When it comes to black and white photography, I don't have tons of experience. I usually stick to the known and trusted Ilford brand. So when I saw Lomography Magazine was looking for reviews on the Fomapan 100 120 film, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try a new film. I ordered some rolls, tried them out in the wild, and came back here to share my impressions with you.
The only black and white films I have used in the past have been Ilford films. Only very recently I tried Lomography’s Lady Grey. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like B&W photography, on the contrary, it’s just that when I find a brand I like and trust, I tend to stick with it. And Ilford is kind of hard to beat… Or so I thought.
When I loaded the first roll of Fomapan in my Lubitel 166+ it was a bit of a difficult weather day: cloudy, plenty of chance for the occasional shower, but also periods when the sky broke open and the sun came bursting through. I didn’t feel like getting soaked but decided to take my chances and still head out there. Luck was on my side, because as soon as I jumped on my bike the sun came out.
On my way to the park I made the first few shots. These were made in fairly dim conditions, on a shadowy bike path, with lots of overgrowth blocking the light. But they came out very well, with sharp details and a great range of grays. I especially like the cracking and peeling paint.
The next few shots were taking in full sunlight, almost straight into the light. Attempting to get more contrast in the clouded sky I used a red filter for these. Despite the lack of color in the flowers (they were white) and their small size, there is plenty of detail in those areas that are in focus.
To push things even further I made some shots straight up into the sun, but even this much light doesn’t really seem to bother this film (probably with a little help from the red filter which was still on).
By far my favorite shot of the day is this next one. This shot could have done with a bit more detail in the darker areas (front left), but overall I like how it came out! I don’t think any other film would have given me a much better result.
When I came back home it started raining, but I wanted to finish the roll. So I made the next few shots from my open window. I shot them at dusk, no big sunset, but still plenty of back light to give me some nice black silhouettes against a shaded gray sky.
To round things up I would say I was impressed by what the Fomapan 100 film delivered. I will most definitely use it again in the future, not in the least because of a peculiar thing I noticed in the shot below. If you look carefully you’ll find that some of the parts in the background appear to painted, water coloured even (look at where the wall hits the water). I am not sure whether this is due to the film or whether this is an artifact of my limited B&W developing skills, but I like it!
Those of you who are curious what the Fomapan 100 35mm can deliver when combined with a Lubitel 166+, take a look here.
Note: film was developed with Maco Ecoprint product line.