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View Full Version : Fomapan 400 in sheets available



Justin Cormack
5-Mar-2011, 07:31
Silverprint is now listing this in 4x5 and 8x10. Anyone tried it?

http://www.silverprint.co.uk/ProductByGroup.asp?PrGrp=2213

engl
15-Mar-2011, 10:19
No interest at all in a cheap ISO 400 BW film? Or is the lack of interest due to it being Fomapan 400? I've been reading about the film and opinions about the film in other formats seem mixed. Look is of course subjective, Fomapan 400 gets described a lot as "classic look, rather grainy", but a many also mention that in most developers it does not reach up to box speed, and is difficult to push.

The above is of course second hand information. I was looking at buying some in Sweden from Photax but their price seems rather excessive, 41 for a box of 50, compared to 27 in the UK. For comparison, TMAX400 is 60 for a box of 50.

Drew Wiley
15-Mar-2011, 10:25
The stereotype you've gotten about Fomapan 400 seems to pretty well match my
personal experience with it.

Jay DeFehr
15-Mar-2011, 11:36
I use it in its Arista EDU Ultra incarnation from Freestyle. I'm not sure how well it pushes. It's definitley more grainy than TXP and HP5+, and about as grainy as the (Chinese?) stuff I get from Photo Warehouse. I haven't formally tested it, and I don't use a light meter very often, but I get good results estimating expsoure based on an EI of 200 and developing in Halcyon. Not a very useful review, I'm afraid. My general impression is that it's a third tier film, below the designer grain films like TMY-2, and below the best conventional films like TX and HP5+. I think it makes a very nice portrait film, but I'm glad I don't have to pay as much for it as Silverprint wants, for which amount I can get TMY-2, the world's best B&W film.

Drew Wiley
15-Mar-2011, 11:41
Jay - that's about my estimate of it too. It seems to be a student film usable at ASA200. After testing, I threw out what I had left of it. Not in the same league as Ilford
or my newest 8X10 favorite, TMY.

Jay DeFehr
15-Mar-2011, 11:47
Threw it out!!???

I hope you didn't have much left after testing. It's a very nice film if handled appropriately.

BetterSense
15-Mar-2011, 11:55
It does have a wonderful look if you can expose and develop it just right. If I was all technical I might get along with it better but I shoot TMAX for the latitude.

Justin Cormack
16-Mar-2011, 03:45
I use it in its Arista EDU Ultra incarnation from Freestyle. I'm not sure how well it pushes. It's definitley more grainy than TXP and HP5+, and about as grainy as the (Chinese?) stuff I get from Photo Warehouse. I haven't formally tested it, and I don't use a light meter very often, but I get good results estimating expsoure based on an EI of 200 and developing in Halcyon. Not a very useful review, I'm afraid. My general impression is that it's a third tier film, below the designer grain films like TMY-2, and below the best conventional films like TX and HP5+. I think it makes a very nice portrait film, but I'm glad I don't have to pay as much for it as Silverprint wants, for which amount I can get TMY-2, the world's best B&W film.

Its under half the price of TMY-2 in this country... I may experiment with it for portraits actually and see.

lecep
16-Mar-2011, 04:08
Fomapan 100 is very good, 400 has a lot of grain

Roger Cole
16-Mar-2011, 04:46
I just bought a 25 sheet box of the rebranded Arista variation. (I also bought a 50 sheet box of TMY-2.) I figured for the price it was worth a shot, as it's about 40% of the price of TMY-2. It's hard to imagine a film having enough grain that grain becomes a big factor in 4x5 unless one prints a lot larger than I do (no larger than 11x14 currently.)

I loaded holders with TMY-2 and the Foma last weekend and I'll get to shoot it this coming weekend. With luck in getting the darkroom set up I'll get to develop it shortly after.

Noah B
16-Mar-2011, 08:54
I've been using the Arista EDU version of this film and it's pretty decent exposure wise. I rate it at iso 200 and develop in HC110 and I get good results. It's no kodak but it works well.

