Film News: Fujifilm discontinues peel apart instant film

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by Bellamy /

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Film News: Fujifilm discontinues peel apart instant film
Today we bow our heads, as we acknowledge that Fujifilm is to discontinue their peel apart FP-100 film. It doesn’t really come as that much of a shock, but it is extremely depressing to have to write these updates so frequently.

It has already been reported on some sites that the film has been discontinued. But for some people this is hard to believe and I have heard some people stating that they have heard from Fujifilm USA stating they have not reported it as discontinued. I would like to clear that up now.
http://fujifilm.jp/information/articlead_0384.html

The above link is the official release from FujiFilm Japan, which states that the film will be discontinued this spring, which basically means from around next month sometime. This is the sad and final goodbye from this wonderful film.

As usual FujiFilm states that they are going to focus on other aspects of the film business, which basically means Instax. There will be no more peel apart from them no matter how vocal we are about it.

They also spout the usual ‘party’ line about there not being enough demand. But this time around I would like to call them out on this, as I don’t actually believe this is true at all.

When I first started this business about 5 years ago, Fuji FP-100 and the variants of such were reasonably popular, but professionals were no longer asking for it. I had been working for a large photo supply company and we were told (unofficially) back in 2011 that peel apart film was to stop production in the near future, so any orders we wanted of it would have to be done immediately.
But then something strange happened. FP-100 all of a sudden became extremely popular…The internet and sites such as mine raised the public awareness of said film and the sales increased to the point that over the last couple of years they have not been able to keep it on the shelves in Japan, despite the prices. In fact, over the last year it has been hard to get here because as soon as it hits the shelves it is purchased in huge amounts by Chinese buyers who have flocked to the peel apart market. Fuji simply could not get it on the shelves fast enough. It got to the point that serious bulk buyers had orders cancelled or were not allowed to order such amounts as it was considered unfair to other customers.
So here is where we see what has really happened. It is now clear that FujiFilm had already ceased the production of the film back as early as 2012 and has basically spent the last few years selling off the stock they had. Way to go Fuji(not)Film.

I am aware that shifting exchange rates and market forces dictate what is viable. But as the only real peel apart option left on the market and with the popularity of Instax and no viable pro option left, Fuji was in a unique position to market this film to enthusiasts, professionals and artists. And they would have 100% of the market share. How hard would it be to market a ‘Heritage Line’ or ‘Enthusiasts Line’ of films?

The saddest part of all of this for me is not just that there is now no option as a replacement. But that so many truly excellent and in some cases extremely expensive cameras have been rendered obsolete almost overnight. I mean, even last week the Fuji FP-1 Professional camera was being sold here for over 100,000 yen. All of a sudden it is almost worthless. Heartbreaking.

So, thank you once again FujiNotFilm for taking us all down a little bit. Rather than peel the plaster off slowly, just get it over with. Your intentions are clear. Oh, and perhaps you should change your name, it has little meaning any longer.

#fujinotfilm

Rest in peace Fp-100, it was truly a pleasure to have used you. I will treasure the images I have, I only wish that I could share the experience with my children.

JCH

49 comments on “Film News: Fujifilm discontinues peel apart instant film”

    Rachelle M March 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm / Reply

    Another not-so-surprising announcement from Fuji. I should have known this was about to happen – I’ve been getting more and more into instant film and was looking to buy a camera to use Fuji’s peel apart film (I have several in my ebay shopping cart right now) – I’m really glad I decided to wait as that camera would have been nothing but pretty in the cabinet.

    The worse thing is, the more they discontinue products suddenly, with a very small time frame to stock up, I think the more they will push users to other film brands. I mean, how can people trust them? And that, of course, will lead them to say that film isn’t selling….

    Stefan March 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm / Reply

    And I only just bought a 350! Damn you Fuji.

    jonas March 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm / Reply

    FUCK YOU SO HARD FUJI

    #FUJINOTFILM

    lewy March 1, 2016 at 6:37 pm / Reply

    ASSHOLES

    WHAT IS THEIR PROBLEM WITH FILM?

