Fomapan 200 Creative

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jennifer, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    Has anyone used this film ?. What little posts by a few people on the web
    stated a "true" ISO 200, look of old Tri-x. It's supposed to be a T-Grain film.
    I wonder if its process sensitive like T-max. Also perhaps Foma might be a shining light in the current darkness of the film industry, as I haven't seen any negative comments about the company or it's products.

    Jennifer
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It doesn't look anything like Tri-X of any vintage. It is said to be a T-grain film, but it's fairly grainy. It looks like a film from the 1930s. Think of Alvin Langdon Coburn and films by Fritz Lang. Lots of action in the midtones rather than at the ends of the scale. I've processed it in D-76 (1+1), 8.5 min at 68 deg. F., agitating every minute. I think I'll test it in ABC pyro, which I've been using more an more lately.

    One good thing about Foma rollfilms is that they don't seem to have been as prone to light leakage as some of the other East European 120 films.

    Here's a test shot, which I think I took with the Voigtlander Perkeo II. It was a foggy day, so the "flat" quality (not necessarily in a bad sense) of the film is somewhat exaggerated.
     

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  3. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    One of my favorite films. I shoot it at 160 and develop it with both Pyrocat-HD and with Rodinal. Two very different looks from one film. With Rodinal it looks more like a traditional grainy B&W film; with Pyrocat at 2:2:100 the grain is well hidden by the stain and I get much smoother tonalities.

    As David said, it has the look of an old film; almost like the old thick emulsion films. I've found it to be much more forgiving than any of the specialty grain films on the market (T-Max, Delta, Acros). It's a very easy film to open up the midtones with, and I especially like it for low contrast situations. In high contrast, it's still a very good film but so are many others. I do find that it's not as forgiving of expansion development as some films; you can block up the highlights if you're not careful. It's definately a film that you'll want to do some testing with if you intend to make it part of your regular rotation. But with proper handling it will reward you with some amazing images.

    If you like the mid-20th-century "Industrial" look, this is a film that makes it very easy to achieve.

    The blue dye is difficult to remove. Not as bad as the magenta dye on Forte, but still not as easy as some films. Fomapan curls a bit, but again not as badly as other Eastern European films. Given that the price of this stuff is so low, I do have fears that it will fall victim to the same problems that plagued Ilford and Forte when they were re-selling their film in bulk for re-packaging. I intend to fill a freezer with Fomapan 200 this year, as it's one of my two very favorite films. (The other is Efke 100, and it's being sold at a price point that I believe will be sustainable over the long term.)
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I find a 2-minute presoak helps with the blue dye.
     
  5. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    a 2 changes of water presoak or a post-fix wash with Na-Sulfite help removing all those dyes IMHO
     
  6. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I always pre-soak for at least two minutes with every film, and the remains of the dye is still present with Fomapan. I'm going to try a different fix. Luckily the stain isn't too bad and hasn't caused any problems with printing, but I'd like to get rid of it if I can.
     
  7. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Jennifer,

    I've tried Fomapan 200 with generally good results. I've used HC-110B and T-Max as developers; I think I'll go with HC-110 just because it's cheaper. I concur with most of the comments above; regarding the bluish tinge: even after using a pre-soak and doing a fairly lengthy wash, I can't get rid of it. The good news is that it seems to cause abolutely no problems when printing, so I don't worry about it.

    I would note that my only experience using Fomapan 200 comes from some 120 rolls. I did not notice the graininess that David refers to, but that may be because I shot 6 x 6 and 6 x 7 negatives enlarged to no more than 11 x 14. There are two things which annoy me about Fomapan 200. The first is the curling tendency, which is significant enough that I have temporarily reverse-curled the processed film for a day or two before trying to contact it. The second is that the film base is so tough that it takes more effort than usual to get the center spike on a Kinderman reel to puncture it (ditto a film clip) and the film base is also much more flexible than my usual Kodak and Ilford choices, so getting the film started on a SS reel is a little trickier than I'm used to.

    I'm not about to give up T-Max 100, but even with its quirks, Fomapan 200 is a decent film, especially considering the bargain price from J and C.

    Konical
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've shot it in 6x6 mainly. I think it's grainy compared to other T-grain films in the same format.
     
  9. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, David,

    I don't disagree that Fomapan is certainly grainier than, say, T-100; I just don't find it obtrusive in moderate size prints from MF. The subject matter I would use the Fomapan for is typically people (individually or in groups) in prints intended for fairly small-size reproduction. The bargain price for Fomapan makes it attractive for such short-term purposes. Someday, I will probably crank up the enlarger and see what a 16 x 20 from 6 x 7 looks like.

