Foma are perhaps less active on the PR front than the mainstream photo manufacturers, but just get on with what they do best, cranking out good workmanlike materials at a very economical cost. We have been involved in importing their materials, film, paper and chemistry for about 20 years. We have seen them consolidate their range and quality standards over that time, in that difficult period after the dissolution of the USSR, when many other photo manufacturers in Eastern Europe went to the wall.
FOMA Bohemia Ltd is a producer of photographic materials with a long tradition. Founded in March 1995 through the privatisation of the National Enterprise, FOMA has become a part of a group of companies called the BOCHIME Group.
The company’s origin dates back to 1921 when a company named FOTOCHEMA Ltd was founded. Its products were delivered with the brand name FOMA. At first only photographic plates and processing chemicals were produced. Then, in the 1930’s, FOTOCHEMA Ltd. began production of black and white papers, followed by the production of black and white roll films a year later.
In 1949, under the name National Enterprise FOTOCHEMA, the range of products was extended to include X-ray films, black and white positive copy film, reversal film, color paper, color negative film and color reversal film.
After 1990, essential changes were made and the production of black and white light sensitive materials became the dominant production program of the company. In September of 1997, FOMA received a certificate of compliance to ISO 9001 quality for management standards. Since then, ISO 9001 has encompassed all the activities of FOMA.
The high flexibility of FOMA, and their willingness to meet the unique order requirements of customers result in healthy exports. FOMA materials are now exported to around 50 countries, including Germany, Russia, Lativia, Ukraine, Italy, UK, US, Spain, France, India and Venezuela.
Possibly what has given FOMA staying power during this difficult time in silver-based photography is that they are not entirely reliant on photographic sales, but have shares in other markets for sensitised materials. This especially includes X-ray materials for dentistry and other fields, as well as dosimetry films for the nuclear industry.
The photographic materials industry needs a good fist of strong players for diversity and competition, and FOMA are showing that they will be among the front runners for a long time to come.
“Foma 100 is a great film. ‘The always good picture’s film!’ as claimed an old Foma ad. Very wide exposure range, very nice to work with.”
Mael, Rangefinder Forum
“I love Foma 200, I shot a roll through my M3 back in the spring. I shot it a 160 and processed in Rodinal.
I got perfect negatives.”
Uncle Bill, Rangefinder Forum
“Grain looks like the classic films and resolving power is good. It costs half of what FP4+ costs and the images looks just as good. FP4+ will be noticeably faster.
To my eye at least, Fomapan 100 looks a bit less grainy. It’s cheap and it is good, just a bit different. I will definitely order more.” Ronald H Rangefinder Forum
“Foma films are very nice films, with beautiful quite fine grain. My favourites are 100 and 400…100 exposed @ ISO 50 developed in PMK and 400 @ ISO 400 in XTOL. In 120 the base is bluish so it can be disturbing at the beginning, but does not affect the image quality at all.” Aurelian, APUG
“I’m a huge proponent of their sheet film. I love the Fomapan 200 – it has become my primary film in 5×7 format (what I shoot the most)’”
“Based on the work TheFlyingCamera have shown here and also the recomendation for the Fomapan 200 it is now becoming my main film in both 5×7 and 8×10.
It is a superp film for tonality and contrast for alternative work. And, the price can not be beaten.”
“My impression of Foma 200 is that it resembles TMY more than TMX, which is a good thing, in my eyes…this film seems to be very capable of expansion and con- traction development over a fairly wide range….6×9 prints from 35mm negs are absolutely grainless, with beautiful gradation, and excellent sharpness. I think I’ll be using a lot of this film.”
Jay de Fehr, Photo.net