My first two rolls of Film Ferrania P30

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#1
(Some of this has already appeared in the “New Film on the way” thread, but since that’s primarily about a different film, and because it might be of interest beyond TP Film & Conventional, I’ve re-written some of it here.)

A few years ago, I supported the Film Ferrania Kickstarter for their proposed new transparency film. They have had more than their share of troubles but seem to keep plugging away, and I’m still hopeful of getting my film. Along the way, they produced a black and white film, more or less as a production test I think, and named it P30. It’s apparently based on an old Ferrania black and white cinema emulsion, minimally updated for today’s chemicals. They decided to offer their Kickstarter supporters the chance either to swap their transparency film rewards for the P30 (in the preliminary version they call P30 ALPHA), or to buy up to 5 rolls in addition. I decided to do the latter, hoping to give them a bit more cash flow to (slightly!) increase their chances of delivering the transparency film. My 5 rolls arrived a couple of weeks ago.

A few days before, I had shot a roll of Ilford FP4+ in the Pentax MX that normally takes black and white film (it’s a silver and black MX; the all-black one usually has colour film… well, it makes sense to me!). That was a bit of a murky day, and I had taken mostly detail shots in the neighbourhood. So I loaded the P30 into the same camera, and went round many of the same locations, attempting to take similar shots. It was a bit brighter light, but nothing the metering wouldn’t handle normally. For both films I used a 50mm lens with an orange filter.

There isn’t a huge amount of information about development times, particularly with Ilfosol 3, which I use, so I decided to send both films off to my favourite developer for process and scan. A couple of days later I got a phone call; they couldn’t find the information to put in their machines! We had a bit of a chat, and eventually he said he was willing to hand develop the roll in a Paterson tank, although he didn’t want to be identified as someone who handled P30, as it was much too expensive an approach. He told me he was planning to use XTOL 1+1 for 12 minutes at 20C, with a water stop bath (I think he said that tamed the highlights a bit compared with an acid stop). I don’t remember what agitation routine he was proposing.

I was quite excited when the scans were available for download… and quite surprised when I looked at them! I wrote about this a bit here and in posts after this one . There were some nice outcomes, but very few of the comparison shots (FP4 versus P30) came out anything like the same. I don’t think this was a disastrous processing error; certainly the frame numbers came out. (FP4 first.)

Locks FP4 P30 1.jpg Locks FP4 P30 2.jpg

There was a little bit of discussion, and one possibility was that the P30 might be orthochromatic rather than panchromatic as Film Ferrania claimed (this idea went back to a review on emulsive.org at http://emulsive.org/reviews/film-re...rrania-p30alpha-guest-post-by-philip-harrison, which suggested that it "leans towards the orthochromatic: dark red objects like London telephone boxes and buses go dark" (thanks to @StephenM). This might have meant my orange filter had a much different effect on the exposure of the P30, compared to the FP4.

There were a couple of shots that came out similar:

Old graffiti FP4 P30 1.jpg Old graffiti FP4 P30 2.jpg

And I thought this P30 shot came out looking pretty good (although much darker than being there):

P30 Kenilworth Castle 1.jpg

So, on to the next roll...
 
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ChrisR

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So, I decided to go for a day out to Birmingham with two cameras, both Pentax MXs, one loaded with P30 and one with FP4+. Both had Pentax-M 50mm lenses; the P30 camera had the f/1.4 and the FP4 camera had the f/1.7, although neither used their maximum aperture. In case the orange filter was an issue, both lenses just had a UV filter on. Both cameras were set at box speed: 80 ISO for the P30, 125 ISO for the FP4. The first couple of shots I had both cameras at 1/125, and metered to different aperture settings, but then I worked out that there was almost one stop difference between the two films, so I set the FP4 camera to 1/250, and thereafter found the aperture almost the same (though I did meter each shot). I kept notes with Evernote for the first dozen or so shots, but I found it hard to see the screen on my ancient smartphone, and very time consuming, so after that I just kept an eye out in case there was any significant difference in metering (none noted).

The general approach was to find a shot, take it with whichever camera was in my hand, drop it in the slung camera bag, grab the other one and take the second shot, if possible without moving my feet. Obviously the framing is often slightly different, and passers-by move on, but the shots are pretty similar, and the conditions were generally identical.