    Konical
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, Freestyle is selling Fomapan products now under their "Arista.EDU Ultra" house brand. (Note the ".EDU" and "Ultra" designations; those are important.) Prices on this are very low, such as $20 for a 100-foot bulk roll of 35mm ISO 200 or 400 film. (I bought such a roll of ISO 400 recently, but haven't yet shot much of it.) I can't promise that the emulsions are identical to what J&C sells, though. I don't know about the individually-packaged rolls, but the bulk 35mm roll I've got has no edge markings -- not even frame numbers.
     
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Freestyle's sale of the film under the Arista.EDU Ultra brand, at the price they're getting, is the reason I mentioned my worries about the continued viability of the company. The last two companies that Freestyle (as well as some other retailers) re-packaged film from were Ilford and Forte, and both companies ended up in financial trouble. In both cases the re-sale of their film at very low price points to retailers was indicated as a reason for their financial problems. I appreciate the ability to get the Fomapan so inexpensively, but I do worry that in another year we'll be looking at another film company that's sinking because they sold their product too cheaply.

    Hopefully I'm wrong, and Foma will be able to flourish at the price points that have been set with Freestlye. But you can bet that I'll be stocking up on Fomapan 200...I like the film too much to take the chance with losing it quickly.

    Regarding the curliness of the Fomapan film: I've begun weighting the bottom of my 120 rolls as they dry and making sure that they dry slower by keeping the humidity level up a bit in my drying cabinet, and the curl is definately less than when I used to dry it faster and with less weight on the bottom. The pages still need a day or two under a book before they're truly flat, though.
     
  12. abeku

    abeku Subscriber

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    Those of you who presoak your films, do you see any other advantages by doing so and do you adjust the developing time because of the presoak?
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A presoak can promote more even development, but it's not always necessary. I usually add about 30 sec. to the processing time if I presoak.
     
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  15. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

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    FOMAPAN 200/35 mm x 30.5 bm
    Katalogové číslo:11339
    Cena: 720 Kč
    Popis: černobílý negativní film

    Eur. 22,50 which is about US$ 27,00
    so I hope that they know what they are doing..........

    T200 is very nice in SPUR HRX(2) on E.I. 100.

    Best regards,

    Robert
     
  16. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    Wow lots of comments. The mention of grain. How does it compare to HP5+/Tri-x ?. The blue tint. Same as or worse to remove than Tri-x/T-max ?.
    Anyone comment on fixer capacity, as Tri-x/T-max "eat up" the fixer more than other films. How does this one compare ?. The curling issue must be roll film, how about sheet film, compared to other popular brands.

    I like the mention of the "old time look". That suites me fine as I only have one format, looking for one film, and one vision, 1940's. I still think radios should have tubes, or valves as our friends across the atlantic call them.

    I noted some people mentioned the roll film was harder to puncture. I seen on Foma web site that the 120 roll film is polyester base, as is the sheet film.
    That's a plus as not even Kodak or Ilford use polyester in roll film. The 35mm is tri-acetate.

    This film looks promising. From their web site the company is not a fly by night operation, and perhaps offers a long term product.


    Jennifer
     
  17. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, Jennifer,

    I haven't used any Tri-X lately; I understand that it is somewhat improved now. The Fomapan200 has, in my opinion, finer, tighter grain than the Tri-X I used before the advent of T-100 and T-400. As to blue tint, I don't recall ever having much tint with fixed and washed Kodak or Ilford films. As I indicated above, I don't regard the blue tint as any kind of problem; it doesn't seem to affect prints in any way, at least on MGIV or Polymax RC. As an "old style" film, it should not deplete the fixer capacity as much as the T-Max films, but I certainly haven't tried to do any testing. Haven't tried the sheet film or the 35mm, but the curling is a definite problem for 120.

    Konical
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Is this blue tint unique to the Fomapan 100, or has it been spotted in other speeds? I've not yet used any 100, but I have used 200 (packaged as Paterson Acupan) and 400 (packaged both as Fomapan 400 and Arista.EDU Ultra). I don't recall noting any blue tint. In fact, I've got a roll of Arista.EDU Ultra 400 in front of me that I processed today, and in a sulfite-free developer (a PC-TEA variant with p-aminophenol hydrochloride rather than phenidone) and sulfite-free fixer (Freestyle's Arista Premium Powdered fixer). I see no hint of blue in these negatives.
     
