Film Ferrania P30 ~ First Roll

Grant Mayer (@grantmeyerphoto) offered five rolls of Ferrania P30 that he wasn’t able to use a few weeks ago. I jumped at the chance to try this new high contrast film. I thought it would really suit me. I’ve noticed a few of the sample images from Film Ferrania in the early testing and a sample from fellow film photographers. People shoot and process film differently so there was a wide set of looks from low contrast to high. But I know what Ferrania intends for this film so I felt confident I could make it work.

I took a roll to Cruising Grand last Friday night, what could be better than a classic black and white film shooting classic cars? I actually got 39 images from the roll which is a generous amount of film from Ferrania.

Ferrania recommends shooting at the ISO80 box speed so that’s how I shot it. For development, I used HC110(b) at a dilution of 31:1 for five minutes. Agitation for one minute and then three agitations at each minute thereafter. My tap water comes out at 22 degrees Celsius so I went with that temperature. That’s a bit higher than the recommended 20 degrees but I didn’t think it would be enough to affect it much. I used an Ilford stop and fixer. This was all done in a 600ml Patterson tank.

The following sample of images were all shot on my Leica MP with a Zeiss Sonnar f/1.5 and have not been retouched or post processed in any way. They came out very clean with no scratches to speak of. The images were scanned on an EPSON V850 using Silverfast 8 on the Delta 100 preset since there is no setting built in for Ferrania P30. I hope the folks at Silverfast issue an update, this is a film that’s sure to be around for a while.

I have to say that I really like this film.  The contrast is it’s biggest selling point, including the very deep blacks, for the most part without compromising the wide ranging tonal qualities that remain in these images.  I’m showing you all of the images from the first roll just to give you an idea of my first experience with P30.  Some of the exposures aren’t the best but there are still lessons to be taken from how these were shot.  The film doesn’t seem too forgiving in some images with the highlights when exposed for the shadows although the dynamic range is wide ranging in a few of these scenes.  It’s late afternoon light in Southern California so it can be very harsh at times.  But overall, I think I can work with this film understanding how it responds, with only one roll of experience.

Let me know what you think and as always thanks for reading!

6 comments On Film Ferrania P30 ~ First Roll

  • Very interesting Bill. Came across this in FilmFerrania’s twitter feed. I’ve just shot my second roll of P30, and both have come out very under-exposed at 80. Second roll I shot with a second camera holding FP4+, same image both shots. P30 camera at 1/125, FP4 camera at 1/250; apertures as metered were within half a stop or so. Both films processed by AG Photolab, which has experience of P30. See . P30 negs MUCH thinner looking than the FP4 negs. I was wondering if your negs looked thin compared with normal negs?

    • Hi Chris. I’d say yes, they were thinner than my normal exposures. I just happened to have a roll of Pan F Plus hanging to dry next to the P30 roll and did notice that the highlights completely disappeared on the film, there wasn’t much detail. The main subject seemed to be fine however so I wasn’t too worried. I’d ask the lab how they processed your film. I processed mine in HC110(b) for five minutes. I might try my next roll at four just to see what happens.

  • Based on the review here I think AG use Fuji Negastar.

    I’m thinking of rating the next roll in 3 sections of 12 shots each at 64, 50 and 40 respectively, since I think both my first tow rolls were under-exposed. But I could be wrong, maybe it’s just very high contrast… but reducing the dev time would only pull back the highlights (blacks in the negative); the problem seems to me that shadow detail is not there, shadows are almost clear in the negative, and pulling won’t help with that. It’s almost as if the film doesn’t have the normal response curve!

    I’m planning to write up the results of my two rolls with some examples.

  • The consensus in the photo fora seems to be that 80 is optimistic. Seems like 50 ISO might be the ticket.
    I’ve just received my rolls, so I haven’t had a chance to shoot any of it yet, but it seems to have a nice rich quality!

  • Bill,
    You need to get a book about film developing. Two degrees does make quite a difference! You’ve over-developed the film by around 20% which is why you’ve got some blown out highlights. The film’s true speed seems to be less than 80 ISO – maybe 40 ISO or less. So you’ve under-exposed it and then over-developed. No wonder you ended up with high contrast results! Try exposing the film at 20 ISO and 40 ISO, in other words set your camera’s meter to 40 ISO and bracket each photograph a stop over. Then develop it for 20% less time instead of 20% more at 20C. If your normal dev time at 20C is 10 mins, then give it 8 mins. Then see if you think it’s still contrasty.

    • Thanks Bruce, I’m sure you’re right. I developed two rolls this weekend before I saw your comment here with some mixed results again. I shot at ISO 50 and then developed for 5 minutes at 20 celcius, maybe a degree under. The results are better, much more even contrast and any mistakes I think are due to my in camera exposure. I’ll keep trying to be consistent and maybe I will get a book but probably not 😉

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