I was thinking of processing the films myself, but there was still only about one person reporting times for Ilfosol 3, so I decided to send both films to AG-Photolab for process-only. Film Ferrania say they have been working with AG, and the review mentioned above used them. Apparently they use Fuji Negastar developer, although I didn’t specifically ask. I got the films back in 3-4 days, and scanned them a day or so after that.

Just a couple more background notes: all the frames (of the second pair of films) were scanned with my normal settings using Vuescan Pro and my Plustek 7500i. All the films (two FP4+ and two P30) were imported to Aperture, with no adjustments made except for export at smaller size for posting.

So, the results? Relative to FP4+, the P30 shots are VERY dark, and the negatives are correspondingly thin to almost clear in some cases. An obvious question is whether the metering was out, but having two cameras agreeing on the metering (under the conditions outlined above) rather rules that out. Obviously I’m not going to post all 72 shots from this pair of films, but here are a few pairs I have picked. In each case I’ve shown the FP4 version first, because it gives you a chance to see what the subject is.

Brum FP4 vs P30 3.jpg Brum FP4 vs P30 4.jpg Brum FP4 vs P30 7.jpg Brum FP4 vs P30 8.jpg

(The statue as subject of the last shot is known locally as "The Floozie in the Jacuzzi"!)
 
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ChrisR

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#3
I’m not sure what to make of all this. If every P30 shot were under-exposed, I’d simply say the ISO of the film is really lower than the box speed of 80. But at least one pair (the 19th century graffiti from the first pair of films in post 1 above) looks pretty good in both films (although that was pretty bright light across the frame). I haven’t come to a conclusion on the orthochromatic versus panchromatic issue; I was hoping to find a picture of a rainbow somewhere in Birmingham, which would have been interesting, but no such luck. I did find a bunch of tethered orange-red balloons blowing in the wind near the canal junction; the FP4 shot is fine, but the P30 is almost unintelligible (though if I turn the shadow recovery way up I can see the balloons better).

Brum FP4 vs P30 balloons 1.jpg Brum FP4 vs P30 balloons 2.jpg

Overall I’m more inclined at the moment to believe that the lower ISO rating is the way to go. I’m contemplating sacrificing yet one more roll, shooting 12 shots at 64, 12 at 50 and 12 at 40. However, sometimes I have this odd feeling that the ISO rating might be pretty much in the ball park, but that the film’s response curve is in some way very different from normal film, as if it’s responding well to highlights but very poorly to shadow areas.

By the way, I’m in no way disappointed or annoyed at Film Ferrania; they made it very clear this was a film (P30 ALPHA) still in development, and they were asking the film community to help them. I’m very happy to do this in whatever small way.
 
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#4
Very interesting. Looks like it's even more of a piglet than velvia!

My gut feeling is that it's ISO 25 or maybe 50 like cinestill.
 

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#5
Apologies if you've given this information before...

Have I understood that you're saying that
a) both cameras meter (if not correctly) to give the same exposure (subject to different ISO)
b) photographs taken in bright light are correct on both cameras/films
c) the same camera was consistently used with FP4 and other with P30?

The point I'm trying to clear up in my own mind is that if the metering isn't in question, are the cameras' shutter speeds and apertures consistent? Did you always use 1/125 with P30 and 1/250 with FP4 (and hence eliminate shutter speed variation). It makes very little sense to me at the moment that the film speed should vary so widely in circumstances where we can rule out reciprocity effects.
 
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Apologies if you've given this information before...

Have I understood that you're saying that
a) both cameras meter (if not correctly) to give the same exposure (subject to different ISO)
b) photographs taken in bright light are correct on both cameras/films
c) the same camera was consistently used with FP4 and other with P30?

