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Film news: Fujifilm discontinues 4×5 peel-apart film


Film news: More Fujifilm cuts
Sad news today. We have known it for a while, but now it is official. Fujifilm are discontinuing most of the peel-apart films that are so dearly loved by many enthusiast. Read on…

Fujifilm are at it again, and it seems like nothing will be safe until they have got everyone shooting on their X system. The latest product to meet with the chop is the 4×5 peel-apart type films. We have all known for a while that they were planning on discontinuing them, but now it is official with this press release on the Japanese website (link here). They made sure they tucked this one away too, it is not easy to find on the site.

Basically it says that due to declining sales, the 4×5 peel-apart business will cease this year after all remaining stocks are sold off. We have until September to get whatever is remaining. This is when people start hoarding. They try to appease us in the last couple of lines by stating their commitment to film and hoping we buy their products, but they are hollow words in light of this.

I am not going to wax lyrical about my feelings on Fujifilm, but it saddens me that they continue this self fulfilling prophecy, upping the prices and then complaining that nobody is buying the products. I totally understand that they are a business, but shouldn’t they be listening to the demand from the public?

What bothers me the most is that Fujifilm will not open lines of communication about the idea of selling the peel-apart machinery to interested parties. I have handled some serious requests from groups interested in taking over the peel-apart business, but Fuji has basically refused to communicate with anyone about this. There are investors who would really like to be involved with this, but it seems there is no chance. If the previous cuts are anything to go by, Fujifilm would rather destroy or dismantle the machinery than sell it on.

This is a sad day for us all. I was really enjoying shooting this stuff. I am off to stock up on my own supply. Go and shoot a peel-apart film today, before you cannot. Enrich your photographic experience.

*updated* It seems that in my haste I didn’t read it properly. It is the 4×5 films that are getting the chop. But the regular FP100c film is not going to be far behind is history holds true.

Thanks
JCH

20 thoughts on “Film news: Fujifilm discontinues 4×5 peel-apart film”

    1. Any news about expiry dates anyone ? lots of 2014 around but this seems strange at this time of year; We should be seeing 2015 dates…

  1. How much longer until Velvia 50 gets the boot? I’d like to shoot some 120, but I don’t want to invest in a camera that becomes a brick after a year.

  2. So, what peel-apart films are left in production now? Just FP-100C?

    I was going to buy a 100 Land Camera this week, but I think I’ll give it a miss – I reckon I’ll be left with a paperweight before the year is out. Time to get rid of my Land Cameras I think!

  3. Hello Hunt,
    this move doesn’t surprise me much. It’s true that 4×5 instant film aren’t popular nowadays and weren’t so in the past due to the very high prices. You can feel this by the very low prices reached by the famous 4×5 instant film Polaroid holder for view cameras. Anyhow a bad news for view cameras photographers, I don’t know if there are other 4×5 instant film stil in product…

  4. A bit offtopic but starting now i’ll buy only ilford (film, paper and chemistry).
    Maybe this way at least one company will stay in the film business.
    An article about using kodak cinema film for still 35 would be of interest, anyone can share his or her experience?

  5. Well, am i glad i didn’t get that polaroid back for my Bronica last month! I suppose Impossible will fill the gap, at far steeper prices.

    I’m glad hardly buy Fuji anyway. Ilford black and white and a shitload of kodak portra for me!

  6. I find it very odd that Fuji is discontinuing peel-apart film, while continuing to manufacture integral film and even come-up with new versions of instant cameras! What is going on here?
    Maybe Impossible Project needs to start looking into a new product…

  7. This is actually bad news for us, because it shows continued weakness in the overall film marketplace. Fuji discontinued these products due to poor sales, and have said so on multiple occasions. They even detailed the decline and stated that sales were less than 5% of previous years. I would have to terminate any product that performed that way, too. FP100c is presumed to be next as the ID and passport cameras all move to digital. The art market has always been minor. At New55 we think there may be a market for a high-value PN and that’s what we want to see: Will there be enough support? I hope we can find out soon as we get through the logistics and legal pieces of New55 on Kickstarter, and then proceed from there.

    Art is unstoppable: Some people will roll their own art materials. Post-digital photography is a growing field with more artists and newcomers than old pros discovering the power of projection-plane imaging on sensitive surfaces vs the transitory still videos that comprise much of today’s “picture taking”.

  8. Personally I wouldn’t buy or hoard their products, why? Because they want to rape us after they sell off their remaining stock. Let them make a loss. Tranny is gone but there are c41 and black and white with loads of choice. The twats state 5×4 velvia 50 is gone that is bollocks as they still make it for their own in Japan. Support Ilford foma kodak orwo ect the people who give a shit. I have seen the market for years and Fuji are the most arrogant company on the planet. They can stuff their cheap and nasty compacts and their X system up their arse as we have Canon sigma and leica. They even make cosmetics in their plants. Just let fuji screw themselves and support the company’s who give a shit, I love film as all of you do.

