An informal review:
I have an affinity for black and white film. An image done in black and white removes all distractions and leaves only the image and emotion. And for me, a good image will elicit some sort of emotion. I’m not saying a color image can’t accomplish the same goal, it’s just better without the color.
In my quest, I’ve been using a lot of different black and white films. I came across Foma Fomapan 400 and purchased it, mostly for my experimenting in developers. It is very affordable and available in 35mm single cannister and bulk roll, and available in 120 format.
When I say affordable, I paid $4.99 for a roll of 36 exposures and $54.99 for a 100 foot roll of 400 speed. 120 is available for $4.59 per roll.
I’ve shot about 10 rolls of this film in the past couple of months, but I held off writing this because I wanted to try out my new variation of caffenol developer with it (I’ll share that at the end of the post). And the results were stunning.
This is a 400 speed film, so some grain is to be expected. But for a 400 speed, the grain is very controlled. In caffenol, the film has a nice contrast and great tonal range. The film has very little to no curl after development and is great for scanning. If there is a drawback to this film, it is a bit thin. I would recommend if using a metal development tank and reel, practice a bit beforehand, it’s easy to kink while spooling it.
When I checked the massive development chart, they listed Fomapan in caffenol at 40 minutes. I found it hard to believe it would need that much time in the developer. The results in this post are 15 minutes at 20C.
Now for the updated formula:
7 grams (5 tsp) Instant Coffee (NOT DECAF)
3 grams (1 tsp) Vitamin C powder
20 grams (3 1/2 tsp) Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 gram iodized table salt (look for the ingredient Potassium Iodide)
When mixing, I utilize two containers with 175 ml (6 fluid ounces) water each. Mix the coffee and vitamin c powder in one, and the washing soda and salt in the other. When the washing soda has dissolved, mix the two together and it is ready to use (when it’s at 20C).