I give up!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by 37th Exposure, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. 37th Exposure

    37th Exposure Member

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    I've been using Foma films and other products since 2003 when they became readily available in the United States. I was suspicious of the Soviet Bloc quality control, or lack thereof, but the rock bottom price and more so the beautiful "look" of their film kept me hooked. Quality control issues did arise in 120 size rolls and their packaging, and leaky chemical packs, but the 35mm film was just fine. I figured that with their having to compete on the free market now, the quality control issues would be worked out. It's 2011 and my confidence was shattered when I recently developed a roll of Fomapan/Arista 400 in 35mm size and part of the roll was fogged, almost black! Subsequent and previous rolls of other brands and other Foma films run through the same camera and processing tank showed no evidence of fog. The other roll of the same exact film type in the tank came out fine. The fog was about 10 shots into the roll so it doesn't look like loading error. Seeing that the fog also showed the images of sprocket holes from somewhere (but not the same roll because only one end of the roll showed any fog) I suppose some other unlucky photographers out there got the rest of that batch. I'd note the batch number but I tossed the box when I was shooting.

    I would still use Foma, until I went photo supply shopping a short while ago. Foma products now cost the same and sometimes even more than such "bulletproof" brands as Ilford and Kodak! (B and H and Freestyle prices) That's it, no more Foma for me. They've got some nerve...If I have to pay first class prices, I'll go for the first class product. I've shot Kodak, Ilford, Fuji, and Agfa (R.I.P.) for 30 years and everything was perfect right down to the printing on the box. I'll miss the luscious tonal range of Foma which I've not been able to get with other brands of film, but at least I'll have pictures!
     
  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I never really liked Foma's tonality compared to Kodak, but I do love Efke. I am dismayed at their prices now too, they used to charge a little over $2 a roll, now its about the same as Kodak film. Since Freestyle sells Kodak Tri-X in the Arista name for $2.50, I just buy it. I still have 70 rolls of Frestyle's Tri-X left!
     
  3. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    Suggest contacting the factory. The batch number on the edge print is only part of the number on the box, but It might be a start.

    Were the images of the perfs inline with the other perfs, or across the film? No chance that someone may have opened the camera back when you were not looking?
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    With the present state of the US economy and the loss of jobs in this country lets start supporting Kodak. They are an American company; Ilford, Foma and all the others are not. We lost Kodak papers awhile back and I really miss them. Now Plus-X in 120 size was discontinued recently. Pay a few cents more and buy American.
     
  5. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Never liked Foma films, thin, scratched easy, and sometimes would get bad krinkles/wrinkles when mishandled by rougher hands.

    Tri-X and Neopan were much better alternatives. Never a problem there.

    I always try and order Kodak when I put in orders for the darkroom I teach at, film(kodak or arista rebranded kodak) and chemicals (d76, Dektol, indicator stop, fixer, and hypoclear). Its competitively priced and are high quality.
     
  6. Pfiltz

    Pfiltz Member

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    I'm a new RB67 owner. Matter fact, I've never shot film. Been shooting digi in the studio for 11 years now.

    My first purchase was for 50 rolls of Kodak Tri-X 400 iso

    Long live big gold/black.
     
  7. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    Wow. I have never had problems with foma like discussed here. I shoot 35 and 120. Yes it's lower dr and a little soft, but I shoot and process accordingly. It's price is a good magic point for me to keep shooting and high enough quality to trust it. I get consistent results.

    Gerald: As far as North American offerings, I don't see why TX fetches such a high price. I often see it listed near or above TMY. I think it should get listed at about 1/2 as much as TMY is much higher quality and a fair price for what it is. Then I would make my general purpose switch. As of the time of writing a 100' of TX is 59.99 (B&H) and 100' of TMY is 59.95 (B&H). Go figure.

    As far as buying their product just because: A good $$ investment is an investment toward problems that only money can cure. IE: You need to buy some raw material for a sale of product on a deal already closed. If it was an investment because of bad management, only a purge of the bad management can really cure it. We would not be supporting a company from a downturn in the economy, but a falure to address their problems as they arose. I don't see a change in Kodak as of yet. Me buying / not buying a roll of film is not going to save them.
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    TX has long been a favorite of professional phorographers who like its tonality. As to the price I would say that TX and TMY cost about the same for Kodak to produce. Maybe a bit more for TX as it contains more silver. Which one to use is a matter of personal preference. I don't like any of the T-grain films. I find them a bit fussy.