Jay DeFehr
16-Mar-2011, 09:31
Roger,

Grain is not a problem with LF, or even MF for me. Halcyon produces incredibly fine grain, and I can make grainless 9x12 prints from 35mm negatives. I don't make prints from LF negatives large enough to worry about grain, and I don't usually push process, so FP400 is a good value for me.

Roger Cole
16-Mar-2011, 15:12
Jay, that's pretty much my thinking too, at least as far as just not being a factor in LF, even with standard developers, and reasoning for trying it out. B&W sheet film prices, here in the states at least, aren't really high enough to make me shoot less than I otherwise would given the time it takes to shoot sheet film (for me anyway) and my available photography time, but if I can get a film that works for some uses for 40% of the cost of the best film, then I will use some of it. I also agree that if I had to pay TMY prices I'd just use TMY (ok -2...) but I think in the UK it's also quite a bit more expensive so the price delta is still comparable.

There's been a lot of (justified in my view) complaining by UK photographers on FADU about prices there being so much higher it's actually less expensive to import film from here, even given shipping and duty etc. This is true even for Ilford which costs far more in the UK than in the US. At the prices they are having to pay for Kodak or Ilford I'd probably be looking for something else on the basis of price too.

Pete Watkins
17-Mar-2011, 02:17
I just recieved some Foma 400 this week but the light's been crappy here since I got it. Has anybody considered exposing it at 320 or 200 and developing in Perceptol, it worked well for me with different brands of 35mm films in the past.
Roger this country is known as Rip Off Britain, prices are a joke and the masters of industry are too thick to realise that we are importing goods for less than they want us to pay in The U.K.
Pete.

Scotty230358
17-Mar-2011, 12:57
A user who posts on a British film forum has reported streaks and lines with Fomapan 400. I have experienced blotches with Fomapan 100 but I like the look of it enough to persevere and get my processing regime right. Strictly speaking it should not be necessary but such is the way of it.

John Kasaian
17-Mar-2011, 13:28
IMHO, grain & 8x10 should be a non issue. Sadly, I was hoping Fomapan 400 would offer some competiton to HP-5+ in the Conventionalsheetfilmapolis 400.

Roger Cole
17-Mar-2011, 15:42
A user who posts on a British film forum has reported streaks and lines with Fomapan 400. I have experienced blotches with Fomapan 100 but I like the look of it enough to persevere and get my processing regime right. Strictly speaking it should not be necessary but such is the way of it.

I read that thread, but decided to try some anyway, as the re-branded Freestyle Arista is so inexpensive. I don't know if they get theirs from specific emulsion batches that may not include the one that produced the streaking, but it's possible.

Mark Booth
16-Apr-2011, 10:58
In a world of critical photographic shooting and project oriented work, I just can't bare to think of having sub-standard risk associated with film quality such as mentioned above and elsewhere. My artistic desires seek to work with something highly creative and different, but one must ask if the potential trade-offs are acceptable. For some it may be!

For me, I have enough variables to contend with using shutterless vintage lenses and walking the streets of Seattle or hiking Mt. Rainier with my Deardorff camera. But in this regard, I am comfortable with knowing my abilities and limits. Having a defective film potential or quality variance just causes me to cringe with unnecessary risk for my goals.

So, for this reason I would stick with something like FP4 Plus; TMY-2; TXP; HP5 films because of their extremely high level of dependability. I have a box of Fomapan 400 in my inventory right now and have enjoyed some limited use of it, but I don't think I will buy more anytime soon because of the nature of much of my work. Now if I were shooting wet plate collodion like Sally Mann then my craft and inherent deviations become acceptable if not desirable, then again I don't have her skills. Fomapan may be just the thing for some!

Just the other night, I had asked Jay DeFeyr his thoughts on FP100 film, because I must admit it sounds intriguing, but I can do similar things with FP4 Plus and TMY-2 without nearly the risk. Keep in mind that much of the "look" and "effect" that we are after are predicated by post exposure darkroom methods and techniques that greatly influence the unique tactile qualities we all desire.

Now, to FP400 credit it utilizes what is reported to be a highly archival PET film base, it also works very well with a red filter in outdoor landscapes with figure studies and glamour. (Darkened skies with elevated skin tone highlights). It can indeed be beautiful!