5.08.2015

Fun with Film: Fomapan 200

The dilemma: "Free Shipping for all orders $49 or more!"

One problem... I had filled my "cart" with the 120 film items I wanted and it came to $45 and change. I could either pay the few bucks for shipping, or add another roll to the cart to bring the total beyond the threshold.  That much was something of a no-brainer.

But what to add?  I was already feeling a bit frugal so I didn't want to add another roll of $7 or $8 slide film to the mix, and I wasn't all that enthusiastic about color negative film.  The obvious choice was a roll of affordable black and white film, and while I had experience with some of these fine choices, there was something in me that wanted to try something new.

That something turned out to be Fomapan 200.

I already had some black and white stocks in speeds such as 25, 50, 125, and 400, so upon seeing this 200 speed film available for $4.39 a roll, it seemed the ideal choice, not just to get me the benefit of free shipping, but also to widen my inventory.  I had no clue when, how, or really IF I would even shoot this roll, but at least it was there.

It was only after ordering that I did a little searching on Fomapan 200 and discovered that it had an affectionate following.  Not only did a number of people regard it as the best film of the Foma lineup, but there were a number of remarks that it had a very traditional "vintage" film look to it.  That worked right into my wheel house.

Ultimately, the single roll of film made the trip west with me as a backup, and found its way into use in mid March.  I elected to run it through my ca. 1935 Welta/Rodenstock "mystery" camera, where it got to be my main film camera tag along on a day to take some snapshot type images in Chicago.  The camera performed great, and I handily filled the roll with images taken mostly under sunny skies.   Off the film went to Kansas for developing.

On the film's return, my first impressions were pretty immediate and impressive.  In looking at the negatives alone, they LOOKED to me like negatives that had been developed in the mid-20th Century.  Quite nice.  On scanning I was just as pleased to see a pleasing grain pattern and tonality in the images, apparently the result of an emulsion that mixes conventional and tabular grain structures.

But enough on talking, have a look and see the samples of the snapshots below.  I can say that I will definitely be loading up some Fomapan 200 in the not too distant future!


It is very fitting that my first photos taken on a film known for giving a classic look is of a very classic subject.  Chicago Union Station serves as the backdrop for these images that really gives off a 1940's aura to them, with the grain patterns and tonality. 









Journeying outside under the "L" and shooting wide open, the film rendered some very nice contrast, while the Trinar lens has just enough bokeh to provide good separation.  

Under nearly blue skies, the grain structure really puts forth a vintage film look, with just enough of a pattern to be clearly film but without being overly splotchy.  Impressive.


A simple snapshot against the light turns out surprisingly well, with nice detail in both shadow and light areas. 




The Wrigley Building provides a suitable classic backdrop for the shots above and below.  I love the way that this film captured this setting with little fuss or effort.




Areas of shadow are handled pretty well by Fomapan 200, as seen in these street images above and below.  





Snapshots around an abandoned elevated station came out with good detail in light and dark areas, and a pleasant grain pattern.  




An indoor shot was somewhat underexposed, but most areas of shadow were retrievable after a scan and some post processing.


As clouds began to settle upon the Windy City, the film took on a more silvery look in its rendering of this photo of Lou Mitchell's.