Konica Hexar RF, 35mm Zeiss C-Biogon
5 frames with...

5 frames with the Film Ferrania P30 and Konica Hexar RF – By Max Khokhlov

September 16, 2020

When I first started shooting film back in 2018, I was curious to learn what other film stocks besides the standard stuff from Kodak and Fuji were available out there. So when I first read the story of Film Ferrania, I was fascinated!

You can read the full story here, but to briefly summarise: a group of enthusiasts bought the old Italian film factory building with the equipment that had been used to produce film for motion pictures back in the middle of 20th century with the idea to bring the production back from the dead.

A vintage American car on an old street in Rotterdam

A vintage American car on an old street in Rotterdam

Film Ferrania was used for 2 oscar-winning movies Two Women starring Sophia Lauren and 8-1/2 by Federico Fellini, among other popular movies of the era.

In 2014, a Kickstarter campaign was succesfully launched to produce the first limited batch of Film Ferrania P30 and was sold out very quickly. The actual product was delivered some time in 2017 and then was not available again.

The New York hotel in Rotterdam - an 1901 beautiful building fits this film perfectly

The New York hotel in Rotterdam - an 1901 beautiful building fits this film perfectly

So when I read that a new batch of this film was available for pre-order in 2018, I immediately ordered the maximum 10 rolls allowed for one person.

Once received, I was a bit hesitant to shoot it because of the low 80 ASA rating that would work best for sunny summer days. But when we planned a trip to Rotterdam this year, I finally decided to give it a try, and boy am I happy I’ve finally done this!

Beach houses In Hoek van Holland, Rotterdam

Beach houses In Hoek van Holland, Rotterdam

This film is notable for its ultra low grain that is barely visible and high silver content that produces high-contrast pictures with deep rich blacks - it’s character is unique and quite different from the more standard stuff from Ilford and Kodak.

I was extremely impressed with the results and once again thanked myself for having bought 10 rolls  –  this film is still in limited stock and not easy to get hold of.

Bicycles parked in front of an old brick building, Rotterdam

Bicycles parked in front of an old brick building, Rotterdam

Even though this film stock is not as versatile as Ilford HP5 or Kodak Tri-X400, I can confidently call this my most favorite black-and-white film. So if you find a chance to purchase it, please do, you will not regret it!

A canal in Utrecht

A canal in Utrecht

All shots above were shot with the Konica Hexar RF and a Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8, metered at EI 50 and pushed 1/2 stop while developing with the Cinestill DF96 monobath.

Thanks for reading!

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Billy Sanford
    September 16, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Lovely shots. I’ve just received a couple of rolls myself and am eager to try them out.

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 8:58 am

      Thanks Billy. Feel free to share your results here when you have them!

  • Reply
    Lee Butterley
    September 16, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Some great results here. Can I ask what you processed the film in? I’ve tried two rolls myself and all I get is horribly contrasty negatives with dark midtones that produce terrible photographs.

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 18, 2020 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Lee, I used the Cinestill DF96 monobath. I think the key to getting good results is overexposing this film: as noted in another comment here, I measured the exposure with ISO50 settings and then pushed the film 1 stop in development. You might wanna try this approach.

  • Reply
    Oliver
    September 16, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Nice Images. The images look squeeky clean.
    Maybe I should get a batch of it just to try out.
    ISO 80 is low.
    Did you expose overexpose by one stop? Or just box speed?
    What developer did you use?

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:03 am

      Thanks Oliver. This is due to low ISO, so the grain is pretty much non-existent with this film.

      Whenever I shoot B&W film I use the approach suggested by Johnny Patience in his controversial post Zone system is dead: http://www.johnnypatience.com/the-zone-system-is-dead/ — first off, I always shoot at half-box speed and meter for shadows (with Film Ferrania P30 being rated at ASA 80 I shot it at EI 50), but on top of that, I usually also push the B&W film by 1/2-1 full stop when developing the film (I always develop B&W at home myself). And with regards to the developer, I’ve noted it at the end of the post — I’m lazy, haha, so I use the wonderful Cinestill DF96 monobath and follow the standard development procedures as provided in the instruction for this developer.

