6th March 2018, by Tim Sewell
I picked up a roll of Fomapan 100 on a whim last November, as I happened to be in a shop that sold it (the wonderful Clockwork Cameras in Brighton) and I hadn't come across any 'in the flesh' before. I didn't have particularly high expectations, if I'm honest, as most examples I'd seen online seemed muddy and ill-defined. I also wasn't expecting to be able to use it for some time, as I ruefully considered my similarly sensitive half-finished roll of Ektar 100 that still languished in the fridge awaiting a weekend day with any measurable light levels in this long and gloomy winter.
I was correct in the latter of those expectations, as it turned out. It wasn't until early February that the sun deigned to emerge on a day when I wasn't chained to my desk, so it was with some pleasure that I loaded the film into my 'rescue' Canon 1N. I managed to rattle off half the roll that day - mainly in the park, waiting to take one of my 2 boys to a party.
The second half of the roll accompanied me on one of my rare Saturday afternoon photographic strolls through the ever-interesting and photogenic streets of my city.
Well I don't know about you - but the images that greeted me on my laptop screen as I scanned the freshly dried negatives didn't seem muddy to me at all. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at how snappy they were. I developed them in Kodak HC-110, dilution B for 6:30, with 30 second agitations - nothing unusual there - and scanned them on the 'Other' Negafix setting in Silverfast on my Nikon Coolscan IV. The grain is fine and well-controlled, contrast good without being excessive. The film is sharp. the only slight shortcoming, to my mind, is the lack of tolerance for overexposure but, hey, it ain't Portra.
So am I a fan now? I think so. I think that in good light the emulsion can more than hold its own and it has one very pertinent advantage over a lot of comparable films - it's cheap as chips! 10 rolls have now pushed a bit more of the family's food out of the fridge in preparation for the summer and I'm thoroughly looking forward to loading some more up.
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