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Thread: Foma 200?

  1. #11
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foma 200?

    I had two flawed batches of 8X10 Foma 200 sheet film : little emulsion zits or craters, fine linear cracks or scratches. Only half the images I shot were printable unless retouching hell came into play. Much of that was small enough that it might not cause a lot of distraction in a contact print; but at even 2X enlargement, it ended the game. It's an intriguing film; but I just can't gamble with it again. Too much effort goes into LF shoots to come back with zero usable in what I had anticipated as great images. Yeah, I printed some really good ones; but for every one of those, there was another useless negative due to mfg flaws. Not even remotely in the quality control league of Kodak or Ilford sheet films, but still worth experimenting with at least. You might be lucky and get a box or unflawed sheets. If it were me again, I'd test 4x5 before springing for any more boxes of 8x10.

  2. #12

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    Re: Foma 200?

    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    The defects problem with Foma 200 is limited to 120 roll film. It doesn't occur in their 100 and 200 sheet films,....
    Good to know that the 200 issue is limited to 120 format. I haven't used the 200 in 4x5 yet. I do use the Foma 100 in 4x5 regularly, it is my standard film. Never had any issues with it at box speed of 100.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foma 200?

    It ISN'T limited to just 120 roll film! Did you even read my immediately preceding post concerning 200 sheet film, or pmlpoma's identical complaint? The quality control is a crap shoot, and your own choice whether to gamble or not.

  4. #14

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    Re: Foma 200?

    Mark Citret was not satisfied and had to go back to Ilford, which was already his second choice (he was a Kodak guy but eventually decided he couldn't afford Kodak sheet film anymore).

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    It ISN'T limited to just 120 roll film! Did you even read my immediately preceding post concerning 200 sheet film, or pmlpoma's identical complaint? The quality control is a crap shoot, and your own choice whether to gamble or not.

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foma 200?

    Interesting. I haven't run into or spoken to Mark for over 20 yrs.

  6. #16

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    Re: Foma 200?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Interesting. I haven't run into or spoken to Mark for over 20 yrs.
    I have exchanged emails with him infrequently over the past 10 or 15 years (basically me asking him for opinions, advice, that sort of thing). The cost of sheet film seems to have been a concern of his for quite a while. One of the issues he had with Foma was scratching more easily (he still tray-shuffles like he always did). In my most recent exchange with him this past summer on a different but related topic, he indicated he was actually considering downsizing to a medium format back on his Norma due to the cost of sheet film and limited options. That really struck me. What the hell am I doing buying sheet film if a guy of Mark's stature finds it expensive? Especially since Kodak is the only sheet film I use.

    Always wanted to visit Mark for a darkroom workshop. Him, and George Tice.

  7. #17
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foma 200?

    Foma sheet film has distinct disadvantages in a tray of not only a soft emulsion and lack of a resistant overcoating, but due to verrrrry sharp corners and edges, which have even slit my nitrile gloves at times, and will tear into another sheet quite easily.

    When he was hanging around my workplace long ago, making his living in architectual photog, he was using a green 4X5 Toyo VX. The next time I saw him he had switched to an Arca MF digital system, and was going nuts because that switch, with its instant feedback, tempted clients to constantly peer over his shoulder and micro-manage him. It's one reason I decided to throw in the towel around the same time regarding commercial architectural shooting, even in a moonlighting sense. But I still continued to do it all film and darkroom workflow for our own company, since they still allowed me to be in full control, at my own pace, and mostly wanted it for sake of high quality framed prints. I wasn't about to waste time on any mere web presence foolishness.

    I'd be more interested in what Mark currently prints on, Kodak Polymax now being long gone. His printing style is very understated; no Wagnerian drama or high contrast overstatement, but all midtone, silvery - kinda like Robert Adams - unless something has changed recently.

  8. #18

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    Re: Foma 200?

    I agree - understated and subtle, and just superb. He’s really one of my favourite photographers and printers. His thing was papers and printing, never films or film developers, and like others the loss of so many papers was a problem for him. For example he was/is well known for printing on and toning a Kodak paper that had a “vellum”-type of surface. I think it was Polyfiber “A”. If I remember correctly he bought a big stash of that when it was discontinued in the 1990s but that was so long ago I don’t know if it is still usable for him.

    Interesting you bring up the Toyo. Maybe 10 years ago I asked him for camera suggestions when I was going through a bit of a time with that. He said he had used a Norma (and sometimes one of those older Linhof Kardan variants - I can’t remember which) for many years and then decided to try a Toyo VX because it was quite compact, and it was good, except he stripped the gears - twice, and ultimately went back to the Norma. One of the several things he liked about the Norma was the fact the wide angle bellows was long enough that he could basically make it his standard bellows and not need to switch very often. Symmetric parallel displacements on the front and rear standards are another must for him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Foma sheet film has distinct disadvantages in a tray of not only a soft emulsion and lack of a resistant overcoating, but due to verrrrry sharp corners and edges, which have even slit my nitrile gloves at times, and will tear into another sheet quite easily.

    When he was hanging around my workplace long ago, making his living in architectual photog, he was using a green 4X5 Toyo VX. The next time I saw him he had switched to an Arca MF digital system, and was going nuts because that switch, with its instant feedback, tempted clients to constantly peer over his shoulder and micro-manage him. It's one reason I decided to throw in the towel around the same time regarding commercial architectural shooting, even in a moonlighting sense. But I still continued to do it all film and darkroom workflow for our own company, since they still allowed me to be in full control, at my own pace, and mostly wanted it for sake of high quality framed prints. I wasn't about to waste time on any mere web presence foolishness.

    I'd be more interested in what Mark currently prints on, Kodak Polymax now being long gone. His printing style is very understated; no Wagnerian drama or high contrast overstatement, but all midtone, silvery - kinda like Robert Adams - unless something has changed recently.

  9. #19

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    Re: Foma 200?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Foma sheet film has distinct disadvantages in a tray of not only a soft emulsion and lack of a resistant overcoating, but due to verrrrry sharp corners and edges, which have even slit my nitrile gloves at times, and will tear into another sheet quite easily.
    In trays, I develop only one sheet at a time. This prevents the problem you're talking about. As to the corners being so sharp they slit your nitrile gloves - I find that hard to believe, but perhaps you've been able to find exceptionally flimsy gloves. I use the cheapest available to me.

    As to your insistence on Foma 200 defects on sheet film: for all I know you're recounting the same experience you apparently had years ago, since the remarks you've made on this film are always virtually identical and seem to be limited to a brief period of time, perhaps only one or a handful of boxes of film. My experiences, all recent ones of the past few years, don't match yours. Perhaps the problem you encountered was solved in the meantime. This particular film has gone through at least one major manufacturing change some years ago. Perhaps your experience stems from before that period.

    I just inspected a couple of sheets I developed yesterday. Nothing to match your description of the issues you ran into.

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Foma 200?

    I've even had my finger cut just loading film holders to begin with. It seems to be a combination of the especially hard brittle emulsion and the relatively crude sheet sizing machinery. And keep in mind, I've probably tried 90% of the sheet film options out there over the decades. And Foma films are the ONLY ones with this problem. It ain't my gloves at fault!

    Anyway - get bitten by a rattlesnake once, twice even, and I'm certainly going to be leery of walking through that same patch of grass again, even a decade or two later. But I'm keeping my ears open, and an open mind too. But the fact is, I have a big stash of both speeds of TMax in the freezer, which I know I can count on, even if replenishing that stockpile of 8x10 might not be realistic for me at today's pricing.

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