If you’ve been following my recent experimentation with Fomapan 400 you will have seen my results so far from a +2 push (EI1600), as well as from 1 stop overexposed (EI200). The images made with that extra stop of light were enough to allow me to “settle” for shooting with that as my standard while in India, but on returning to London’s grey skies I found myself limited by that requirement. I wanted to see whether the parameter of simply adding a stop was enough to give me similar results to those at EI200 whilst pushing the ISO higher to allow for the lower-light conditions.
I was hoping that by setting my meter for 1600, but developing at conditions meant for 3200 (a +3 push) that I would be able to achieve nicer tones, and help make the results more consistent with the standards I’m working towards in my black and white photography.
The results are mixed, but definitely more preferable to my eye than those at the “normal” +2 push. I was definitely allowing more light in the areas they were needed in for the composition, especially an improvement in the mid-tones. Shadow detail is close to non-existent, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the way I expose – if my point of interest is in the shadow then that’s what I’m exposing for.
The grain is very, very visible in these, and for some this would be a dealbreaker, but I don’t think it’s the worst aesthetic – it’s maybe slightly more blocky than my usual high speed option Delta 3200 – but that film is two or three times the price!
It’s nice to know that this option is open to me, but realistically this will not be my general application. This kind of process makes more sense as an emergency fallback, to keep a couple of rolls at the bottom of my bag for the unlikely scenario of running dry of films like HP5+ which take push latitudes up to 3200 very much in their stride. Fomapan exposed and developed this way is nice for times I want to shoot personal images, indoor situations and night scenes which aren’t “important” stories but still important enough to record on film.
Thanks for taking the time to read this “5 Frames With…” article! You might enjoy some of the other writing I’ve done here on 35mmc, or my Instagram for a steady feed of my work. I buy all of my film from Analogue Wonderland.
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