Film Review: Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow

Our good friend Kosmo Foto also recently celebrated a 10 year anniversary and with that released last month to the world Kosmo Agent Shadow. Launched via Kickstarter on June 11th 2021, Agent Shadow is a film noir-themed 400-ISO film that comes in an interesting box set. Ours finally arrived and with just a narrow window of so-so weather in the midst of rain season, it was high time to go out and give this film a go.

Background History

If you’ve been on an island with a volleyball for the past 5 years, you’ve missed the cool retro-inspired box design of Kosmo Foto Mono popping up in shops around the world in 2017. Mono was made by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic as part of their Fomapan range.

With its success, Kosmo Foto’s Stephen Dowling wanted to add a genuine 400-ISO film into the mix. Lower ISO, contrasty black-and-white films are perfect for bright sunny weather but when the light gets lower a proper higher-ISO film really comes into its own. Stephen reminisced about the good ole days when Fujifilm Neopan, HP5 and Tri-X saved his photographic bacon in low light. Film-noir was a perfect theme to go with.

The Briefcase Box set we received– which includes five rolls of the film and the ‘The 36 Frames’ mini comic book – comes with a special magnetically sealed box made to look like a retro briefcase, with faded luggage stickers hinting at a long life lugging secrets from Point A to Point B.

Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow Tech Specs

  • 35mm black and white, panchromatic film
  • 400-ISO
  • High-speed film with wide exposure latitude and good shadow detail
  • Able to be pushed to ISO 800/1600/3200/6400 with corresponding changes in development time


Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow Sample Pics

The following are samples of Agent Shadow shot at box speed ISO 400 on a Leica M6 and MS Optics Apoqualia 35mm 1.3. Self-developed with Cinestill DF96 in an Ars-Imago Lab Box and scanned on a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i.

The images below were shot at ISO 800. For push development, I tried increasing the temperature to 32C with 3 minutes of constant agitation. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to develop evenly as evident of some streaking. Most likely human error on loading on to the reel? However, you can still get a sense of the grain and contrast with a one stop push.

Final Thoughts

The Agent Shadow campaign is a fun idea and I appreciate the thought that went into it and embodies Stephen’s testament to his love of film photography. Stephen also has a deep appreciation of box design and the Kosmo Foto Mono box ranks up there in most attractive packaging. Mono has been independently confirmed as Fomapan, yet that cool box keeps people coming back for more.

The jury is out on who Agent Shadow really is. I’ve seen reports that it is Ilford Pan 400. Not a betting man, but if I had to, I ‘d surmise it could be named after a certain English county also associated with a famous cigarette brand. I think the mid-tones are the biggest clue.

Whatever it is, I enjoyed the fun package and new film options are always welcome. I look forward to pushing Agent Shadow even further to ISO 1600 and 3200 the next chance I get. What are your thoughts on what it is? Let us know your experiences with the new Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow.