Film Review: Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros I vs. II
Our pals over at Fujifilm caused quite the ruckus last year when they announced the release of the all-new Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros II. They’re available here in Japan now but should be trickling out to the rest of the world soon in Q1 2020. So we got our eager little fingers on some to pit against OG Acros and provide y’all with some insight into what to expect.
In case you were frozen in carbonite the last couple years, Fujifilm terminated sales of their last remaining b&w film, Neopan 100 Acros, in Autumn 2018. They cited low sales volumes and difficulties in obtaining “raw materials essential for production”. Distraught Wookie roars ensued.
But the film photography community, much like fervent Warsies on TLJ, met the news with outcry at yet another discontinued Fujifilm stock and implored Acros to be reinstated. It seems that Fujifilm has obliged. A year later, Acros II was created “by researching substitutes for raw materials that became difficult to obtain and radically reexamining the manufacturing process to match the new raw materials“.
The fact that new Acros II is NOT made in Japan like its predecessor but made in the UK only added additional fuel to the vague press release fire. Emulsive has already reported that it is most likely either finished by or entirely manufactured by Harman Technology aka Ilford Photo. He reiterates however that Acros II is not a rebranded Ilford film. There is precedence for Ilford producing films or provided finishing services for other brands. You can read more about that and check out his Acros I vs. II in 120 review here.
Fujifilm Neopan Acros I vs. II head to head (135)
Let’s dive right into the direct comparison. I loaded Acros I into a Leica M6, Acros II into a Leica MP6. Then I equipped both with either identical MS Optics Apoqualia 28mm’s or ISM 50mm’s. The juxtaposed images were taken one after the other at the same location with the same exposure. It was then developed identically with Fuji Minidol following box instructions. They were then scanned with a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i and that’s it, no post process adjustments.
Take a look at the above and you will find that Acros I curls alot more than Acros II, which dries pretty much flat. If anything the newer Acros II is a lot easier to scan because of this. Acros II is also slightly thicker and has a more purplish tint to the negatives themselves.
Alrighty then let’s take a look at the images side by side. Any guesses which one is which?
Here are 100% crops from a couple of the 1600dpi scans to give you a closer look at the grain.
Let’s see if y’all guessed correctly…
The top/left images are Acros I and the bottom/right ones are Acros II. Under some conditions it’s pretty close and almost indistinguishable. But generally speaking compared to OG Acros, Acros II appears slightly more contrasty, especially in the midtones with a smidgen less detail in the shadows. To me, Acros II has a more “burnt-in” look SOOC if you will. OG Acros gives a wee more leeway for dodging and burning for dark room printing.
These results could vary with other chemistries but should provide you with an idea of what to expect. Would love to hear if others found a different result. Stay tuned in the future for more tests with different chemistries and pushing abilities.
Thank you for doing this. Nice methodology and summary. It’s very hard to tell on a computer screen, but i think I will like what seems like better mid-tone distinctions with the new film.
By the way, I had never herd of Fuji Minidol developer before. Did a search and see that Yodobashi sells it (10 liter mix pack). Is this the Fuji developer that commercial labs use? Coincidentally, I just bought a 1 liter pack of Fuji Microfine yesterday. I’m going to try that on my 5×7 negatives.
Provided prices are competitive and 120 size available.
Thanks for the comment. Not sure how prevalent it is but I am aware of at least a couple labs in Tokyo that use Fuji Minidol. Nice results with Fuji stock, especially Neopan 1600. Will have to test Acros ii in various other chemistry in a future review
Love to see a new B&W film , just not sure how it’s called a Fuji product ?
Guess it’s like if you consider a Leica CL a Leica or a Minolta…
I guessed the two correctly by the way. And I for the most part like the new films look a little better . I saw more mid tone detail but it was more burnt in looking yes . The skin looked more pleasing and almost as though it was shot with digital.
Looking at the photos online they seem virtually identical. Perhaps a tiny touch more contrast in the Acros II. Which would be good in many situations.
Does the grain seem the same? The very fine grain of Acros made it special, and if they have kept the grain that fine, that is great news.
It definitely looks a little more burned in .
I at first thought the highlights were a little o er exposed looking similar to digital images.
But as I looked at more and more of the photos I was liking the mid tones and the skin tones . I saw more detail in the facial features. Acros 1 had to me less detail and muddy skin tones .
I think I like this new Acros ii
Great to have companies bringing back old emulsions- at least at some degree. Interestingly, I just bought 5 rolls off Acros II in Mexico and they are all made in Japan.