Ferrania P30, First Impressions

I have been waiting a long time to shoot P30 and last week I finally had my chance. We took a cruise to the Caribbean and while I mostly shot color film, I made an effort to shoot some P30. I had intended on shooting 2 rolls, but what I thought was my second roll of P30 turned out to be Arista 400. Oops. That turned out kinda neat though as I used it on the last day when we were fogged out of the port and ended up with some grainy but also moody photos.

But back to P30 – I ended up developing it in ID 11 1:1 at 24C for 13:30 with inversions for first 60 seconds, then 4 every minute after. The recommended time/temp was 20C at 13:30 but I read the negatives could come out thin and that tends to bother me, so I opted to try it at 24C. The negative density, at least by eye, turned out good. The scanned results (I have yet to darkroom print anything yet) did indeed have quite a bit of contrast and perhaps a bit less latitude. Not super surprising given the results I have seen from others using P30.

I bracketed those two although I didn’t write down the settings (doh) so not a lot of conclusions drawn there. The other shots show off that dramatic contrast however:

I think the drama is two fold – one, I did notice (and expected based on others’ findings) that it has a reduced red sensitivity. The container ship for instance had a lot of brown/red tones and came out rather dark. But I also think P30 is rather contrasty in ID-11. Ferrania recommends D96 when it can be found and it seems like that helps improve tonal range. I do find it can be perhaps a bit overly moody in places. This may have also been accentuated by my use of a YEL8 filter on some shots (I was too busy shooting to know which). Given the reduced sensitivity to blue, I may have needed to further compensate the light loss from the filter.

The trade off for the moodiness is grain. Grain was hardly apparent – sometimes basically invisible in the scans – and where there is some, it is very small and pleasing. It makes me very excited to try a darkroom print. I want to say it’s smaller than FP4 or Delta 100. It sounds like Ferrania is planning to offer it in 120 and I’m very excited to try it out there as well (and maybe one day 4×5!?). Some suggest rating this film at 50 ISO and while Ferrania is fairly adamant it is an 80 ISO film (though hasn’t been tested to the ISO standards yet apparently), I think I will try it at 50 for my next roll just to see how the results compare.

P30 is very fun and you can bet I will continue to use it! I plan on using it for a purpose for now though – it won’t be my goto everyday medium speed film (not yet). I’m still trying to find my favorite here, but FP4 seems to be the biggest contender for general shooting. It’s fairly flexible and available in all the formats I currently need. I’m eager to try films from other new players in the space, like Silberra and others as well. So far I’ve tried PANF, FP4, Delta 100, Tmax 100, and P30. Alas I’d love to try Acros but am steering clear given FujiFilm’s apparent intention to slowly get out of the film business. A weird approach given the rise of film’s popularity (most recently accentuated by Kodak bringing back T-Max 3200).

Given P30 is mostly available (from Film Ferrania’s online store) it is well worth giving it a try. Expect contrast, as well as being a bit of a beta tester, but go out, shoot it, have a bunch of fun!