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.
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.
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.