Film Photography News — February 2024 Recap

The Return of P33 & SHD40 + How to Measure Exposures Without a Light Meter

6 min read by Dmitri.
Published on .

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What’s new?

Film Ferrania revives P33, a classic contrasty ISO 160 black and white film. Lucky Film relaunches its SHD40 in China and overseas. Flic Film buys Street Candy. Plus, a new course to take your film photography to the next level.

Master the Sunny 16 Rule! — learn to measure exposures without a light meter.

Though Sunny 16 is an established rule in photography, it’s not as helpful as it could be.

Traditionally, the Sunny 16 rule is useful for making exposures in full sun (set an aperture to 𝒇16 and shutter to approx. film ISO). However, clouds, shade, fog, and artificial lighting are notoriously difficult to meter using the Sunny 16 rule alone.

Frustrated with guides that fail to define what “cloudy weather” actually means and no luck using the Sunny 16 rule in any light other than the high noon, I decided to develop a new method for estimating exposures without a light meter.

It’s based on the Sunny 16 rule, but it does more than simply suggest camera settings for weather types. This new method includes a new indexing system and a series of exercises designed to help learn how to guess exposures correctly and confidently.

I used this method to shoot rare and expensive film with great results and applied it on all types of cameras, including medium format SLRs and experimental creations.

It took five years to test my theory and refine the teaching material. This month, it went live:

☀️ Master the Sunny 16 Rule!

If you decide to give it a try, please let me know what you think.

Film Ferrania revives P33 — a new ISO 160 black and white film.

Film Ferrania began its resurrection around the same time I became serious about film photography. It was during the Kickstarter campaign, “100 More Years of Analog Film,” which launched back in 2014.

The new FILM* Ferrania brand does not have a direct connection to the original Ferrania, except for parts of the abandoned campus it purchased. That campus, located in Ferrania, Italy used to be a manufacturing home for one of the highly-regarded film producers. The original corp faded into obscurity in the 1990s, following numerous changes of hands and absorbtions.

The Kickstarter’s goal was to bring back colour slide emulsions — a project that ultimately failed to materialize. But the company managed to resurrect an ISO 80 black and white film, Film Ferrania P30 (review), that gained traction over the years.

Film Ferrania P30 with Voigtländer Vitessa A.

Last year, Film Ferrania added Orto to its portfolio. This month, they launched P33 to the anglophone markets.

The new launch was anticipated, thanks to Film Ferrania’s campaign of teasers on Instagram. But its subject was a mystery; little did we know, the film went on sale early in Italy. Having done a little digging, I was able to find its full description and sample images ahead of the official launch on February 22nd. (If you follow me on Mastodon/Bluesky or check the Comments section often, you may find the next film or camera launch rumour like this.)

Samples of the new ISO 160 P33 film show a strong resemblance to its slower cousin, P30. The grain looks just as fine and the contrast is distinctly Ferrania.

But the higher ISO rating isn’t the only thing that sets P33 apart. According to Film Ferrania, it should also be easier to process.

From the press release: “The P33 is the result of the latest developments from our R&D team,

We take pride in offering photography enthusiasts a product that combines the best features of analog tradition – the basic emulsions date back to the ‘60s – with technological innovation.

Silvio Pignone, CEO of Film Ferrania.

The body of the release adds: “It’s important to emphasize that the P33 does not replace our beloved P30, which will remain available in its latest version.”

✱ — The “FILM” part of the brand name is spelled in all caps on some of the promotional materials but not others. I use an all-capitalized version here for emphasis; however, I capitalize just the first letter elsewhere in this blog.

Lucky Film relaunches its SHD40.

Film Ferrania isn’t the only brand that relaunched an old black and white classic this month.

Lucky (中国乐凯胶片集团公司) is a Chinese emulsion manufacturer that has been in business since 1958. SHD400 is their contrasty black and white film, which was discontinued back in 2012. The good news: Kosmo Foto reported earlier this month that the brand is getting ready to re-release its old classic.

Unfortunately, I found no good reviews of this film in English after a brief search — short of a few complaints about the graininess. The samples I saw showed mixed results with well-processed and scanned photos looking comparable to HP5+. This is where I’d like to remind you that choosing black and white film isn’t all about the looks — and if you think otherwise, I dare you to test your ability to tell stocks apart in my viral photography game, What The Film?!

Flic Film buys Street Candy.

Lastly, a brief note about the change of ownership for Street Candy. The brand that took off half a decade ago with its series of hand-rolled black and white films is now owned by Flic Film.

Street Candy rolls are easy to pick out in the sea of plastic tubs as the only ones to package 35mm cartridges in hard cardboard containers. If you’ve ever tried the (now discontinued) New Classic EZ 400, you saw their non-emulsive work first-hand.

Street Candy had a rough couple of years, first shutting down in 2022, then resurrecting in 2023. I hope that their new home serves them well.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

☀️ Master the Sunny 16 Rule! — internet’s most comprehensive course for learning to read light without a light meter.

Film Ferrania P30 Film Review — this article covers the historical context of P30, its founding company, and the Italian cinema of the 1960s. As you’d expect, it’s furnished with high-res samples, scanning, and home development tips.

The Vintage Film Camera Buying Guide — here I share everything I’ve learned trading used cameras (and other stuff) online since 2004.

Canon AE-1 Program Film Camera Review — Canon’s (and the world’s) second most popular film SLR.