A while ago I got an email from the Film Photography Project store alerting me to the fact that they had Ferrania P30 back in stock. I jumped on that, just two rolls, because I missed out earlier. I should’ve got more than two rolls because they’re sold out again. Anyway, I read a bit about it – that it’s quite contrasty along with being fine-grained – and decided a nice overcast Sunday was a good day to shoot it around my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

I shot with a Kiev 2a with Jupiter 3 lens at box speed 80 ASA and developed in HC-110 1+63 for 12 minutes, per the instructions on the Ferrania site. I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. This film is my new love. Or at least infatuation – it’s still early.

I love the blacks. They’re so rich, with layers of depth. I love the overall tonality, which I think is aided quite a bit by the fine grain. I read that some people feel the shadows get blocked up but I don’t find that to be the case at all. Maybe the fairly dilute mix of HC-110 I used helps. I can see that it could get too contrasty with blocked up shadows if using more normal concentrations with shorter times.

Though I didn’t choose to shoot the first roll with my Kiev kit for this reason, a fellow photographer suggested to me that the low contrast of vintage glass, like my 1963 Jupiter 3, might be an ideal pairing with the Ferrania P30. Makes sense. After all, the original P30 was cinema film used by the Italian neorealists and Fellini, and they used vintage glass (though they didn’t know it at the time). Maybe the difficulties some have with the film is owed to not shooting through proper minimally coated low-contrast lenses from BITD. In any case, the negs looked beautiful. Jaw-droppingly beautiful as I hung them to dry. With that, the scans needed very little tweaking.

I’m primarily a Tri-X shooter in black & white, and a very happy one at that. I’ve been looking forward to trying the new Fuji Acros, and I still will, but I’ve found the medium-slow speed B&W of my dreams in Ferrania P30. That is, if I can find it…

March 8, 2020

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