On a grey drizzly day, when my mood fitted the weather perfectly, I loaded my first ever roll of Fomapan 100 Classic into my Spotmatic and headed to the beach to cheer myself up.

Beer is a small fishing village in South Devon, part of the famous Jurassic Coast, and a popular tourist destination. On days like this there is a nice run-down feel to the place, and there are no tourists because of the lockdown, so the beach is near deserted, just a few fishermen doing repairs to their gear and the cafe owner cleaning his chairs in readiness for an influx of post-lockdown customers.

My Pentax Spotmatic SP + Takumar 55mm f:1.8, Martin Kelley

I used my Takumar 55mm f/1.8, the radioactive one. I adore this lens, the clicky aperture ring, the super smooth focus action, and the way it renders images. I like high contrast, so I experimented with a yellow filter for this roll.

First up I shoot the fishing boats some. I enjoy the contrast of the dark hull shapes against the washed out, high key sea and sky. One of the boats’ owners is sorting out the deck, ready for launching the next day before the storm forecast this weekend. We chat a bit, and I ask to take a portrait, he shrugs and says “I don’t know why”, but I suspect he is often asked cos he seems to have that glance at the horizon pretty nailed. Orca’s stern is a delicious jet black so I shoot looking back up the beach to the slipway, keeping it f8 to show the higgledy muddle of vehicles and cottages moderately out of focus. Wandering back up the beach, I go for the close up texture shot of rope thrown into a plastic crate, and then the cafe chairs, cleaned and disinfected for post lockdown customers.

Do I like Fomapan 100 Classic? To be honest, I missed the extra grain of my current favourite film, Foma’s 400 action, I think for the subject that may have been a better choice, but yes, I love the full rich blacks and the even mid tones that don’t seem to dissolve into muddy mush. Would I shoot it again? I ordered ten rolls of the stuff, so there’s nine more whether I like it or not, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what it delivers in different conditions and for different subjects. Do I think it’s good value for money? This feels a really classy film that punches way over its weight, it’s fantastic value for money!

~ Martin

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About the author

Avatar - Martin Kelly

Martin Kelly

I'm a hobby photographer, wandering South West England looking for things to shoot. I learned film at school, but got better at taking photos using digital, and now am loving my film renaissance journey. I do all my own developing, and occasionally set up...


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  1. Love your write-up! And I love using Fomapan 100. It has become my go-to 100 speed black and white film, though I shoot it much more often in 120 than in 35mm. I do love the balanced contrast of this film and I do agree that it punches above its price point. Yellow filters really can make this film sing, along with developing in Rodinal 1:50. One of my favorite shots from the last year was taken on this film in my Yashica D (https://imgur.com/HOBx27). One thing that makes Fomapan 100 tricky to use sometimes is the absolutely horrible reciprocity failure once you get metered exposures longer than 1/2 second. Per the film data sheet, 1 second metered exposure requires 2 seconds of corrected exposure time (+1 stop). 10 second metered exposure requires 80 seconds corrected exposure time (+3 stops). Makes calculating exposures really challenging for shooting long exposures, like at night or when I use my pinhole camera.

  2. Hi – Great shots, I’m a Spotmatic shooter too.
    Fomapan is a nice classic film, I always think it lacks a defining character, but every time I use it I’m pleased.
    Foma films are very flexible – try pushing it (if you haven’t already.) Rodinal stand development seems made for it. I recently shot the 200 Creative at 800 and the results were very good (tonal range, detail.)

  3. Asahi Pentax SP + Takumar + a good Czech monochrome film + Britain = isn’t life marvelous ?
    Thanks for the article.
    JF Bonnin, SP owner and FOMAPAN 200 and 400 user.