      I’ve used this approach for all sorts of B&W films and have never been disappointed with the approach — this gives you rich thick negatives that are easy to work with.

  • Reply
    Lukas
    September 16, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Nice work! Love the look of this stock. Will definitely try it out if I ever get the chance.

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:04 am

      Yes, please do. As noted, this film is hard to come by at the moment, but I do hope they will increase production in the foreseeable future.

  • Reply
    Peter
    September 16, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for this introduction to this film! I’m going to hunt for it! Great photos!

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Thank you. I think Film Ferrania have a list of retailers that might sell it and I’ve recently been able to order a few extra rolls from one located in California. Unfortunately, they only ship within the US, but luckily, I could have it shipped to my sister who then re-sent it to me over to Europe.

  • Reply
    Scott
    September 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Have you used Ilford Pan F?
    If so, how does P30 compare?

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:07 am

      Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this film stock yet, but it’s definitely on my todo list. If I have a chance to shoot it, I will be glad to write something up comparing the two.

  • Reply
    Roger
    September 16, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    A minor quibble: The kickstarter campaign was for color slide film in 35mm and 120. Various technical and logistical (like the discovery of asbestos in their building) caused so many delays that they opted to start out with P30 given it’s less complex manufacturing requirements vs color film. P30 is a wonderful film. I prefer its slower speed.

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:08 am

      Thanks for the correction Roger — I’ve missed the original KS campaign, but I’ve heard the story of the Film Ferrania revival in a Youtube video. Still a fascinating story, I think.

  • Reply
    DeeDee
    September 16, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    It’s beautiful. One of my favorite films recently. You’ve produced some nice images here!
    (Also – typo in your first sentence – Sophia not Sophie) 🙂

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:15 am

      Thanks for the correction, fixed it in the text. Glad we’re on the same page about this film.

  • Reply
    Frederic Baboulaz
    September 16, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. i’ve tried the Ferrania P30 and got interesting results : https://www.lomography.fr/homes/fujixguru/films/871966128-ferrania-p30/photos

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Thanks for sharing these! My favorite is the one of a lady sitting in front of a big clock.
      They all do look on the darker side, so you must have shot them at box speed? I’d recommend to try shooting it while rated as ASA50 and even go as far as overexposing it by 1/3 of a stop on top, if the light permits. With this, you should get more detail in the shadows.

  • Reply
    Igal
    September 17, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Beautiful film. You made me eager to get one myself

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 17, 2020 at 9:09 am

      Thanks Igal. Please do try it if you have a chance.

  • Reply
    Khürt Louis Williams
    September 17, 2020 at 2:09 am

    I love the look of the images, but at $10 a roll this is a luxury.

  • Reply
    Max Khokhlov
    September 17, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Well, over here it’s on par with the Kodak Tri-X or Portra 400 price-wise. I’d say it’s more of a luxury because of the limited stock. But overall, yes, film photography is not a cheap hobby to have.

  • Reply
    Floris
    September 17, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Nice results. I’ve tried a few rolls of Ferrania’s first batch of P30 a few years ago myself. Loving the Hexar RF with the Zeiss glass also!

