I recently shot two rolls of Ferrania P30, being curious about the character of this film. In this post my review and experience using this film.
About Ferrania P30
Ferrania P30 is a remake of the Ferrania P30 film that was used in the mid 20th century by famous film makes like Federico Fellini, Victor de Sica and Pier Paolo Pasolini to shoot their most famous movies. It produces high contrast images with very little grain. In the 1950s a special version for 35mm photography was created.
Ferrania has now brought the film on the market again. It is a 80 ISO film, that produces high contrast images. Ferrania recommends shooting it at 80 ISO as well, no pulling or pushing it. They recommend developing and scanning the film yourself as well, as there will be few labs who have experience with this film. Better to be in control yourself.
As I like the look of the film, I decided to give it a go and I purchased two rolls of 35mm film.
When I spooled the first roll of P30 into my Leica M4-P, the first thing I noticed that I had to exert a fair amount of force to advance the film. At some point I was afraid that I would break the advance lever of the camera. Also rewinding the film took a fair amount of force. When I finally got the film out of the camera, it was very hard to turn the spool in the film canister. This maybe a one off issue, but it was not a nice experience.
The second roll of P30 was much more smooth and behaved as normally any film would in my camera. Hower, when I rewound the film, it actually broke while rewinding!
So, from a physical quality point of view, I am not enthousiastic about this film. I filed a complaint with both Ferrania Film as well as the online shop where I purchased the film. At this point I have not received any reaction, I will keep you up to date about this.
Image quality of Ferrania P30
On to the actual image quality of the film. This is of course what it is all about. I shot the film on two separate days: one day with full sunshine and heat and one day when it was overcast and cloudy. Metering was done with a handheld Gossen meter.
In my opinion the film shines in situations of bright light with a relatively evenly lit subject. It is then very sharp and contrasty. The dark parts of the image are really deep and there is hardly any grain. If you like this look, it is definitely a film to look into.
In a more dimmed situation, the film is not as contrasty and there is the danger that the darks loose their detail.
In the gallery below you’ll find the images I shot with Ferrania P30.
In bright conditions I really like the contrast of this classic film, especially with the little grain it produces. However, the physical aspects of the film requiring force to advance the film or the film breaking when rewinding does not convince me. I will await the reaction from Ferrania before I will purchase another roll.