Fomapan 100 B&W Film Profile/Review
This tech page is for Foma Fomapan 100 Film, or FOMAPAN_BW_100. This is a medium speed B&W film that comes in 35mm roll, 120 roll, and various sheet sizes. FOMAPAN_BW_100 is repackaged as Lomography Earl Grey (as of late 2017), and as Freestyle Photographic’s Arista.EDU Ultra house brand film, so this tech sheet covers all three films under this one page. This film is a panchromatically sensitized, black-and-white negative film designed for low granularity, high resolving power and contour sharpness and a wide range of halftones.
There are many ways to develop FOMAPAN_BW_100. Following Foma’s recommended development in their tech sheet is a good place to start if you want to develop this film yourself. If you send your film in to us here at Simple Film Lab, we develop FOMAPAN_BW_100 with Replenished Kodak XTOL with constant rotary agitation as standard practice. The development time is 5:30 at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. We use a 1+4 water+vinegar stop bath between development and fixing. We fix all BW films in Kodak Fixer.
There are many ways to meter and expose FOMAPAN_BW_100. If sending FOMAPAN_BW_100 in to Simple Film Lab to process and scan, we recommend taking an incident light reading of the darkest part of the scene you want to retain details in and subtracting 2 stops of exposure from that reading. For example, if the darkest part of the scene that you want to retain detail in reads 1/125 shutter, f/4.0 at ISO 100, either set the shutter to 1/500 or close down the aperture to f/8.0, or a combination of the two to reduce the exposure by two stops. If you don’t have a light meter, then set your camera exposure compensation to +1 stop, and that will generally result in an acceptable exposure for most situations once scanned in and density corrected.
Using the development described above, here’s the characteristic curve for FOMAPAN_BW_100:
The scale along the bottom is exposure EVs, the scale along the left is the measured density as seen by the film scanner, meaning raw ADC values. The EV 0 mark is an 18% exposure card exposed correctly via an incident light reading with a Sekonic light meter through a T-Stop rated lens. Every dot along the curve is a full stop of light. The black curve is Contrast Index that the emulsion is digitized and linearized with, the green curve is the actual measured density values of the emulsion using the development described above.
Dynamic Range/Exposure Latitude
Following the development practice described above and scanned in with the ISO standard CI 0.62, the film base plus fog starts to happen at EV -5 and is clear film base by EV -7. On the highlight side, with replenished XTOL it pretty much hits maximum density by +9 EV.
With the above information, in Adobe Lightroom, the visible dynamic range of an exposure is +7 EV to -6 EV. FOMAPAN_BW_100 provides about 2 stops of under exposure and 1 full stops of over exposure protection while still maintaining acceptable black levels and full highlight retention for the full visible dynamic range in Adobe Lightroom with no change in development. These over-under limits can be exceeded if you are OK with reduced performance at the extremes of the exposure scale. This equates to an approximate exposure index range of EI 50 to 400, which is excellent. Push processing will result in bringing the toe contrast up and providing more shadow detail, but at the expense of highlights and a much higher contrast index.
FOMAPAN_BW_100 has reasonable resolution for a 100 speed film. Looking at Foma’s spec sheet, at 50% contrast, FOMAPAN_BW_100 is about 30 line-pairs per mm of film. Looking at a film scan of a 135 frame at 1:1, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly sharp, but it’s also not particularly soft either. I’d rate it as middle of the road in terms of resolution. It has marginally more resolution than Fomapan 200 and Fomapan 400, which are both at about 25 line pairs at 50% contrast. In terms of grain, Foma lists it as a granularity of 13.5, so it’s got grain, but it’s not particularly grainy. It’s a pretty pleasant grain. 400TX has a listed granularity of 17, so it’s comparatively finer grained, but not dramatically so. I personally don’t shoot a lot FOMAPAN_BW_100 as it’s not really my cup of tea, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a great film, it’s just not my personal first pick.