The point I'm trying to clear up in my own mind is that if the metering isn't in question, are the cameras' shutter speeds and apertures consistent? Did you always use 1/125 with P30 and 1/250 with FP4 (and hence eliminate shutter speed variation). It makes very little sense to me at the moment that the film speed should vary so widely in circumstances where we can rule out reciprocity effects.
Stephen, answers:

a) Yes, both cameras meter correctly and gave the same exposure within half a stop, allowing for the ISO difference
b) One shot taken in bright light, with no significant shadow areas, was very similar in both films (both of those taken with the same camera)
c) For the second roll, P30 was in a different camera. So camera A was used successively for FP4, P30 and then FP4. Camera B was used for P30 at the same time as camera A had FP4.

On the second roll, the first two shots on both cameras were at 1/125. After that, camera A (FP4) was set to 1/250 and camera B (P30) to 1/125. I didn't change the shutter speed from then on. And yes, the behaviour is a mystery to me, too!
 
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#8
Interesting results! I bet Ferrania would be interested to see your tests, as Steven above has said...
 
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I assume that you have not increased the contrast of the Ferrania in post processing. and that the shutters are giving the same actual speed in each camera.
If all that is true then the results Indicate that the Ferrania is a higher contrast film with a much lower ISO than FP4. but varying with colour temperature.

Ortho film has a much reduced sensitivity either side of blue on the colour circle. with almost no sensitivity to reds. Exposures taken with a light yellow filter pretty much equate to an deep orange filter on Pan film.

It would be interesting to see what the film looks like with portraiture, as the old orthocromatic Selochrome and Verichrome films used to give lovely deep skin tones and almost black lipstick and freckles like mud splashes.

May be they are having trouble with sensitising them to ortho colour sensitivity, and getting results more like the extreme "Ordinary" film that predated it.
Kodak were making Ordinary sensitised glass plates into the late 50's.
EDIT....
I have just looked at the Harrison shots, and they have a very late 30's look with heavy drop out toward the toe of the curve. a problem not fully solved till they brought out double coated film.
Or in the case of Adox film, which remained single coated the use of Butler style developers like neofin blue.
I suspect that sort of developer would suit the Ferrania very well. as it compensates for the shadows and controls the highlight density.
 
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#11
Is it worth doing another roll but getting AG to scan them as well?

Who on here had that drum scanner? I wonder if they'd mind scanning a strip to see what they get out of it?
 
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#12
Is it worth doing another roll but getting AG to scan them as well?

Who on here had that drum scanner? I wonder if they'd mind scanning a strip to see what they get out of it?
Probably need to work out how to develop them, from what Chris has said the film nearly clear in places even an drum scanner can't save that.
 
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#13
Does the silver content relate to highlights or shadows eg if you use the same dev times with a high silver content film as a normal one how does the negative turn out?
 

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#14
It should be allowed for in the developing times.

@ChrisR one thought that occurs to me is the next time you send both P30 and FP4 to the same place is to ask if they can supply a densitometer reading from the shadows to let you compare more directly than via a scanner or eyesight. Or possibly to make it simpler, someone could read from the comparative negatives you've posted here?
 
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#15
Have you tried asking Ferrania, might be worth dropping them an email and pointing them to this thread.
Interesting results! I bet Ferrania would be interested to see your tests, as Steven above has said...
I've alerted Fim Ferrania via a tweet, to which they have responded, just asking for more info and pointing to their P30 processing forum page, to which I've added a second post showing the Floozy comparison shots. It's worth looking at the examples on that page; my feeling is there are a lot of similar results, with lots of very high contrast and blocked up shadows.

There's a review of P30 on Emulsive.org with some example shots. Maybe the author of the article can offer some suggestions?

http://emulsive.org/reviews/film-re...-at-film-ferrania-p30alpha-by-philip-harrison
I've read that (and mentioned it above) but I hadn't thought about getting in touch with him. Good idea.

BTW how do you search flickr for particular film types? And where would I put the info to get my shots to show up for a P30 search?
 
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#16
You'd put it in the tags section on each image. Is there a ferrania P30 group on flickr yet? That's probably the quickest way as you'd just put them into that pool.
 
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#17
I assume that you have not increased the contrast of the Ferrania in post processing. and that the shutters are giving the same actual speed in each camera.
If all that is true then the results Indicate that the Ferrania is a higher contrast film with a much lower ISO than FP4. but varying with colour temperature.