    #FUJINOTFILM

    Marcio K March 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm / Reply

    I have two Polaroid Lands, one 360 and one 450. Simply love them – the image quality is fantastic (because they have manus focus – not fixed focus like the Instax), and the face of people when you peel the film apart is priceless.

    Have some boxes of FP3000 and FP100C on the fridge, and very sad to know that when they are gone, will never use the cameras again.

    Damn you, Fuji. Was thinking about to sell my X100s, now this could be the final reason.

    Giovanni Arroyo March 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm / Reply

    This was truly sad. After discontinuing FP-3000b this was the only option. My Land 450 will soon be relegated to a shelf camera.

    Heiko March 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm / Reply

    I was just getting interested in buying a classical land camera, or some nice polaroid back to go with a medium format camera. Now maybe I will never be able to at least try it. Hopefully something like the Impossible Project also happens to this type of film…

    Hank March 1, 2016 at 10:49 pm / Reply

    We should support Fuji’s efforts to get out of the film business by never buying their film products. Instead, spend your money with companies who are still committed to film.

    iGlad March 1, 2016 at 10:54 pm / Reply

    I am another in the same situation as l have about 8 or 9 pack film cameras and ai love them all. I was thinking about offloading some after modding them as i bought a 190 just before christmas and i love it, along with my 100, 250, 230 and 340. I have ordered some film which if i use sparingly (1 pack per month), should give me about 2 years supply. However now i have to buy a small wine cooler to store them in.

    I am hoping that someone somewhere will make a Instax wide back, which will fit old pack film cameras. I’m hoping that the Lomography guys are reading this!!

    Jacob Cecil March 1, 2016 at 11:32 pm / Reply

    A friend emailed Fuji regarding the discontinuation and got a response stating that “FUJIFILM USA has not announced a potential discontinuation of FP-100C in 3.25 x 4.25 size in the Untied States. Until such an announcement is made within the region the product is considered to be currently in production. Unfortunately I am unable to verify international availability or production statuses, as I can speak only for FUJIFILM USA.”

    Is this a case where Fuji USA hasn’t heard anything and so are not wanting to confirm the end for the US market? It is only made in Japan so I cannot imagine all production is being diverted to the US. It seems odd that there is nothing in english from Fuji.

    Leo Tam March 2, 2016 at 12:04 am / Reply

    Did some of my best work on this stuff… Just got a back for my dad’s Graflex XL so I could use faster lenses… dammit…

    Mark March 2, 2016 at 2:00 am / Reply

    Is this something realistically that The Impossible Project could pick up?

    Dominic March 2, 2016 at 2:32 am / Reply

    They’ve said they won’t do it

    Harry H March 2, 2016 at 2:39 am / Reply

    Bugger, I just got a Polaroid 100 Back for my Hasselblad. Better stock the Fridge. Barstewards #FUJINOTFILM :(

    Daniel F March 2, 2016 at 3:01 am / Reply

    Wow. Time moves on guys. There has never been a better time to shoot Fujifilm instant film. The high end models will plummet in price. I’m gonna get myself a 195, finally!

    johnny v March 2, 2016 at 5:50 am / Reply

    As someone who was not an active user of peel apart film, this is not a great loss for me personally. I do find it strange that Fuji would discontinue a whole product when there is still demand for it. It seems to be the same story, a large corporation seems unable to keep limited production of something that has a following (one that seems to have small-scale, growing interest). I suspect this is something Impossible Project would be unable to manufacture as they only have machinery for integral film (although I believe they manufacture an 8 by 10 peel apart film).
    However, here’s an idea – the active users of peel apart should look for a way to either bring pressure on Fuji to keep production going (although Fuji’s history of listening to customers is poor) or approach manufacturers & see if any are interested in buying the product – whether it’s Impossible Project, Lomography, Polaroid, Kodak, Ilford, etc(which may involve purchasing Fuji’s machinery). Whether it will work or not, I don’t know but it’s at least better complaining online.
    That said, much as this may not be popular to say, I least applaud Fuji for continuing to come up with new Instax cameras & ways to promote it’s Integral films – at least one form of instant film is being kept alive!

    Joey March 2, 2016 at 10:30 am / Reply

    I for one will not support Instax. I have a small fleet of various land cameras and use them frequently. Hopefully someone / some company will come forward and assume the peel apart biz that #fujinotfilm seems to be abandoning.

