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Thread: Fomapan 100

  1. #1

    Fomapan 100

    I'm usually an FP-4 regular, but have got hold of plenty of Fomapan 100 in 5x4 and I'd like to give it a whirl rotary deving in ID-11. I'd like to hear how others have found this film in comparison to more 'premium' films, especially tonally and how it gets on with contrast filters. I've been using FP-4 for years, so this stuff is a bit of a departure. I have pretty much nailed FP-4/ID-11 rotary processing, and as a starter I'm thinking with the Fomapan - 80iso, ID-11 1+1, rotary, 8mins. I know it's tests ahead, but does that sound near-ish?

  2. #2
    IanG's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Aegean (Turkey & UK)

    Re: Fomapan 100

    In many regards it will give similar results to FP4 but it is slower than the box speed, my tests showed 50 EI and it requires less development than most other films - around 2/3rds. It has a tendency to build up contrast extremely quickly with over development.

    My experience is your over optimistic of the speed, and I'd suggest using 80% of your FP4 times as a staring point.


  3. #3
    Vlad Soare's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Bucharest, Romania

    Re: Fomapan 100

    I started using Fomapan 100 about 1.5 years ago because of its price. Then, when I moved up to 4x5", I also chose Fomapan, because in large format the price difference was even greater. It's three times cheaper than 4x5" Kodak or Ilford films.
    I chose it solely for its price, thinking that I'll go back to Ilford or Kodak when I can afford it.
    However, as time went by, I fell in love with it. I came to know it very well, and I love it. It's an excellent film in all formats and is of very consistent quality from batch to batch. Now I can afford more expensive films, but I still buy Fomapan because I like it and I became used to it. Every time I order some film I first decide to buy Kodak, then change my mind and end up with Foma instead.

    I find Fomapan 100 to be quite contrasty. My development times are always noticeably shorter than recommended ones, whether I use D-76, D-23 or R09.
    My normal development times in home-made D-76 diluted 1+1, at 20 degrees Centigrade, are 8 minutes in an inversion tank (120 film) and 6 minutes in a Jobo with constant agitation (sheet film). Yours may differ, of course.

    I rate it at ASA 80 when applying the Zone System with large format, and ASA 100 when taking street pictures based on incident metering.

    If you already have it, by all means use it. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. It's a good film.

    It has a tendency to build up contrast extremely quickly with over development.
    Yup. That's my experience, too. It's very easy to block up the highlights. I even managed to overdevelop it pretty badly with D-23, despite its reputation as a soft, non-highlight-blocking developer.
    Go easy on the development, especially on sunny days.

  4. #4
    Vlad Soare's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Bucharest, Romania

    Re: Fomapan 100

    In case you haven't already seen this:
    Fomapan 100 technical data sheet
    Great documentation, in my opinion.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Milford Pa.

    Re: Fomapan 100

    i use foma 100 sheet film in many sizes and love it. sorry i do not use a motor rotary developer machine. but in tray and in my 4x5 daylight tank i have used d76, hc110 and pyro hd.

    i have used hc100 most often. dilution 1:63 for 9 min and 1:119 for 18 min with agitation every 3rd.

    pyro hd 2:2:100 for 8 min is working well for me.
    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

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  6. #6

    Re: Fomapan 100

    Thanks all. Vlad your 6 mins in a rotary processor sounds like a good starting point. Interested to know what it is exactly you like about the film.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Van Buren, Arkansas

    Re: Fomapan 100

    I know what I like about it. It is reasonably good, and it is CHEAP. (compared to other films).

  8. #8

    Re: Fomapan 100

    I've shot about a hundred sheets of Fomapan 100 so far, and here are my thoughts.

    I agree with the others about the contrast. Using pyrocat M at 1+1+100, I find that I need to rate the film at no more than ISO 50 and use very short development times to fit my negs to grade 2 or 3 paper. Around 5-6 minutes for normal development at 70 deg F using constant agitation (Jobo). My biggest complaint about this film/developer combination is that in order to keep the macro-contrast to a manageable level, you sacrifice micro-contrast. The film just doesn't look "sharp". For instance, for the same scene on HP5+ developed for the same paper grade, the detail and texture really jump out in comparison.

    I've also tried rating the film at ISO 200 and developing in Diafine. This combination seems to yield better micro-contrast, but with the usual trade-offs associated with a push developer.


  9. #9

    Re: Fomapan 100

    I really like the film in Rodinal 1:100, EI 80 (sorry, don't have the times here). Rotary processing won't work too good, I use the "Taco" method. The effort is really worth it, beautiful old school looks, stunning tonality and it looks sharp. Really nice Film for a different look. But it does become quite dense quickly...
    My favorite film at the Moment (althou I need to do a bit of a proper testing...)

    Enjoy and play,
    cheers, Michael

  10. #10
    Vlad Soare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Bucharest, Romania

    Re: Fomapan 100

    Interested to know what it is exactly you like about the film.
    It's a classic emulsion. It doesn't rely on sensitizing dyes in order to use less silver and to save money. Because of this, it responds well to changes in development and to the choice of developer. You can easily see grain and sharpness differences between D-76 and Rodinal, for example. You can easily see the effect of shortening or prolonging the development. It responds very well to stand development (tried it myself) and to compensating development in two baths (tried this myself, too). It's a classic film, and all classic theories apply to it.
    That doesn't mean it's soft. The emulsion is hardened and isn't more prone to scratching than any other modern emulsion.

    It's very strongly affected by the Schwarzschild effect. Some regard this as a bad thing, but I love it. I use the Schwarzschild effect to my advantage, and I just love being able to expose for minutes, or even tens of minutes.

    It has a very good base. The base is polyester even in the 120 format, where most other manufacturers use cellulose triacetate. Polyester should age more gracefully, at least in theory. In sheet form the base is clear polyester. No pink tint, no magenta, no gray. Perfectly clear. 120 is blue, though, but that's the color of the polyester itself, it doesn't come from any sensitizing dyes.
    The base dries perfectly flat in all formats (well, sheet film doesn't count ), and it has never given me any Newton rings despite using a plain glass carrier in my former enlarger (my current one is glassless). It dries flatter than Tri-X and FP4+, at least in my experience.

    The 120 version has a self-adhesive sealing tape, so you don't have to lick it. As far as I now, Fuji is the only other manufacturer that offers this feature.

    It doesn't show its price. There's nothing cheap about it. No manufacturing defects, no variations from batch to batch, no flimsy and curly base, no soft and scratchy emulsion. I don't know about other Foma dealers, but our local one also provides the quality certificate of the current batch when you buy film from them, stating batch number, manufacturing date, etc.

    It's very well documented. The technical data sheets can be downloaded from Foma, and I find them excellent.

    This is what I like about it.

    On the minus side: too contrasty, a bit grainier than other films of the same speed (but I shoot mostly 6x7 and 4x5", so I couldn't care less about grain, and even in 35mm the grain doesn't look bad at all - on the contrary, it has an appealing classic look), lousy Schwarzschild characteristics (though I personally regard this as an advantage).
    Last edited by Vlad Soare; 8-Apr-2009 at 00:57.

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