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.