Ferrania Solaris 100
5 frames with...

5 Frames with the “Last Roll” of Ferrania Solaris 100 – by Andrea Armando

January 30, 2020

OK, I got a little carried away there. I don’t actually think mine was the last roll of Ferrania Solaris 100 in the whole world, but – alas – it was the last one in my possession.

The story goes like this: a couple of years ago, when I started shooting film, I bought a batch of Ferrania Solaris 100 color negative film. The film expired in 2006 and was practically being given away for free, so I figured it would be a good, inexpensive way of training myself to film photography before starting to shoot more “serious” film. So, I absent-mindedly went through the first roll and sent it over to the lab for development, without worrying too much about the results.

When the roll came back I was literally blown away. The colors in particular were awesome: intense and full of pop. The prints showed a slight reddish hue, but this was well controlled and did not “overflow” on the other colors. If anything, it contributed to a very warm and special feeling, a Solaris signature look, if you want. I’ve read that this was considered as a run-of-the-mill color film, so I can only suppose that ageing did some magic here, like a good bottle of wine.

Following this epiphany, I immediately placed the remaining rolls in my fridge (much to my wife’s chagrin) and I have been rationing them with great care. But, all good things must come to an end, and last month I discovered there was only one left.

Rather than keeping it for a special occasion, I decided to say goodbye in a simpler, more genuine way. So, on a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon, I popped the roll inside my Leica M6 and went out to honor the last roll shooting some good old-fashioned street photography. Luckily, it did not disappoint.

 

So, that’s it. We had a good run, Solaris 100…hope to see you again sometime in the future!

I do hope that FILM Ferrania will put this film somewhere in their roadmap. Until then, I suggest you go on a scavenger hunt and get yourself some of this wonderful film before it is gone for good – I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Thanks for reading, and please follow me on Instagram (@brickwall_photo).

– Andrea

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    John Grzinich
    January 30, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Nice work Andrea. I picked up some rolls of Solaris 100 (and 200) about 7 or 8 years ago, back when expired film used to be cheaper than new film (like it should be). It was surprising to discover how nice the results were which has made me ration it carefully. It definitely needs sunlight so it suited my trip to Croatia last summer.

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      January 30, 2020 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks! Nice to know other people appreciate this film as well!

  • Reply
    Harry
    January 30, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I’ve found it’s really hit and miss with expired colour film (like I have a vast amount of experience of film full stop, let alone one expired one versus another, lol). However, I’ve had one unsatisfactory example of Truprint FG+, but 4 great rolls after (with jewel like colours similar to your Solaris), and no luck whatsoever with Bonusprint Activa Colour 200 on any of the four rolls I’ve used of that. Equally, I love the colours from Poundland Agfa Vista 200, but somehow am underwhelmed with Fuji C200, which is apparently what AVP is… go figure 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      January 30, 2020 at 6:49 pm

      Yeah, it really boils down to luck with expired film. But given the cost it’s definitely worth a try!

  • Reply
    Nathalie Porter
    January 30, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    There’s indeed something special about these expired Ferrania films. Or it’s just something I want to believe because they’re discontinued and “exotic”, I don’t know. For me personally it’s even stronger with Agfa (the real one, not the AgfaPhoto rebrands). Shooting expired Kodak or Fuji just isn’t quite the same thing…

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      February 1, 2020 at 11:30 am

      Totally agree Nathalie! I’ll definitely try some Agfa.

  • Reply
    Rock
    January 30, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    I have a roll of Solaris 800 in the fridge…for that special moment maybe?

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      February 1, 2020 at 11:26 am

      I did not have the chance to try the 800 but I don’t see why it should not be great!

  • Reply
    Jem
    January 30, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I bought a few rolls of Konica VX400 from a market in London once and it sat on my shelf for a year or so. When I finally shot it I just loved the tonality and sharpness. I’ve never found any more rolls if it unfortunately.

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      February 1, 2020 at 11:27 am

      Yeah, they are becoming difficult to find. Sometimes they pop up on eBay, but you have to trust that they were properly stored in a fridge.

  • Reply
    Loik
    January 30, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    The colors are amazing! I have 3 rolls of them (expired in 2008). Do you find the need to overexposed them a bit or you shot them a box speed? Also it’s weird that they only have 12 exposure per film!

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      February 1, 2020 at 11:25 am

      Yeah that’s weird! I did not purposefully overexpose, I just shot at box speed trusting the M6 meter. Of course, as for all color film, an extra stop when in doubt won’t do any harm.

  • Reply
    JimSangwine
    January 31, 2020 at 2:12 am

    Oh wow, I love the colours! The shot of the trainers hanging from the power line works so well with this film, it just screams 80s to me! Great work Andrea!

  • Reply
    José
    January 31, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    I think there’s one shop in my country that still have some stock of the Solaris 😀

  • Reply
    LOIKWAX
    January 31, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    I just picked up 3 of these! They only have 12 exposure each, is that normal ?! Also do you need to overexposed them since they expired in 2008?

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      February 1, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Lucky you! Yeah, these rolls have a lower number of exposures – mine had 16. I did not purposefully overexposed them, just you know, as for all color film, an extra stop of light when in doubt will help.

  • Reply
    Ian Do Carmo
    February 15, 2020 at 3:53 am

    Andrea, stunning colour photos. I have a lot of them in my “pantry” somewhere, pick it up somewhere along the way which I can’t remember, I used it on the Lomo cameras and produce a suitable, fun film to use it. I never thought about doing some “serious” shooting with it but I’ll reconsider after seeing your photos. Even on Lomo I was genuinely pleased with the results, and, as a party camera, I got some good social and special shoots from it.
    Thank you

    • Reply
      AndreArma
      February 17, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks Ian! Yes, I expect results on Lomo cameras to be great as well! If you still have some try to experiment with different 35mm cameras!

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