Ferrania P30: first roll review

It’s been a long time coming, but the first film from Film Ferrania is here.

Ferrania P30 is a new production run of a classic emulsion, and it’s beautiful, low speed black & white film. Film shooters, rejoice!

As soon as I could, I ordered 5 rolls that finally arrived on May 25. I was excited, and immediately loaded a roll and started strong, but then Ramadan arrived, with all of its blessings, and I mostly left photography by the wayside for a week or so, while I adjusted to the new schedule.

I started the roll with a nice picture of my darling, adorable wife as she prepared dinner that night.

MashaAllah. All the tones there, and the moody variation in the darker greys evokes mystery and drama, with a sense of classic film. Just beautiful.*

Moments later, the Hanabibti went outside to wash her car. A better husband would’ve jumped in and helped, maybe playfully sprayed her with the hose and had some fun with soapy water, but no… this husband grabbed the camera and started shooting. And may Allah forgive me, but maybe it was worth it?

Cue Rose Royce.

After that, my shooting dried up for a few days, with good reason: Ramadan is here to help us gain Taqwa, piety, righteousness, consciousness of God, not to go on a photo shooting spree. It was a week or more before I grabbed the camera and forced myself to shoot my way through the rest. Looking at the pictures now, and given the character of this film, I wish I’d shot more landscape oriented shots, and not been so hasty with the last half roll. P30 looks like noir cinema to me: just screams to be in a wider format, and wants to tell stories and suggest moods.

It’s great with scenes like this, moody, dramatic, like a film still from some hard boiled detective film, and not quite as good at flower pictures and whatnot. It’s still beautiful, but InshaAllah I’ll focus on more narrative shooting with the rest of my limited stock.

 

I shot the bulk of the roll with a yellow filter. I’m not sure what difference it made, especially since I did no a/b comparisons with and without it. But I don’t think it harmed anything.

The good people at Ferrania provided a Best Practices pdf, and I intended to follow their instructions for Rodinal 1+50, but I failed: instead of the recommended 1 inversion per minute, I did 4 inversions per minute, and I think my error led to increased contrast, though I’m not positive. InshaAllah in the future, I’ll follow the instructions exactly.

The P30 dried remarkably flat, flat enough that it was very easy to “scan,” but very hard to get into archival sleeves. Life’s rough all over, I know, and I’d much rather have flat film than complex curves and coils, but still.

Once scanned, the files required very little work beyond flipping the curve and converting to black & white, and I was immediately pleased with what I saw.

Grain
Character
Handling
Processing

The best picture from the roll, imo, has a bit of everything: highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, smooth grain. The P30 just sings in it.

If not for my 4 inversions error, there would probably be some detail in the wheel well, and my darling, adorable wife’s skirt might not be quite so contrasty. But still, it’s an absolutely beautiful film, and I’m fortunate to have 4 rolls left, chilling in the fridge. I’d like to find D76 1+1 times and see what it looks like in Ilfotec HC, and so might do clip tests of different developers with one of them, but I might not: it looks fine in Rodinal, so that’s probably good enough for me.

Overall, I’d give Ferrania P30 a solid 4.5 stars.

Sadly, the PreOrder window has closed, and there’s no indication when Ferrania will open the shop back up. Rest assured, you won’t be disappointed with Ferrania P30, and I very much hope Ferrania is able to get it into full, regular production and make it available on an ongoing basis.

Kudos to Marco, Nicola, and the rest of the Ferrania team for navigating all the obstacles and making it this far! I’m fortunate to be a tiny part of the story and I look forward to following along with their progress.


*Please pardon the slightly dirty cook top: she cooks there almost every day, and it’s not possible to keep it spotless at all times. I’m blessed to have a wife that loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen, almost always with delicious and healthy results!

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