With the final sales for their black and white films and photographic paper looming in the coming months, news of Fujifilm investigating the possibility of bringing back their black and white emulsions has sparked some hope.
Not so long ago, the news of Fujifilm killing off its famed Acros 100 black and white film sent many of us scrambling for available stocks. The emulsion in 35mm and 120 formats will be officially discontinued in October this year. And yet, Fujifilm was recently reported to be looking into the possibility of bringing back its black and white films.
Given the increased demand for black and white films, the company has “just started the examination” of the feasibility of this endeavor, according to an ITmedia report (in Japanese). The report also mentioned that obtaining raw materials for the production of black and white films remains one of the biggest difficulties to solve for the company.
Earlier in the Acros 100 discontinuation announcement, Fujifilm mentioned they “worked hard to absorb costs such as improving production efficiency and cost savings,” but the continued decrease in demand made it difficult to maintain a stable supply. It seemed there was no other solution but to kill off the last black and white film and all the black and white photographic papers in their product line. So, you can just imagine why the mere idea of looking into the feasibility has sparked a glimmer of hope.
Soon after the EOL (end of life) announcement for the Acros 100, many photographers who still prefer the look of black and white films expressed their disappointment and hopes that Fujifilm would still continue producing black and white films. Looks like the company has realized that there is still indeed a market for it. But, as always, will it be enough for Fujifilm to put some serious research and development (and money) to make it happen? Also, we are yet to find out if the company is looking into bringing back just the Acros 100, or their other famous black and white films like the Neopan line.
For some of us, it’s hard not to be speculative and pessimistic at this point; Fujifilm has been quite notorious for discontinuing one beloved emulsion after another. But if we’re going to see some of our favorite black and white films back in the long run, then by all means, Fujifilm, keep looking into it!