FILM Ferrania Store Re-opens, Ferrania P30 Film Now Shipping to USA and Canada

FILM Ferrania Store Re-opens, Ferrania P30 Film Now Shipping to USA and Canada

2200 1238 James Tocchio

Without much fanfare or even so much as an announcement, FILM Ferrania has reopened their online shop and are now fulfilling orders in the United States and Canada. The site’s film offerings are limited to their Ferrania P30 black-and-white film in 35mm format and limited to ten rolls per customer, just like back in 2017. But unlike in 2017, when the shop closed after selling out of their available stock, FILM Ferrania says their production capacity is now ready to keep up continuously with orders.

I’ve been a fan of the film since I first shot it back in 2017, so I promptly ordered ten rolls. I then reached out to FILM Ferrania Sales and Marketing Director David Bias, who was kind enough to take a phone call and answer some questions about this new production of Ferrania P30. I also asked about FILM Ferrania’s production delays of the recent past and their expectations of the immediate future. Here’s what he had to say.

CP / JAMES – Thanks for taking a moment to chat, Dave. Tell me what’s going on with FILM Ferrania today.

DAVE – We’re making film. We spent the last 18 months fixing every last little thing at the factory – still a lot to do of course, but the focus was on getting to a point where we can produce film every day of the week. Despite what people might think, getting to that was a big deal for us, internally. Ferrania P30 Alpha [the original production run of Ferrania P30 which released in 2017] was being made by hand, essentially.

I mean, not really by hand. I’m simplifying a lot. But compared to how P30 is being made today it was almost like it was being made by hand in 2017. We’ve now set up the factory in a way that the consistency, and the quality, and the production capability is way ahead of what we were doing back then. That said, there are still a number of issues we have to chase down over the next few months in order to increase the volume of the film we make.

It took us a lot longer than any of us anticipated to get to this point, but it was necessary for a number of reasons. But primarily it was necessary to ensure uniformity and consistency, so that if you buy a roll of film today it will be the same quality product that you buy six months from now.

CP / JAMESI was surprised to see that the shop had reopened today, after more than a year. What enabled this?

DAVE – Today was the first step to getting our film out in the world continuously. We opened the shop quietly, sort of on purpose because if we’re to get a sudden flood of buyers, that’s when problems become crises. And doing things slowly allows us to squash any bugs before they become problems. We’ve limited how many units per order because we want as many people as possible to be able to experience the film. 

CP / JAMES Is the new production version of Ferrania P30 different to the 2017 Ferrania P30 Alpha? If so, in what ways?

DAVE – The reaction [to the 2017 Ferrania P30 Alpha film] was fantastic. And even though we called it Alpha, it was very much a final product. So the film [Ferrania P30] that we have today is very similar. There were some chemical changes that were made to allow us to produce the film easier and more consistently, but we were very careful not to change anything that would alter the look of the images the film makes. We were very proud of the [2017] product and we didn’t want to change that at all. Visually there’s no difference between our Alpha product and the current production Ferrania P30.

If there’s any difference it’s that the new stuff is a little more forgiving when processing. Everyone who’s tested the new film so far has said it’s generally easier to use than our 2017 product.

CP / JAMESWhen Ferrania P30 Alpha was available for purchase in 2017, it sold out within days, after which the store was closed until today. Can we expect the same thing to happen this time, or will Ferrania P30 now be available continuously? 

DAVE – In 2017 when we first released Ferrania P30 Alpha, we sold out in four days. And then it took us several months of painstaking production (and a lot of waste) to produce those rolls that we pre-sold. And it became clear very quickly that that was not a sustainable way to run a shop.

Since 2017 we’ve improved every part of the production chain. We’ve ramped up production twice in the last six months, as far as how many master rolls we can produce each week. We’ve doubled production from our first small run which we produced in August, 2019 [these rolls were shipped to Italian camera shops]. But we want to be very careful about doubling our production capacity each time we do it, as we don’t want to introduce any flaws or compromise the quality of the film.

So we might sell out of films a few days at a time, here or there, but we have regular stock being produced now, and we’ve already established internally that we can produce and distribute a certain amount of film every week. As production increases in January and then again in February and again following every month next year, the chance that we sell out of our stock will naturally become less and less of an issue.

CP / JAMESOrders are currently limited to the USA and Canada. Will this change, and do you have any idea when customers in other parts of the world will be able to buy Ferrania P30?

DAVE – We are intending to be a global company, but we are still extremely small in terms of the staff, and we want to take things slow. We want to make an EU store as soon as we can, but we don’t want to do that until we can cover the continuous orders we’ll receive in a way that we’re not over-reaching. We want to make sure that everyone who buys film from us can get the support that they might need. 

CP / JAMESSome Kickstarter backers will see the availablitity of Ferrania P30 and ask “Where’s the color film?” We know that there’s an ongoing video series available to Kickstarter backers that directly addresses this question. But I wanted to get your take on this, and give you a chance to respond. 

