Intrepid 4×5 camera, 150mm lens, Fomapan 100 film.
Developed in HC110 and toned in Adobe Lightroom
When I first got my Intrepid large format camera, I bought 50 sheets of Kodak TMax 100, which is one of my favourite films, along with Ilford FP4. TMax isn’t exactly cheap, with many suppliers asking £120 or more for a 50-sheet box. However I happened to look at the 7dayshop site at a time when the price had dropped to £87 so I took the plunge.
However, not surprisingly I found that my early fumblings with large format were leading to quite a high proportion of failed images; no matter how long you’ve been using 35mm or medium format, starting large format is a bit like going back to being a beginner, and presented with an array of things that you can possibly do wrong; such as firing the shutter without removing the dark slide, removing the film holder from the camera without reinserting the dark slide, developing film that has never been exposed, etc, etc.
So I decided to put the TMax to one side for a while and paid about £38 for a box of 50 sheets of Fomapan 100, in order to get more confident with all the large format procedures without wasting quite so much money.
I’d used a couple of rolls of Fomapan 100 in both 35mm and 120 formats, and thought it was OK but nothing special. The main concern was with reciprocity failure; Fomapan is notorious for having probably the worst reciprocity failure of any film.
For example, a measured exposure of 30s, not unusual in a dim interior when shooting at f64, requires an actual exposure of 51 seconds with Kodak TMax 100, 73 seconds with Ilford FP4+, and 347 seconds with Fomapan 100 …..
The image above, taken in a room lit with just one anglepoise lamp aimed at the flower, had a measured exposure of 60 seconds but required 14minutes to account for reciprocity failure. I was tempted to leave the room and cook a meal while the shutter was open, but I was worried that the movement would affect the delicate stamen so had to stay put in the semi-darkness.
Despite the reciprocity issues, I was happy with the results. I had expected the Fomapan to be much thinner than TMax and harder to load in the developing tank, but I didn’t have any problem in that regard; so I’ll keep going with the Fomapan in large format and see how it goes.
I’m not really interested though in buying more Fomapan in 35mm or medium format, where the price advantage is less significant than it is for large format. I’ve just bought ten rolls of FP4+ in 120 format from 7dayshop for just £37.58 (including postage) which is pretty good value and I’d rather use FP4+ in medium format than save just a few pence, if any, by using Fomapan.