Ortho film has a much reduced sensitivity either side of blue on the colour circle. with almost no sensitivity to reds. Exposures taken with a light yellow filter pretty much equate to an deep orange filter on Pan film.

It would be interesting to see what the film looks like with portraiture, as the old orthocromatic Selochrome and Verichrome films used to give lovely deep skin tones and almost black lipstick and freckles like mud splashes.

May be they are having trouble with sensitising them to ortho colour sensitivity, and getting results more like the extreme "Ordinary" film that predated it.
Kodak were making Ordinary sensitised glass plates into the late 50's.
EDIT....
I have just looked at the Harrison shots, and they have a very late 30's look with heavy drop out toward the toe of the curve. a problem not fully solved till they brought out double coated film.
Or in the case of Adox film, which remained single coated the use of Butler style developers like neofin blue.
I suspect that sort of developer would suit the Ferrania very well. as it compensates for the shadows and controls the highlight density.
Terry, these shots were completely unadjusted, as noted above. Scanned as normal, then loaded into Aperture and exported resized to 800 pixels, the files then loaded direct to TP rather than via flickr. The high contrast results have happened with two separate cameras; as noted camera A was used for FP4 then P30 then FP4, while camera B was used for the second roll of P30. Neither camera (both Pentax MXs) has given me any indication of shutter problems in other shooting (and I used camera B earlier in July with no signs of problems).

Film Ferrania suggest D96 as "best-possible chemistry for P30, but very hard to find pre-mixed" (and someone has made some and used it) but they recommend D76. I don't know how closely that relates to the developer you mention. It's worth remembering this is based on motion picture film.
 

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#19
It should be allowed for in the developing times.

@ChrisR one thought that occurs to me is the next time you send both P30 and FP4 to the same place is to ask if they can supply a densitometer reading from the shadows to let you compare more directly than via a scanner or eyesight. Or possibly to make it simpler, someone could read from the comparative negatives you've posted here?
I don't have a densitometer, and I wasn't planning on doing any more straight comparisons. (As noted I might shoot one more roll at 64, 50 and 40... but I'm hoping to work out what sort of subjects it's best for and actually use it, given how expensive it was!) However, I don't know if this helps, but Aperture allows point readings of the luminance and colour values at any point. On the FP4 Floozy shot I was able to find a small area of single digit luminance around the heel, with a very small area of luminance zero. For the unadjusted P30 shot there are large areas of luminance 1 or 0. I have tried various adjustments, and even with the best I've been able to manage (Aperture's shadow recovery slider at 100%), there are still quite large areas of luminance 1 or 0, eg in the shadow areas of the left leg.

Brum FP4 vs P30 Floozy adjusted.jpg

Floozy adjusted...
 
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#20
Yes indeed and dragging up distant memories when Adox R17 was my favourite film and developed in the original Neofin blue that came in heat sealed glass vials.

Terry, these shots were completely unadjusted, as noted above. Scanned as normal, then loaded into Aperture and exported resized to 800 pixels, the files then loaded direct to TP rather than via flickr. The high contrast results have happened with two separate cameras; as noted camera A was used for FP4 then P30 then FP4, while camera B was used for the second roll of P30. Neither camera (both Pentax MXs) has given me any indication of shutter problems in other shooting (and I used camera B earlier in July with no signs of problems).

Film Ferrania suggest D96 as "best-possible chemistry for P30, but very hard to find pre-mixed" (and someone has made some and used it) but they recommend D76. I don't know how closely that relates to the developer you mention. It's worth remembering this is based on motion picture film.
Neofin Blue in modern form is still available and made by Tetenhal. however 6 one shot bottles cost some £21 with the original version I was able to develop two films at the same time with one vial. I suspect that this would still be the case.

See here http://www.tetenaluk.com/new-tetenal-neofin-blue.html

Adox slow films were very like the film you are using High silver content single coated, with easily blocked highlights and slow to develop shadows.
 
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#21
I don't have a densitometer, and I wasn't planning on doing any more straight comparisons.
I assumed that you hadn't, but that whoever does/did your processing would.
 
