With great anticipation, I unpacked my order of 5 precious rolls of FERRANIA P30 ALPHA and ventured out to test this film. Fellini’s masterpiece, “8 1/2”, and FILM Ferrania’s revival story were my main motivators to jump into the fray. Visually, dream sequence scenes from “8 1/2” were the key driver to test this film out.
So, I went off to Sam Smith park with my Olympus OM-1 and a roll of FERRANIA P30 ALPHA to see how this would all work out. I particularly sought scenes with a decent shadow contrast, just to explore and see what kind of mood I can create. The day itself was an average July day, with some cloud but mostly sunny. The late afternoon delivered the light variety I wanted. I based my exposure on the Sunny 16 rule, aiming for the mid-tones. A handful of images from this, the second test roll, give a pretty good idea what is possible with P30.
Standard grain and tone test – clouds and mid-day scene. P30 ALPHA delivers beautiful tones in a very sharp rendering. My favourites, however, are photos of the park bench and tree trunks covered in partial shade. Here, P30 ALPHA offers something truly unique. The right drop off of shadows into the total blackness, just to accentuate the subject through a subtle negative space.
I developed this roll in 1+1 dilution of Ilford Perceptol powder developer. In a small Patterson tank with 300ml of solution, I agitated with the rotation rod for the initial 10 seconds and then for 10 seconds each minute. The total development time I used for P30 ALPHA was 20 minutes. For finish, I used Kodak Stop bath and Ilford Rapid Fixer in 1+4 dilution.
I am very pleased with results of this combination. While “regular” exposure would likely demonstrate middle of the road capability, where P30 really holds my interest is in the high contrast scenes. Like with so many other films, things get interesting at the extreme end of exposure range.
Planning to head out again. I would definitely set my sights on shooting more dark negative space scenes, perhaps less aggressively exposed (more towards the shadows) and really working the “bench-type” scene in more detail. Once my order of Perceptol arrives, this may be the very thing to do with the remaining rolls from my Alpha order.
~ Toni Skokovic
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.