  • Reply
    Daniel Castelli
    September 17, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    Hi Max,
    A nice article to read on a lazy September day.
    You mentioned that you shoot the film @ EI 50, and slightly overdevelop it. This was the original advice given to photographers back in the early days of b&w 35mm photography. The first 35mm film stocks were cut from 70mm motion picture film. These films had limited shadow detail to highlight detail range, and they were blue sensitive; you could slip a blue filter over the movie camera lens and create rich, dark nighttime scenes that were actually shot midday.
    As manufacturers began to create 35mm b&w film solely for still photography the exposure sensitivity & tone rendition was expanded. Today, a roll of 35mm b&w film [400 speed] should handle a 5 stop difference between a detailed highlight and a shadow area with some detail when developed to manufacturers directions. You can also be off your exposure by a couple of stops and still have useable negatives.
    This brings me back (in a round about way) to the P30 film stock. Since it’s a direct descendent from motion picture film, it produces results that are classic in tone and contrast. Quite beautiful results! I keep coming back to the canal scene in Utrecht, it’s got lush tones and great detail.

    Regards,
    Dan (flickr.com/photos/dcastelli9574)

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 18, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks for this insightful comment Daniel, good to know where this approach is rooted.

      I’ve personally adopted this approach having read Johnny Patience’s post ‘ Zone system is dead’ I’ve linked to in another comment above. I’ve been following this approach for all my B&W photography for some time and have always been very satisfied with the results I was getting.

  • Reply
    Andrea Bevacqua
    September 20, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Hi Max,
    Very nice photos and very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

    I also read John’s article and yesterday I did try this approach.
    I shoot a roll of Kentmere100 metered at ISO80 and developed as it was a ISO200 film, then I shoot a roll of Fomapan400 metered at ISO100 and developed as it was a ISO400. In both cases I metered for the shadows.
    The result was a couple of overexposed rolls where just a few shots were decent.
    What have I done wrong? There must be some mistake somewhere.

    Cheers,
    Andrea

    • Reply
      Max Khokhlov
      September 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Andrea,

      What you’re describing sounds right. I haven’t shot Kentmere, but with Fomapan 400 this is exactly the right way to do it, otherwise you will get very underexposed shots. B&W film generally handles overexposure very well, so even when I push the film an extra 1/2-1 stop in development, it usually just makes the negative more contrasty.

      Which developer are you using and how do you digitize your negatives? I think may be the fault is at the scanning stage?

  • Reply
    Ian Do Carmo
    September 21, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Max,
    Lovely photos indeed, in fact, I feel this is my dream “black-and-white” stock by the pictures I’ve seen it so far, unfortunately haven’t been able to get a hold of it, but been watching it since its launch.
    Would love to see long exposure shots. Think it’s worth a try with such a gem.
    Stay well!

  • Reply
    Khaled_IM
    September 24, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Max,

    If you are able to post processing details with DF96 – processing time, agitation, temp & so forth – please do so with thanks.

    Terrific photos, lovely tones, among the best examples of P30 that I have seen. Regards.

  • Reply
    Max Khokhlov
    September 28, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    To everyone asking me about the development process, it was very simple: I used a brand new canister of the Cinestill DF96, so I used the standard development procedure: I think the developer temperature was around 27C, which resulted in +1 stop push while using the minimal agitation method: 10s constant agitation at start and then 5s agitation (I do 3 flips and rotate the tank by 90 degrees) every minute, with the full development time of 6 minutes.

    But I’m getting similar results using intermittent agitation with 30s constant agitation at start and then 10s agitation (10 filp-and-rotate rounds) every minute, with the full development time of 4 mins. At 27C you get a +1/2 stop push with this.

    As with every developer, you need to add +15s of development time with each new film until you reach 8mins in total, but I usually extend it until 9-9.5 minutes overall as I do. This is all based on the Cinestill recommendations available here :https://www.fotoimpex.com/shop/images/products/media/63120_5_PDF-Datasheet.pdf

    I scan all my film using the Epson V550 flatbed scanner using the Lomography Digitaliza frame and using a combination of VueScan software and the Negative Lab Pro plugin in Adobe Lightroom.

    I hope this helps.

  • Reply
    Khaled_IM
    September 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Precise, instructive info, thank you Max.

    Hope to see you reviewing the CineStill BwXX on 35mmc sometime. Maybe the Ilford Ortho Plus as well 🙂

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