  19. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    This is sounding better, and better :smile:. Mongo expressed concern about cheap pricing, and doing harm to Foma. If you compare the Foma branded roll film against Ilford, it costs more !. The 4x5 sheet film is only a few dollars less than HP5+. It seems their pricing is inline, and not cut rate to flood the market. As the re-branded price, it makes me wonder how. Could there be a difference in material. Perhaps the base is acetate, QC not as stringent ?. I'm just theorizing on how, or why a price difference.

    Jennifer
     
  20. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Well, that depends on where you buy it from. JandC sells Foma for significantly less than FreeStyle sells either Foma or Ilford, but for more than FreeStyle sells the Arista.EDU Ultra. In fact FreeStyle's prices for Foma-labeled film seem very high compared to everyone elses price for the film.
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I haven't shot enough of this film to know about the fixer capacity issue, but my impression is that it is a T-grain film like T-max. It used to be sold as "Fomapan 200T," but as I understand it, conflict with Kodak caused them to change the name. The strange thing is that it looks like a much older style film, despite being new technology.
     
  22. abeku

    abeku Subscriber

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    I've been using the fpan 100 and fpan 400 in 120-format and both have a blue tint, but the 135 version lacks this tint, because different film bases are used (as Jennifer pointed out earlier).
     
  23. richardmellor

    richardmellor Member

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    I question the logic of your business analysis.

    Efke vs Foma: Foma sells to many distributors in the US; Efke sells to 1. Efke and Foma probably have similar manufacturing costs, as both manufacturers are located in Eastern Europe.

    Efke distributes through a single outlet and prices at $3.51 per roll. Arista.edu prices at $1.29 (Foma private label), sells more, produces more, and can keep unit costs lower. APX25 is gone because the number of rolls dropped below a production run. I've heard that Efke and Foma sell for about the same price overseas.apx100 can be purchased for under $2.00 a roll with even higher manufacturing costs . Maybe 1.39 is the price point needed to keep the roll sales at a level that can support a production run.

    Ignoring the rule of economies of scale may slowly drive Efke out of production in the long term. By distributing through only one outlet, Efke reduced roll sales .may drop below the volume for a production run .
     
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  24. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    However, APX 100 and 400 are selling for about $24.00/100 ft. To me it's worth it to go the $4.00 for something better.
     
  25. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Juts in time!
    thanks to PETERS I got 4 rolls of this stuff, I'll finish the first one tonight and report later.
     
  26. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Well, since I didn't do anything remotely resembling a business analysis, I have to wonder what you're talking about. All I said was that the last two companies that sold their film cheap through Freestyle ended up in financial trouble, and I hope the same doesn't happend to Foma. In both cases, selling the film cheap was pointed out as a primary reason the companies got into financial trouble...undercutting themselves, as it were. This isn't an analysis...it's just simple history.

    In order to support your hypothesis, you'll have to come up with proof that Efke is not selling at a high enough rate to keep production up and running. If they are in trouble, it's news to me. To the best of my knowledge Efke is in fine shape. Perhaps John from J&C can give us the scoop on Efke's health. I will say, though, that I shoot a lot of Efke 100 and I definately think it's worth the price. You may not like the fact that J and C got exclusive distribution rights for the film in the US, but before they stepped in you had to order this stuff from overseas and pay high shipping costs. What it sells for in Europe is unimportant to me...what's important to me is how much it costs me to get it to my door. That used to include high shipping costs; now it doesn't. Do I wish it was cheaper? Well, hell, of course I do. But I'm willing to pay the price that's been set, because it's worth it to me.

    Your thoughts about $1.39 being the price point that's needed to keep production running (something that's obviously untrue as almost every film in the world sells for more than that, and one of the two examples that was selling at that price last year ended up driving the company to the brink of bankruptcy) seem wishful at best. Search APUG for John's comments on the quality problems with J&C Pro 100 - he basically says that if you want it better you'll have to pay more. Forte sold for that price and almost went bust. Ilford got in trouble selling cheap (not even $1.39 cheap, but cheap).

    Now, someone at Foma obviously believes that they can provide film for this price and make a profit. That's fine. Time will tell whether they're right or wrong. I truly do hope that they're right...but I have my doubts. Given that this is my opinion, and not the result of any formal analysis, you can tell me I'm wrong all you want but you won't change my mind without proof. Proof will come only with time. If Fomapan is still being sold under the Arista.EDU Ultra brand at this price in two years, then Foma was right. If the film quality goes down, or the price goes up faster than inflation, or Foma goes bust, the Foma was wrong. In the meantime, I'll buy all of the film I can at this price...it's great film and it's a bargain. I certainly don't mind a bargain.