Foma Ortho 400 - 120 Film

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Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Peter S. (Leicester, GB)
Perfect for: Landscapes, Street Photography, Creative/Abstract
tricky and unpredictable

This is a film for experienced photographers who are willing to experiment. I have been playing with this film past few months; it's certainly more affordable alternative to currently available rollei and Ilford orthochromatic films some of which I simply cannot justify for regular use. If you are an old timer returning to classic photography be prepared this is a modern film that does not always behave the way orthochromatic film would have more than half a century [or longer] ago. if you are new to orthochromatic films be aware that this film is not really sensitive to reds; in the old days all films were orthochromatic, sensitive to greens and blues and not to reds. This is why very specific selective make up had to be applied and why a lot of actors in old films look over powdered. Superb for landscapes and adventurous when making art (alternative) portraits; skin tones will go darker and make most people look like they got a dark tan, facial features such as scars, freckles or moles will stand out as they also turn dark and some faces will look well lived in if not aged with highlighted . Aa any tones of red are returned as dark or black you have to factor this in if your scene covers warm yellows, orange or red hues. This film can return a very high contrast and is very tricky to expose if you want to avoid blowing highlights and not to lose details in shadows. super tricky to reverse to a positive. I would say shooting this sensitive film at box speed is just about right and you have to be accurate with developments times, and be patient if experimenting with reversal. I have found the technical data sheet confusing but it may be that it is just not very well translated into English.
I would agree that the contour sharpness is good, fine grain for a 400 film, high maximum density of the silver image; its exposure latitude is wide enough if used as a negative film; if you want to reverse I would say you have to expose very accurately. Underexposure is easier than over. When reversing using Ilford chemistry - Indoor and indirect artificial lighting and adverse lighting conditions gave me consistently better results than well lit outdoor scenes with higher contrast.
Works ok on overcast days and in lower contrast situations.
If you want to run a few rolls and experiment it may be worth collecting a a box of rolls on your next trip to Czechia where you can get it at a resonantly low price.

Martin J. (Tokyo, JP)
Perfect for: Great All-Rounder, Portraits, Landscapes, Architecture
Accreditation Handles: @duncroakin (Instagram)
A fast B&W film that you can cut down and handle under safe light

I imported 120 Foma Ortho 400 from Germany last year because nobody in the UK was stocking it. Why was I so keen to get it? Well, as other reviews have noted, it’s a very nice film that provides lovely tones. However, the most important thing (for me) was that it was a fast ortho film in 120 format.

As well as the more common formats, I shoot 110, 126 and 127. Film choice is limited and expensive, if available at all. I routinely have to cut film down and Claudio at Camerhack does a great job to help with this. I then have to cut index holes at precise intervals for 110 and 126, otherwise my particular cameras will not work. Once the index holes are cut, the film has to be loaded into a cassette and then loaded into a camera. Once the film is shot, the process is reversed to get the film into a developing tank.

With panchromatic film, this all has to be done in complete darkness. I can do this, but it is fiddly and time-consuming.

Ortho film means that I can work under a safelight and it makes the process so much easier! I’d looked at ortho films before, but they were too slow to be generally useful. Foma Ortho 400 shoots well at EI 400 (you get a little more shadow detail at 200). In the absence of any ‘official’ timings I semi-stand dev it in 510-Pyro for 60 minutes at 20’C 1:500, 1 minute initial agitation and then 10 seconds every 10 minutes. Stop with water and use Plain Fixer for 10 minutes. I've given James a sample film, so we'll hopefully get some official times soon. I’ve attached some 110 shots as examples to show how well it works, even with very small negatives (Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mk2).

If you need to cut down and reload to obscure (fiddly) formats, then this is the B&W film that you have been waiting for.

Tom P. (Redditch, GB)
Perfect for: Landscapes, Street Photography, Creative/Abstract
Accreditation Handles:
Lovely classic film

Shot this film through my ensign selfix 420 folding camera, developed in bellini rdl, this film gives a wonderful classic look to photos,

Colin S. (Eastbourne, GB)
Perfect for: Great All-Rounder, Beginners, Landscapes, Street Photography, Pinhole/Long-Exposure, Architecture, Creative/Abstract, Low light/Night
Accreditation Handles: mycreativecorner
Foma Ortho

I tried Foma Ortho 400 on a changeable day weather wise, exposing it at box speed. Film was processed in my usual developer (510 Pyro) using the same processing time as for regular Foma 400 film and this seemed about right.
Being rated at ISO 400 certainly gives an advantage on overcast days.
Must say I was pleased with the results, film has great tonal range, being bright but with well controlled shadow and highlight detail, the grain is a little coarser than Tri-X but not obtrusive. However, care has to be taken with exposure - over exposure will cause the grain structure to become a lot more apparent. Another point worth mentioning is that once processed the film is very curly making it a little challenging when scanning the negatives.
Would I use Foma Ortho again? Probably.

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