    Jerry
     
  9. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I'm in Australia & we don't have any film manufacturers.
    So I suppose I can buy from whoever I like. :smile:
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've never had any defects show up in any of my Foma or other European films (yet). That doesn't mean some defects don't occur, just I have not had any. Half a roll fogged quite possibly reaks of user malfunction, inadvertant exposure to light, camera defect, whatever, but does not sound like a manufacturing defect, tho I suppose anything IS possible.
    As for supporting the stupid yellow company, I did, used their stuff exclusivly for many years. They stopped supporting me, and for that, they deserve to suffer for the mistakes their leaders make, which they obviously do on a daily basis, make them and suffer for them. Thank you to Ilford, and Simon who are commited to our pursuits, and the other companies that struggle to stay afloat in this severe economy, that endeavor to supply us with basic materials. I will support as many as I can, and am committed to stop being short sighted by overlooking them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2011
  11. MDR

    MDR Member

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    I have to second Rick A. it sounds more like an operator error than a manufacturing error. Quiet like Fomas offering but in terms of Q.C. Ilford, Fuji, Kodak and Agfa Films are miles ahead on the other hand Foma papers are in my opinion with a few exceptions (Ilford Gallery and Art 300) much better than Ilford and Fuji's paper products. More choice, better in lith, available as matt paper and never had any problems with Foma paper come to think of it I also never had problems with their films but I do use Pyro developers with Foma film.

    Dominik
     
  12. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    All the Chech factory workers smoke on the job, so if the film went by as they inhaled it will be fogged... just a guess.

    .
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    And, um... you know that for a fact, or are you generalizing so as to impune the integrity of a manufacturers QC efforts. Maybe you are simply cracking wise per chance.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    We're not all American!


    Steve.
     
  16. pekelnik

    pekelnik Member

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    The information content is likely correlated with the spelling quality.
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    In 120 I much prefer Tri-X to TMY-2. The grain is quite fine enough, I like the tonality, and as I very rarely take long exposures in 120 I don't need the better reciprocity. In 120 I'm shooting with a TLR with primitive (but often surprisingly accurate) CdS cell meter, though I usually meter with my Luna Pro SBC. I don't use the 7.5 degree angle attachment. Depending on the shot and circumstances I may take a regular 30 degree reflected reading, an incident reading, or just a single reading for the prevailing light and shoot away. Tri-X is simply more forgiving of the more casual metering I often do in 120. Finally, I've long liked Tri-X in Diafine for an EI around 1250. That combination gives me better results, in terms of tonality and contrast if not grain, than anything I've found for pushing TMY(-2.) So stocking Tri-X gives me the option of box speed or that push without two films in the bag.

    In 4x5 B&W I shoot TMY-2 almost exclusively, save for the remaining Delta 400 and Agfapan 100 I have in the freezer. In 4x5 I carefully spot meter each exposure and TMY has superb quality.

    One of the appeals for medium format for me is that it's almost as fast and easy as 35mm but has print quality closer to 4x5. Honestly, in 120 I'd be willing to pay more for Tri-X than for TMY-2. To each his own.

    I have one roll of exposed Foma 400 (Arista branded) and another to expose, plus a few exposed and not yet developed 4x5 sheets, so I am trying it out but not yet with any results so I can't speak of the problems that started this thread. I suppose I will see.

    To the subject of supporting Kodak, as others have said I don't think my film purchases are going to make any difference. I just don't use that much film. I do like to support Ilford (use MGWT FB in spite of the price) but for the most part I use whichever film and paper I like the best.
     
  18. lensman_nh

    lensman_nh Member

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    Indeed,

    And some of us who are would rather support Ilford given its unabridged support for silver based B&W photography! Although I do use Arista.EDU also.
     
  19. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    I use Foma, although I haven't shot that many rolls yet, no problems yet, but I did experience issues with a batch of paper I got.

    I came into this too late, so Kodak has already killed the films I wanted to try in 120 (Plus-x).
    I think Foma has a great look, especially for portraits, and they are still priced lower than most other brands on fotoimpex.

    And, as someone said above here, we're definitely not all Americans on here :smile:
    If Kodak said "We wish more people would buy our films, so we didn't have to kill them all off" instead of just killing films without notice, I would reconsider...maybe.

    I have about 25 rolls of Foma to go, fingers crossed. =)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2011
  20. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Amazing. I am in California and I suppose I can buy from whomever I like too.

    I shoot what works best for me. Like Tri-X over HP-5. Like FP-4 over Plus-X. Like Efke 50 over Pan F. Don't like any of the T-grain films at all.

    tim in san jose
     
  21. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    I agree with Gerald. There is a point in supporting a US company like Kodak if You happen to live in US.
    If I am not mistaken, PE have said it before that Kodak geared towards large scale manufacturing, so if there is no demand for a certain product.. then its over.
    Probably to scale down the who rig is too much of a hassle for Kodak and especially in the current market and economy situation, so naturally there is no sense for them to keep some products in their catalog.

    A few years ago I had problem with Foma 400 135 30 meters roll, on some shots with sky it was easy to tell there was a unevenness.
    The problem was not across the entire 30 meters thou.
    Back then, I used that Foma roll mostly to check my cameras post CLA'ed state, so that film issue was not big deal in my case.
    Other folks reported that they got in touch with Foma about similar issues so I hoped it was resolved by now.
    With the current market and all, I am prepared for some surprises in the quality department from any brand..
     
  22. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I think the sentiment of my comment applies equally to people in the UK supporting Ilford. The same applies to Japan and Fuji. Kodak, Ilford, and Fuji remain the three top tier film manufactures that are left. If you want quality you need to support them. Being American I support Kodak first.
     
  23. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Haven't you forgotten Agfa-Gevaert a company that makes Ilford and parts of Kodak look like dwarfs, a company that still produces B/W Film, Aerial Film, Microfilm, Glass Plates and last but not least motion picture release stock (equal to Kodaks). I understand your point but if everyone thought so Kodak would loose it's business outside of the US causing instant Bankcruptcy and I wonder how many of Kodak's biggest stock(share)holders actually are US citizens or companies? Buying because the Q.C. is better than the competitors is ok but buying for nationalistic reasons means shooting oneself in the foot.:smile:

    Dominik
     
  24. timlayton

    timlayton Member

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    I prefer Tri-X in all formats that use (120, 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10). I know this film and my development processes inside and out. I live with the upsides of Tri-X and its downsides too, but at least I know what I am dealing with. I suppose this is possible with other films, but I really hope that I never have to go through the full testing process to establish a proper EI and all my development times for use with the zone system. In the end I think of myself as making prints and everything that leads up to that end is negotiable. However, I would prefer that Kodak hold on and keep producing Tri-X for at least another 40 years. Why 40 years you might ask? In 40 years I will either be way too old for making prints or in a place where prints are the last thing on my mind. I will do my part and keep buying Tri-X every week to stock my freezer.
     
  25. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I keep hearing that Agfa is still around, but the whole confused muddle of who sells what is bewildering. And, as far as I know they are not producing color film. If anyone makes a film with somewhat subdued saturation like the old Agfa Portrait I'd like to know about it (another user sent me a roll of Lucky color to try out but even if it works for that it's one roll of 35mm - I can find plenty of black and white on ebay but not color.) I also liked Ultra 50 for the times I want overblown color. It was like negative Velvia only maybe more so. Ektar is close nowadays.

    If anyone is making and selling the same film as the old Agfapan 100 I'd really like to know about it. I know there are several films sold by Adox but as far as I can tell they aren't the same as APX 100. Again, if they are, I'd like to know.
     
  26. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Roger Agfa Gevaert (Belgium) still produces film. APX 100 that is still available is cut from the last master roll not by Agfa . Gevaert is one of the worldwide leaders in the graphic industries and healthcare (larger than Kodak). They still produce Aerial Films sold by Rollei/Maco as Rollei Retro 80s, Retro 400S (aviphot 400) and Superpan (Aviphot 200) here's a link to their website http://www.agfa.com/en/sp/. As far as I know they don't produce color still film anymore.

    Dominik