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You'd put it in the tags section on each image. Is there a ferrania P30 group on flickr yet? That's probably the quickest way as you'd just put them into that pool.
It looks like there are at least 4 Ferrania P30 groups on flickr, at least one of them started by Film Ferrania. One group has a 4-post discussion; it looks very much as if it was started by someone from AG Photolab who processed Phil Harrison's film (assuming he is phil9000). This discussion seems to be the source of the ortho rumour, AFAICS. SteveFE says:

"Very fine grained (developed in commercial Fuji Negastar dev in a continuous drive deep tank minilab processor, 8 minutes or so). Even the very highest res scans from a Noritsu 1800 show virtually no grain.

"Prone to going very flat and uncontrasty if overexposed. Nice contrast at box speed.

"This last I think is its cardinal sin - poor red sensitivity, verging almost on an orthographic spectral response. It's very unkind to skin, which makes it kind of hopeless as a portrait film unless you're the sort of portraitist that likes showing warts and all (and acne, veins, whatever). I also suspect it'll make the film a LOT slower if you use a red/orange/yellow filter for landscapes etc."
 
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#23
I assumed that you hadn't, but that whoever does/did your processing would.
Next time that person will likely be me! When you say"

"Or possibly to make it simpler, someone could read from the comparative negatives you've posted here?"

Do you mean read from the negatives if I posted them to them, or read from scans? Sorry, a bit confused there!
 
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#25
I
BTW how do you search flickr for particular film types? And where would I put the info to get my shots to show up for a P30 search?
There look to be a few groups for P30 (although none have many members or photos as yet).

This one looks the most populated: https://www.flickr.com/groups/3270489@N22/

Some others:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/3248247@N21/
https://www.flickr.com/groups/3255756@N25/

There's also this one which *looks* official:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/2673736@N25/

EDIT: Posted this before reading your reply above.
 
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#26
Do you mean read from the negatives if I posted them to them, or read from scans? Sorry, a bit confused there!
Apologies. I meant "could you post them back to the lab with notes as to what to scan".

I do have the measuring probe attachment for my Lunasix which is supposed to enable it work as a densitometer as well as take exposure readings from a ground glass; the probe size is 5mm which may be a bit large for you? If not, I could loan it.
 
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#29
Yes indeed and dragging up distant memories when Adox R17 was my favourite film and developed in the original Neofin blue that came in heat sealed glass vials.



Neofin Blue in modern form is still available and made by Tetenhal. however 6 one shot bottles cost some £21 with the original version I was able to develop two films at the same time with one vial. I suspect that this would still be the case.

See here http://www.tetenaluk.com/new-tetenal-neofin-blue.html

Adox slow films were very like the film you are using High silver content single coated, with easily blocked highlights and slow to develop shadows.

Further to that .......
Such films are inherently fine grain and do not respond well to solvent type fine grain developers as it attacks the weak shadows disproportionately.
Beutler type developers are known as compensating and high actuance developers. They are very dilute and for the best effect should only have the minimal agitation.

In that way the developing agents are soon exhausted in the highlight regions, while the shadows continue to develop and gain both density and micro contrast. Unlike stand development some regular agitation is needed to replenish the development action. However this is about half of what might be thought "Normal".
The actuance effect is caused by the active developer in the shadow areas slightly bleeding into the exhausted highlight areas of the emulsion. This looks very like an unsharp mask effect or sharpening in photoshop.
The resulting negative should look comparatively thin, and if held over a sheet of news paper the type would still be visible through the highlights, and the shadows full of detail but proportionately thin. They are very easy to print on Normal bromide paper.

These developers do not work at all well with "Normal" films and produce surprisingly grainy but flat results with them. which is perhaps why so few photographers know about them today.
They only show their full advantage on slow inherently fine grain, thin emulsion, single coated, high silver content films. Which seems to be exactly what the Ferania films are.
 
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No worries, better to have extra references than miss a good source!
 
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I went through the second roll again last night looking for shots that might have come out nice despite the severe under-exposure. Unfortunately I found that every frame has a longitudinal scratch on it. This has never happened with the camera before, and I strongly doubt AG-Photolab would do it, so I suspect it's a manufacturing defect. Well, it is an ALPHA film and part of their production build-up, so I was aware of the risks.
 
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