    Joe March 2, 2016 at 1:27 pm / Reply

    How realistic is it that the abandoning by the pros caused the initial discontinuation, and that the remaining stock taking 4 years to sell off is because the demand hasn’t kept up? I’m not siding with Fuji, but I just have a hard time believing that if the demand was so high, that it would take that long for Fuji’s stock to run out. I seem to remember stories about Kodak Tech Pan and how it was only around so long because Kodak had this one master roll in the freezer, and so few people bought it for the final 20 years…

    I have a Land Camera and hate using it, but for everyone out there in love with instant film, I am sorry for your loss.

    alexandre March 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm / Reply

    high demand and profit are 2 different things!

    AREKU March 3, 2016 at 7:38 am / Reply

    It’s sad to see how Fuji(not)Film is slowly killing off their own brand..

    iGlad March 3, 2016 at 8:19 am / Reply

    Instax wide back for the polaroid pack film cameras, whoever comes up with that baby will hit pay dirt…….kickstarter anyone?

    Cheyenne Morrison March 3, 2016 at 8:44 am / Reply

    When Fuji ceased production of FP-3000B I supported Michael Ash Smith & Bellamy Hunt’s campaign to keep it in production. I contacted Fuji executives in USA, Australia and Japan, all were utterly dismissive of customers concerns, and Fuji refused to acknowledge the campaign.

    In 2015 I released Fuji internal documents showing they planned to cease production of FP-100C, and later released their annual report which showed the same plans. Despite the fact they are making bonanza profits from sales of Instax cameras and film, they are drive by profits. As exhibited by Fuji’s 2015 annual report

    http://www.fujifilmholdings.com/en/investors/annual_reports/2015/pack/pdf/Example-of-Profitability-Improvement-Imaging-Solutions.pdf

    Join the protest

    Save FP-100C
    http://www.facebook.com/savefp100c

    Sign the petition
    https://www.change.org/p/fujifilm-save-fujifilm-fp100c-instant-films?recruiter=311917673&utm_source=share_petition&utm_m

    Daniel March 3, 2016 at 9:24 am / Reply

    I was just considering buying one of the x100t cameras the day before this announcement. But now with this Fuji can piss off. I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

    Nick Marshall March 3, 2016 at 12:44 pm / Reply

    One of the sad things, for me, is that many photographers probably didn’t even know about packfilm and most young people don’t. There was just zero marketing or outreach for packfilm products. There’s some marketing for Instax cameras and film, but packfilm seems to have been left to wither away on the vine.

    I found out about packfilm cameras through Flickr around 2012 and have been shooting with them all the time since then.

    Tianhe Yang March 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm / Reply

    How unfortunate; I used my Land camera just last weekend, and to think that that would be one of the last times I’ll unfold its bellows for the foreseeable future.

    Eric March 3, 2016 at 5:29 pm / Reply

    Crap, I have pack of FP-100c but no camera to shoot it with. I guess it’s not worth buying one now…

    Rachelle M March 3, 2016 at 9:13 pm / Reply

    Exactly! Just because sales were down, does not mean they were not making a profit.

    Rachelle M March 3, 2016 at 9:40 pm / Reply

    Bellamy (and other people who can read Japanese and/or may have insider knowledge), I have a few questions –

    Do you know if there is any discussion or outrage about this on Japanese social media or elsewhere? I’ve seen announcements from different sources but not much else.

    Do we know what happened to the film coating machines – have they already been scrapped? Is it even possible to find out this kind of information (they seem much more secretive that other film companies).

    Does the official announcement sound clearer that it does in translation? To me it doesn’t say that they’re not making a profit, just that sales are down (but from when?). It also reads like the production stopped a while ago, but whatever is left in their warehouses is what will be left for sale (i.e. NOT a final coating run).

    JJ March 4, 2016 at 3:59 am / Reply

    This is so sad..

    Vasile Guta-Ciucur March 4, 2016 at 4:06 am / Reply

    Fine! They can’t do it anymore! What about open-sourcing the entire formula, encouraging others to produce it (Ferrania, Illford, etc.)? Same for the Kodak formulas. And for the other amazing films ever produced… Open the technology, don’t let it die on an antique shelf and scraped away by the demolition company… I guess, this is what you really want/must petition.

    Daniel F March 4, 2016 at 4:49 am / Reply

    Now is the time to buy!

    James March 4, 2016 at 8:57 am / Reply

    It shall take a while to get through my remaining 30something boxes of fp100c, and just as much 669 and several 690 packs. So if that is an indication of how long Polaroid film has remained in circulation, perhaps the fp100c will grace us for a while yet. Unfortunately, fp100c does not age so well.

    On a POSITIVE note, I’ve spent the last 10 years planning the modification of my 195 into a 6×9 roll film camera (my poor 450 gave-up it’s life for a higher purpose). So snap up those Horseman 6×9 backs while they are still sensibly priced. The 6×9 shaves only 4mm off each side and 7mm top and bottom.

    Yes, Fuji Velvia has gone up 100% in the last year (G’Day Kodak) but if ones cosmic exposition necessitates a symbiotic companionship with your dead expensive 195, or the 200 to 400 series sub-creatures, medium format roll film is the wave of the future. Shine on, shine your light on me…

    Alex Chan March 4, 2016 at 9:11 pm / Reply

    This is so sad, I knew this day would come when they had discontinued the FP-3000B – my favourite and only instant black and white, but I didn’t think they would discontinue the FP-100C for at least another 3~4 more years.

    At the freaking least, give us either a better instax camera or black and white instax you jerk balls!

    Valden March 4, 2016 at 9:12 pm / Reply

    Yeah I know that feeling. I was so excited to get my Land 450! Then now I heard this. Wish there’s a company out there that would continue the bw and color peel apart film.

    johnny v March 4, 2016 at 10:07 pm / Reply

    For those interested in trying to do something to save peel-apart film, check out Francesco Gasperini’s online petition – Save Fujifilm FP100C Instant Films on Charge org.

    WEE NGHEE March 5, 2016 at 7:08 am / Reply

    This is really hard to swallow. I have spent quite an amount to acquire several 195s which I used it for teaching. There is a lot of educational value. With this announcement, what do I do with these cameras? Guess the only way is to shoot as many as I can. and keep hoping someone can revive the pack film in the near future.
    :(

    lefolle March 5, 2016 at 4:33 pm / Reply

    Some dialogue has apparently been opened between Fuji and a small group of people respected in the industry, including the founder of the the Impossible Project. This is rare and potentially significant as they have rebuffed any attempts in previous years when the other versions of Pack Film were discontinued. Please check out the website and also sign the petition with a comment on why this film is important to help raise awareness.

    http://savepackfilm.net/

    Bill Smith March 5, 2016 at 8:12 pm / Reply

    I’m not an instant film user but I offer my condolences to Land Camera owners on the loss of FP-100c. I used to be Fujifilm consumer, now all I have left are 8 rolls Reala and 40 rolls of Acros in 120 format. Once that is all gone I’m pretty much Ilford, Kodak, ORWO, Foma and Adox for my film purchases going forward for black and white and C-41 in 35mm and 120.

    As a PR and marketing communications professional, I really don’t like how Fujifilm has communicated this to its stakeholders (us, and different regional distribution channels). Granted I’m coming from the viewpoint of a North American on the business decisions of very Japanese company, witness how the Australian and North American offices have no clue what’s current in the product line up.

    What I would love to see is Fujifilm say, “Ok we want out of this line of business save for Instax but we’ll sell the intellectual property for all the other films like Acros, Provia, Velvia etc. to interested parties for a reasonable price and we’re changing our name to Fuji Imaging.”

    Robert Marsch March 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm / Reply

    I think we would all be less disappointed if fuji actually made a decent instax camera…

    Steve March 5, 2016 at 9:53 pm / Reply

    Is it possible another company could pick up the peel apart biz? If people will buy that Instax crap they will surely buy a quality film.