  9. Hi,

    This is more of a response to Danny than anyone else, so here I go. Danny, the reason Fujifilm discontinue these films is because the factories that make the film are expensive to run. Very expensive. It is 2014. I am surprised that it has taken this long for peel apart film to disappear. I was born in 1980 and some of my earliest memories are my Dad peeling apart Polaroid film. Even back then, other forms of analogue film was more popular, and the original Polaroid film disappeared years ago. If a company makes money out of a product, they keep it in circulation, but honestly, as much as we all love analogue film, how many do you think buy this? I mean, the market for this must be extremely small and the cost of manufacture and keeping the factories open is probably much higher. Even digital cameras are not as profitable as they used to be due to the popularity of mobile phone cameras. I mean, Fuji kept it going for much longer than it was probably possible but think of all the local movie rental stores near you that have closed. Maybe you liked them, maybe you feel betrayed, but they closed for a reason. The business ended. The automats are extinct. Some people have fond memories of frequenting them but not everyone who used them supported them as they went headed into obsolescence. I am upset about this too. Really I am, but I have to say what I would ordinarily never admit. I have a printer and a digital camera. They produce wonderful images. Really they do. When I am at home I can get an almost instant print, and I can see the photo as it is taken so I know I got what I needed. Apart from the initial cost of the camera and the memory card, the photos, in their digital form, cost nothing. I can take thousands and most of them will be better than Polaroid. It is true. I have the Polaroid 250 Land camera, a Polaroid 690, a Fujifilm Instax 50s, and a Fujifilm Instax 500 AF. They are a great novelty, but sometimes it is a drag to take photos with them. I almost always want to scan them, which is a tedious process. I Hate the fact that the photo albums to store them are also going up in price. It is an expensive hobby. When instant photogrpahy was popular, it was still quite expensive, but lets not forget, in spite of revisionism on the internet, very few pro photographer’s used them. Most people who write about these cameras are enthusiasts or people who just got into this, but when I bought my very first Polaroid camera in the 90s, everyone said it was Ok, but the photos are crap. Everyone said that. It was understood that for the convenience of an instant photograph you compromised quality and even the best Polaroid camera could not compare with other analogue photography equipment. It was expensive and average. Now all photos are instant in the digital world. The main reason for investing in those cameras back then was to see your photo straight away. We can do that with digital, share it rapidly with out phones or computers. No one really has to print anymore. I mean, only the best get printed, and for many maybe even that isn;t worth the bother. Where do you put them when you have a large collection of images. Albums are going up in price, as I mentioned earlier. I think Fujifilm did all it could but this party ends at some point and I would not be surprised if Fuji end all Instant film production within the next five years. Niche markets do not keep multinational corporations in business. Kodak are dead. 25 years ago that would have been an unimaginable prediction. I don’t think the current climate is good for any analogue film company. You mention Ilford. They make film according to demand and probably exploit the markets dominated by people who favourite products have been discontinued. They do not risk their business because their business is to attract people who want to keep their old cameras alive. Their core business is to produce replacement products. That is noble but they spend less money and make what they want. You cannot expect Fujifilm to survive with a niche market that is slimming down every year, and I must say in the last few weeks, even me, a hardcore analogue photography nut has thought off selling my analogue cameras and films. Digital has improved, it is convenient, and the best cameras can wipe the floor with instant film, and the appeal of seeing a photo instantly is gone because you can see instant photographs immediately and share them much more quickly without loss of quality. They also make excellent prints. What is the point of spending so much money on film when you can get excellent results with digital, and before you say artists use Polaroid, that is utter bullcrap. Not one serious photographer I know ever used Polaroid. In its heyday people laughed at Polaroid. Even the high end cameras were fairly shit and as a photographer travelling into the Himalayas, would you capture that moment with a crappy Polaroid photo that captured little detail and was much too small for exhibition. Polaroid was used by people who wanted snapshots of family photos, and didn’t want to wait until they filled the whole roll of analogue film that Instamatic style cameras took. People took very few photos in the past, and some hated to wait until their film roll was finished before they saw the print. Polaroid was a convenient alternative but you did compromise quality. That is sad. Instant photography had its day. TIme to sell up to the next sucker while you stil have the chance. Move into digital and have fun with all it has to offer. Instant is expensive and mediocre and only for the hipsters now. Photographers always look for the best gear and there is plenty available. Do not mourn the death of analogue photography. It had its day, we had fun, but its time to move on, and there is plenty of equipment available to get near instant photo prints.

  10. Also, I would like to say that most people who loved instant photography, loved prints. They loved to show off their images. Prints degrade. You can have a digitial photograph stored on multiple media and upgrade the content as and when technology changes. You can see the images whenever you want and make excellent prints if and when you choose using even a basic ink printer. Why would you want a Poalroid. You dont have to wait to finish your film roll before you have the film processed like you did with other analogue cameras. YOu don’t have to wait to see the actual image months after you took it so what is the point of spending so much money on crappy old obsolete equipment? It has been superseded in every way possible. I think people who still cling to analogue photography are like the people who said VHS was better and had more character than DVDs when DVDs first came out. Wake up. Seriously, things have improved. HOw can one say VHS was better with a straight face. Flickering colours, tape degradation, and most of the content was fairly low res. This is not art. We need to preserve memories using the best technology we can afford. Even an old Nokia phone, with a 3.2 Megapixel camera can take better photos than most of the fixed focus Polarod cameras. Sell up. There is still a market of suckers full of people like the one who frequent this forum and with the money you make, buy a decent digital camera and enjoy. Polaroid died in 2008. Time to move on photographers.

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