DAVE – The truth of the matter is that over the last few years we’ve learned a lot, both inside the factory in Italy but also we’ve learned a lot about what we can do right now, as opposed to what we’re excited about doing in the future. Of course it’s not the case that we can do everything from day one. So we’ve decided to be a little bit silent the past few months because we want to be very careful about what we say so that we don’t create an expectation that we can’t deliver on. We’re committed to giving our Kickstarter backers something useful and worthwhile. But how this will shape up exactly will be addressed in the future.


For more on Ferrania P30 Alpha, including development information and an earlier interview with Dave, see our film profile here. We’ll have more articles on this new version of Ferrania P30 coming soon.

If you’d like to buy Ferrania P30, you can do so via their shop here.

Follow Casual Photophile on Facebook and Instagram

James Tocchio

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio
12 comments
  • I hope it is a lot better than the early production film I got, which was dire with streaks and scratches. I really cannot understand all the hoopla to produce yet another B&W negative film, where the market already has many and better alternatives from Kodak, Ilford, Foma, Rollei, Agfa, Lomo, Svema and others. If they were doing something really useful, like re-introducing Ferraniachrome, the hype might have been justified.

    Wilson

    • Hey, what’s wrong with another film option another nuance? You never know where this will go or how it’ll grow as the years pass, and heavens, there are worse things to be making or doing with one’s business life than making film.

    • If you dig into Ferrania’s posts you’ll discover (and would have from a long while back) that the entire point of it in the beginning was to facilitate ramping up to Ferraniachrome – that was always the goal. P30 was initially more of a proof of concept and manufacturing – everything needed to produce the chrome is needed to produce P30. They decided to keep it as another offering not just in the interim but permanently for that reason. P30 is a step toward the chrome.

  • Or, re-introducing 110, 126 and APS formats.

  • Avatar
    Marcus didius falco (@falcos2012) December 7, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Excellent news! I’m very happy & pleased that Film Ferrannia is slowly but surely becoming a film factory/brand again:) As a kickstarter backer, I’ve watched their progress with interest & not a few palpitations at the problems they have had to overcome. This news, along with the recent Kodak announcement, makes me as a film photographer sleep a little more soundly knowing that the future of film photography is assured:) Go Go Go Azzurri!

    • I, too, as with thousands of others, am a Kickstarter backer, and my name is on the Founders’ Wall. But this has been going on for at least five years and we’re still no nearer to seeing any Ferraniacolour. That being said, I do understand and appreciate the difficulties the Team has faced with two third party suppliers reneging on an agreement not helping. Goes to show that “gentlemen’s agreements” are not part of the modern business world.

      Two things are clear to me: the perseverance of the Ferrania team and the patience of the Kickstarter founders, albeit some have vented their anger at various times. I’m sure that one day, the Ferrania team will succeed, but as I approach my 75th birthday, I’m less hopeful of seeing their success. Hopefully, there will be a legacy from all their work for younger generations of photographers.

  • I’m not sure I understand why an Italian film brand opted to sell in the US and Canada *before* selling in the EU 🤔

    • The answer to this question wasn’t that convincing, was it? Not wishing to open the EU store until they can be sure of fulfilling orders. Does this mean EU orders could be expected to outstrip those in the US/Canada and thus swallow up all their production? In a business model does it really matter where the product is sold if you’re selling all you can make? But considering for how long the shop has been closed (since 2017!) why have EU photographers really been denied this new film?

      Or could info about their Kickstarter backers show a higher proportion of US/Canadian backers to warrant this decision?

      • I can’t speak for the company, but after chatting with their representative I cam away with the impression that their choice to not open an EU or Asia store right away is a result of limited staff and their current production capacity. They are still a very small team, with I believe just a single person responsible for running the store entirely. In addition to this, to open two or three continent shops they would need to split their current production into two or three inventory pools. This would likely mean that the stores would sell out much more often than they might if it’s just a single store. It is preferential in their view, I think, to have a single shop with continuous inventory serving their largest market than to have three shops that sell out of stock every month. But again, these are just my impressions after a conversation with FILM Ferrania. I am in no way able to speak for them and I could be off base.

        • James, I can understand your reply. But we are still little nearer to getting a sensible explanation and reason to Andy’s question. If distribution has to be restricted to a geographic location why not the EU? As an aside, if Film Ferrania has received any State or regional aid (and I’m not implying that they have) lets not overlook that this would have been financed by EU photographers.

      • I was wondering about the Kickstarter demographic being the issue too….. But I agree the given reason sounds strange!

  • I’m with everyone who says explanation stinks. Italian production NOT sold to EU as first choice? How is it better has a different reason as it makes no sense whatsoever. Or … dare I say … do they NOT make this film in Italian factory and current stuff is just re-branded other film? I’d not be surprised someone trying this new P30 saying … it looks similar to XXX.

    Conspiracy theories start when one is not clear on decisions’ background.

Leave a Reply

James Tocchio

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio