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  1. #1

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    Debating switching to FP4+

    I currently use Fomapan 100. I switched from Plus-X when it was discontinued. Right before I switched I starting using using the zone system and cutting the speed of Plus-X in half. I wish I had know all of this at the beginning of the 100 rolls I used.

    I am starting to dislike Fomapan because of a few QC problems as well as its tonality. The negatives are very contrasty and it seems like Fomapan is very prone to blocking up. I used a couple of rolls of Plus-X at a location where I used Fomapan. I like the Plus-X better.

    The last time I used FP4+ was a few years ago. At the time I just used an incident meter and didn't develop my film. I knew nothing of how great a spot meter is.

    I have heard that FP4+ is similar to Plus-X. How close is it? Rodinal is my standard developer. How well does it work? Is it worth the extra $2 per roll.

    Should I even bother switching film or could this all be just a problem with technique?

    I expose Fomapan 100 at EI 50 and place my shadows on Zone IV. I tend to use N development.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

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  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    I have never used Fomapan 100, but use FP4+ all the time and think it's a very good film.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Maybe you're overexposing the Foma film? I've shot a lot of it lately, in 120 size, and had no blocked highlights. I've developed it in D-76 1+1 and in PMK. In PMK I have to shoot it at EI-40, but the contrast is normal.

    I actually recently did a comparison of Fomapan 100 and FP4, both developed in PMK. The tonality was similar. The FP4 had slightly more highlight contrast. To me, FP4 had three advantages over Fomapan 100. First, it is faster. EI-80 in PMK, so its a stop faster. Second, it does not curl up like Fomapan. I have had a couple of frames with pinholes in the emulsion with Foma, and never with Ilford.

    Foma has the advantage of cost.

    Ilford FP4 works well in Rodinal, but I think the highlights are harsher in Rodinal than in PMK with FP4.


    FP4 in Rodinal 1+50



    FP4 in Rodinal 1+50



    FP4 in PMK



    FP4 in PMK



    Fomapan 100 in PMK
    Chris Crawford
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  4. #4
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    ...maybe I *should* ponder switching to PMK.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  5. #5

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    I figured both are good.

    Right now I am just going off scans for web purposes. Photoshop is not the easiest tool when trying to get what I am want. The dodging in burning tool has problems. But that is for another forum. My experience in the darkroom has been better with my Fomapan negatives. That will be the true test. As far as I can tell all I have figured out is that Plus-X scans better than Fomapan.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

    Canon A-1, Canon AE-1, Canon Canonet GIII 17, Argus 21, Rolleicord Va, Mamiya RB67, Voigtländer Bessa

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  6. #6
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    Don't go by what scans tell you: it's all about how something prints, however it gets printed.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  7. #7
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephanie Brim View Post
    ...maybe I *should* ponder switching to PMK.
    I've been working with it a lot over the last year or so. I love it. Even with Tmax 100, Tmax 400, and Fuji Acros, it is a gorgeous developer (its often claimed that PMK is not good for modern t-grain type films, but I like it for them as well as older films like FP4 and Tri-X).
    Chris Crawford
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  8. #8
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkroom317 View Post
    I figured both are good.

    Right now I am just going off scans for web purposes. Photoshop is not the easiest tool when trying to get what I am want. The dodging in burning tool has problems. But that is for another forum. My experience in the darkroom has been better with my Fomapan negatives. That will be the true test. As far as I can tell all I have figured out is that Plus-X scans better than Fomapan.
    The dodge/burn tools in Photoshop are horrid. Here's a tutorial I wrote on how to get darkroom-quality dodge/burn results in Photoshop. If you're mostly printing in the darkroom, and Fomapan is working well for darkroom printing, I would not change just because another films scans better.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

    Become a fan of my work on Facebook

    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  9. #9
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkroom317 View Post
    Should I even bother switching film or could this all be just a problem with technique?

    I expose Fomapan 100 at EI 50 and place my shadows on Zone IV. I tend to use N development.
    Well FP4 is a really beautiful IMO film and I've had no quality problems.

    I shoot FP4 at box and incident meter and it is truly rare for me to be disappointed.

    A couple thoughts though before you switch.

    First. Just because Plus X works well at 1/2 box speed with a spot meter for you, doesn't mean every other film will too.

    Second. EI 50 and placing shadows at Zone IV is like shooting at EI 25, so 1/4 of box rating, not 1/2. That means you are adding two stops of extra exposure which could easily explain your blocked up highlights in many scenes.

    Third. Most films do a truly fine job but that doesn't mean you'll get along with every film. Kinda like dating, you gotta figure it out for yourself.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #10
    LJH
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    It makes me scratch my head about what the fuss is all about when you write about it being $2 a roll more expensive.

    If you're shooting 35mm, that's about 6 cents a frame more expensive for a 36 frame roll.

    If you're shooting 6x6, it's about 17 cents a shot.

    Surely, your time and the effort/cost to get to the shot are worth this slight increase for better quality?

    Try shooting sheet film where it can be a difference of dollars per shot!!

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