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Johnny Wilson
  • Johnny Wilson

First Impressions of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Following on from the successful launch of their first branded film; Kosmo Foto Mono the folks at Kosmo Foto announced their second branded film by way of a Kickstarter project in June last year; the Agent Shadow film. A ISO 400 panchromatic film capable of being pushed to 3200 ISO and even as far as 6400 ISO adapting for development changes. Adopting the same creative design etic as the previous brand, Agent Shadow leans much more towards a 1940's Film Noir cinema theme with shadowy detective looking figures and outlines adorning the boxes in contrast to the Soviet era space exploration theme with their first film brand, yet still retaining the characteristic look of what is becoming their film brand with the same minimal colour palettes and poster-ish outlining.

Having an interesting box is... well, nice enough I guess (he says, but I'll definitely be keeping one aside for my "film museum"!), but no good if the film sucks! Fortunately with Agent Shadow my initial experience has been pretty positive. It's marketed as being versatile enough that with some pre-planning and creativity you can really.. push it... no pun intended... to it's absolute limits to get some really impressive results but I chose to play it straight with my first roll and just shot it at the 400 ISO box speed. I loaded it up in my Canon EOS 650 and took it out with me on a handful of summer travels:

I'm really happy with how my photos turned out. At ISO 400 it still has a subtle yet complimentary film grain and there is enough definition between the highlights and shadows that reproduction is really clear without anything getting muddy and without any detail being lost. It's not too dissimilar from Kosmo Foto Mono which I've shot with a handful of times now and talked about on the blog a couple of years ago, although I feel like Agent Shadow retains just a little bit of a highlight boost over Kosmo Foto Mono.

Some of my shots with Agent Shadow did come out a little bit on the overexposed side but I put this down to shooting in blazing hot sunlight during some of the hottest weather Britain has ever experienced... so if I was to shoot with it again during full on sunlight I'd probably dial it in at 200 ISO and knock the exposure back a bit, but I'm confident in lower light levels that if you pushed it up a bit you'd retain more of an exposure than you might do with other less forgiving 400 ISO brands.

I backed the Kickstarter back in June last year but owing to some frustrations during the production process (you can read about it on the Kickstarter page here) the physical film itself didn't actually land on my doorstep until June this year, but to Stephen Dowling's credit, the Kickstarter backers were kept regularly updated with the details and I never at any point felt like there was the potential I was being scammed out of my money! The film is now readily available for general purchase though from Kosmo Foto themselves and this is not a sponsored link but you can also pick it up from Analogue Wonderland. I'm planning to put my second roll through a slightly less sophisticated camera, maybe one of the Club Reloadable cameras I've been blogged about lately, just to see how it handles being put through a camera with no manual control over exposure. But initially I'm really happy with my photos and it looks Agent Shadow can be a really dependable film stock. I'm interested to see how it handles being put through some of the other cameras in my collection to determine if it's versatile enough to be a complete all-rounder but even if not, just shooting it at box speed gives you some really pleasing results, especially with that subtle grain.


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