 sheets, compared with £124.15 for a box of Ilford FP4 Plus with only 25 sheets in it. It has a distinctive grain but it also has a wide tonal range. It responds very nicely to being developed in a compensating developer such as DiXactol, 510-PYRO, Caffenol, or OBSIDIAN AQUA. If you use roll film then a compensating developer used with a semi-stand regime is almost a must if you want to preserve texture in the highlights.

    FOMAPAN 200 is weird. It is never in this world a 200 ISO film. Reciprocity is a source of amazement too. You would be wise to use 100 ISO in your meter... However, it is a film capable of rendering very pleasing tones and again responds very well to compensating developers to preserve highlight texture.

    Someone else will have to tell you about FOMAPAN 400 as I haven't used it (yet).

    If you really do want to start with one film from the range and you are happy with 120 then FOMAPAN 100, rated at 80 ISO and developed in OBSIDIAN AQUA would be a good choice (and not heavy on your pocket as OBSIDIAN AQUA is diluted 1:500 as standard and is dirt cheap to make up anyway).

    The 120 roll film versions are lively and don't lay flat as easily as Ilford film does. If you intend to scan the negatives you ought to make sure you use a holder that has Anti-Newton Ring glasses to lay on top of the negatives in the holder...




    RR
     
  11. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2013
  12. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I use a lot of Arista EDU 400 in medium format and 4x5. I usually use an EI of 200 but I use it at box speed as well and don't mind it. At 6x6 or larger I do not find the grain objectionable at either speed. I don't use it in 35mm though.

    I do use Arista EDU 100 in 35mm because it is really hard to beat the price of a 100 foot roll with anything else. However, I do like it just fine and once my stock of bulk TMX100 runs out I will probably move to the bulk Arista EDU 100. I do find I prefer it if I shoot it at EI50 but it also works just fine at 100.

    I am sure you know, Arista EDU film stock is made by Fomapan and sold by Freestyle so it is the same film.

    One disclaimer I need to make. I have only been enlarging to 8x10 so I really haven't been stressing anything too badly. :smile: A lot of the people here are probably enlarging way past that so there comments on grain are probably from looking at much larger prints. I have recently picked up some 11x14 Ilford paper but I haven't used any yet because I didn't have developing trays that were large enough. I may change my mind when I see things enlarged to that size but I kind of doubt it. I suspect my own technique will turn out to be more of an issue then grain.
     
  13. ArgentixCa

    ArgentixCa Advertiser Advertiser

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    Good day John!
    As far as I may be concerned, the Foma line of films (100,200 and 400) is a stable product.
    It carries on a vintage look, and gives you an interesting exposure latitude allowing usage in push- and pull- processing.

    By the infos I have, the Fomapan 200 is a tabular-grain emulsion.


    If you want to save on Shipping, Customs and etc., come visit my website. http://www.argentix.ca

    Great day to all!
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Fomapan are films that are interesting, especially the 35mm versions, because their antihalation coatings are not very efficient. When you shoot direct light you often notice a 'halo' kind of effect in light/dark adjacencies. In photographs with no 'hard edges' of dark/light it looks kind of like severe flare.
    This means that often when there is direct light in the scene, there is halation and that 'halo bloom'. But when there isn't direct light, the film has a tendency to look a little bit flat, so it's a lot more of a balance act than any other film I've ever tried.

    The 120 film has better antihalation coating. Today it is no longer on a blue base, but a clear base. It has very similar tonality to the 35mm film above, but doesn't bloom as much in the dark/bright adjacencies.

    Sheet film wise, I've shot 5x7 400 and 4x5 100 - they are both very much like the 120 in terms of performance.

    All in all it's a fine film. The emulsion, when wet, is a bit softer than the likes of Kodak and Ilford, so tread carefully.

    Hope this helps!
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    The "vintage" look comes from the fact that the films are not true panchromatic but more ortho-panchromatic (they're not as red sensitive as say Tri-X or FP4+), so they give a look more like old-school emulsions from the 40s and 50s. They may not give as high a contrast when exposed and processed according to box instructions, but folks who do alternative process work love them for printing because they build contrast so easily through manipulated development. I love the Fomapan 200 in 5x7 - at that negative size, grain is non-existent, and they make beautiful platinum prints. I typically rate the 200 at 100 to improve shadow detail.
     