    Vince Johnson March 9, 2016 at 8:35 pm / Reply

    Sad, but not really that surprising. Production of this product was being kept afloat on the backs of license bureaus and passport/ID photo labs. With the push for capturing digital image data, that business line is going away. Regular customers like you and me, and even those voracious Chinese tourists aren’t going to make up for the loss of the professional market. The fact that four years after being discontinued, FP-3000B continues to be easy to get at only a modest markup over when it was in production should give some idea about the market size of peel apart instant film.

    Best case, Fujifilm decides to sell the IP and at least the machinery to another manufacturer. Worst case, my Instant Press becomes a door stop.

    Cameron Laing March 11, 2016 at 3:18 pm / Reply

    Some promising developments:

    http://savepackfilm.net/updates/the-journey-begins

    Kappa March 12, 2016 at 6:07 am / Reply

    Some hope for FP-100c. Posted March 11, 2016.
    http://savepackfilm.net/updates/the-journey-begins

    Keep signing the petition everyone.
    https://www.change.org/p/save-instant-film

    Kenji March 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm / Reply

    I just bought ten CLA’d Polaroid land cameras, to take some pics and have fun with it.. and this thing happens? GREAT FUJI(NOT)FILM! GOD DAMN IT. You’ll pay for this…

    iGlad March 20, 2016 at 1:00 am / Reply

    3000b at a modest mark up are you rich or something it’s almost £4 per shot in the UK, that is extortionate along with the people now selling FP-100c at about £10 per pack more than it was last month.

    Vince Johnson March 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm / Reply

    About three weeks ago, I bought a few packs off of Amazon’s JP site for 3800 yen each, that works out to about £2.5/shot. That’s about 60% more than what it cost at retail while in production. I sympathise that you’re paying exorbitant costs for 3000B, I am in the same place buying Astia quickloads, but I really don’t think it’s due to the actual amount of film still available. I would expect 100C to become more available and the cost/pack to come down once people remember why they weren’t shooting so much of it, and open up their hoards.

    Check out Doc Kaps entries at Supersense. Fuji made it clear that the production of this film was kept afloat by ID photos. With that market nearly gone, the sales volumes of 100C film are in the single digit percentages of what it was. I think was speculating on about 220,000 packs/year global sales volume. For a company that manufactures of Fujifilm’s scale, that sounds pretty paltry to me.

    AMW March 21, 2016 at 11:28 pm / Reply

    In reading your piece about the discontinuation of the FP-100c, a thought occurred to me: why is the expiration date so close to my date of purchase? The stuff I’ve had at my avail was fresh and was bought from a local camera shop that sold quite a bit of it. Every pack I bought gave me about 14-18 months to use it before it expired. That always seemed to be a short shelf life. I just ordered some that got here on 3-18 and expires 8-17 which technically gives me 15 mos to use it. Of course, I know it’ll last longer if I take care of it, but this observation may lend credence to the argument that Fuji stopped production “as early as 2012” :the key wording being “as early as” since that allows for some wiggle room as to when they actually stopped production. It could’ve been late ’13, mid ’14 or any time between the announcement and the year 2012. I don’t recall what the expiration dates were on films I bought in 2012, but film I’m buying now doesn’t seem to have a long shelf life. Therefore, I think the answer to whether Fuji has already killed it lies in expiration dates of film available now vs. film available circa 2012. Given Florian Kaps recaps of his recent Japan trip, I’d say it’s been dead for a while now and we’re seeing the last distro of stocks made a year or three ago.

    Tony March 24, 2016 at 9:36 am / Reply

    I can’t help thinking that if there is really all of this demand then some other company will take up production. At the least, and as a service to the community, Fuji should make public all of the technical details of how the film was made since they no longer have any business interest in it.

    I really commend Ilford for the work they are doing to get more people, especially younger people, engaged through social networking in film use. Perhaps they might take on production of instant film. The Instax line seems to be quite popular, maybe they could make a go of that kind of market.

    Michael April 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm / Reply

    It would cost Fuji nothing to simply donate their pack format film-making machinery to another commercial concern. If the market for FP100C has diminished so much, any film produced using their old machinery, would present no competition for the sales of their ongoing Instax products.

    Or, there may be no machines left to donate anyway, They might possibly have been broken up already – soon after FP100 production ceased. In some countries such written-off plant can be used to obtain tax breaks.

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