5 Frames with Ferrania P30 – By Peter Schafer

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…

For more pics, please check out my site.

Thanks for reading.


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8 thoughts on “5 Frames with Ferrania P30 – By Peter Schafer”

  1. Nice photos! Brooklyn is certainly target-rich when it comes to interesting photos!

    Tip: Brooklyn Film Camera sells Ferrania film. I mail-ordered a couple of rolls from them a week or so ago. They’re at 203 Harrison Place, Brooklyn.

  2. I just bought 2x rolls from Analogue Wonderland and have been shooting one roll with my Olympus OM-1n today… having seen your sumptious results I can’t wait to get home and develop the roll. Love the Honda (?) shot…

  3. I like your shots a lot, especially the first (with the bycycle) and the one with the big car. This film has such a beautiful black, really special… Is there a more common b/w film that comes close to this ?

  4. I’ve shot and developed three rolls in the same method and the contrast is so strong I can barely see an image. The negatives look totally blocked. Not sure how you got this method to work!

    1. Hi Tim, I’ve shot with it a bit more and the experience has reinforced my thought that the film shines when it’s overcast and just doesn’t work well in bright light. Also depends on the lens. I tried it with an old Biotar, thinking minimal coated old glass is what it needs, but it didn’t turn out that great. I just tried it with a 1964 Minoltina S and it gave me those blacks I love.

      I think it might be finding the right lens to pair it with. What camera and lens are you using?

      Also, you’re using HC-110 1+63 for 12 minutes?


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