Ferrania P30 ALPHA: It’s Hard to be Negative

It’s happening again! 2017 is turning out to be an emulsional (heh) year, with Film Ferrania announcing the production of P30 ALPHA, an ISO 80 black and white film with the power to destroy an entire planet.

The reborn Ferrania is best known for the crowdfunded relaunch of Ferrania-3M ISO 100 colour reversal film. The funds from the crowd funding campaign have been used to save the three main film production facilities which have now been utilised to create this ‘new’ black and white film.

And good thing too.

Look, I love colour reversal film as much as the next guy, but if you read my previous post on the reborn Kodak Ektachrome, you’d understand that reversal films don’t have the lab infrastructure globally to make it a product with an assured future. Negative films, on the other hand, can be comparatively easily processed either by a lab or at home. 

Film shooters have lost quite a few interesting black and white emulsions over the past few years from both the big brands and the little producers. Recently, we’ve lost the Neopans from Fujifilm; Kodak killed off Plus-X and T-MAX 3200; Efke disappeared, and Agfa ceased existing in any meaningful way for photographers. With these products and brands have gone unique and interesting emulsions, such as Efke’s ISO 25 and 50 films which provide creative opportunities other black and white films cannot. Hence I am very excited to see a new slower film appear on the market, especially one with the heritage of Ferrania’s P30.

Add the recently released Bergger Pancro 400 to the list, and 2017 looks like it will be a good year for film. Sure, the ‘ALPHA’ part of the P30 name indications a preproduction batch to iron out the kinks in the new emulsion’s production, but it’s a great way for experimental photographers to feel a part of the creation of a new product. Now if we can just convince Kodak to (re)expand their B&W portfolio…

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