  17. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Could you tell me what you mean with: "they build contrast so easily through manipulated development."
    Until now I used digital negatives for (learning) the alt-processes like Bromoil, salt printing, gum printing, carbon printing and albumen printing.

    I want to start making "real" analogue negatives from now on, so this is interesting. :smile: I have an old Russian FKD plate camera (18x24 cm) and several 5x7" film sheet cassettes (but no 5x7" camera yet) for making these negatives.

    (please PM if too much off topic, thank you)
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Very good point about spectral sensitivity, Scott. I left that out in my analysis.

    Most Fomapan films I find need less development time for the same contrast index than other films, like HP5 or Tri-X.
    Which one can control, of course. But I imagine that the contrast expansion is very useful to you and other alternative process folks who need much higher contrast than silver gelatin material.
     
  19. rbender

    rbender Member

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    I have been shooting it for the last 4 years and love it. Foma's QC is not as good as the big 3 so you find an occasional glitch and it's emulsion is more sensitive than the others. I use both the 400 and 100 in 120 with less development than suggested, you have to do your own testing to figure that out. What Thomas and Scott said above are some of the reasons why I like it. You don't know until you try it, in the end it's all a personal preference.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you want to use it for alt process printing, you need a negative with a longer tonal scale, how much depends on the process you're printing. With Platinum/Palladium, you need a modest amount of overdevelopment. With Albumen or Salt, you need more. I expose my platinum/palladium negatives normally, then overdevelop. There are lots of recommendations about the exact way to achieve the proper expanded contrast range - I've been doing it by running my developer at 75F instead of 68F, but keeping my times the same. Other folks will prefer to use a longer time in the developer. The reason I arrived at running the developer "hot" was that in the summertime, the coldest water I can get out of my tap is 75F, and I didn't want to be playing around with alternating adding ice cubes and warm water to a tempering bath to keep my developer consistent at 68.
     
  21. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    May I suggest that you only buy a couple of rolls of each speed at first. It is entirely possible that you may dislike one or all of them. Second tier manufactures like Foma do not have the best reputations for quality control.
     
  22. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Funniest thing I've read on apug in awhile! I'm imagining someone actually saying that with words and stuff. Thanks for the laugh.
     
  23. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    All the careless manufacturers are extinct these days. Over the last five years Foma have also made investments in quality control and certification - it's not a setup like the unfortunate-but-sadly-missed Efke.
     
  24. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I do not agree. People do all sorts of untold editing to their negative scans (if they have indeed scanned the negative) or print scans, or whatever. I think if someone were to use my website to base their opinion of what FP4+ in 6x6 should look like...they would have an aneurysm.

    Bad scanning technique makes grain look mushy, or invisible, bad processing (both chemical and digital) results in whacked out contrast or muddy tones, and who knows if they even exposed the film "correctly" in the first place. I've seen TMY-2 scans that made Delta 3200 look like TMX.

    The best way to see images shot on a particular film is to buy a roll, shoot half the roll in the morning and the other half in the late afternoon at box speed and develop it in whatever developer you are most consistent with.

    For all it's worth, I doubt I could tell you if a print was made from a Tri-X neg, an HP5+ neg, a Fomapan 400 neg, or a Kentmere 400 neg if they were all devved in the same chemicals.
     
  25. ath

    ath Member

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    My experience with Fomapan 100 is limited to two 35mm rolls which I developed in XTOL 1+1 to a CI of ca. 0.65 in 2009.
    The grain in the prints was visibly finer than that of ACROS in the same developer.
     
  26. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    That's strange. The RMS numerology says Fomapan should be a *lot* grainier: 13.5 vs 7! Even granting that RMS grain measurements don't always align with people's perceptions, it seems surprising that a difference of almost a factor of two would disappear like that.

    I'm curious---subjectively, were they both "pretty grainy", "basically grainless", or somewhere in between?

    -NT