“The Professional segment has been steadily increasing for the last couple of years. Usage of professional film in this segment is primarily driven by wedding and portrait photographers. This is not novelty use,” says Manny Almeida, Division President, Imaging Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation in an interview with the Phoblographer regard the development of the Fujifilm ACROS II 100 film. The emulsion is $12 a roll in either 35mm or 120. Indeed, if you look around the web, you’ll see lots of photographers either embracing the film look or probably shooting film. In fact, one of them won a World Press Photo Award in 2020. Now don’t get us wrong; film isn’t as strong as digital by a long shot. But, it’s a growing market in some ways. Otherwise, why would Kodak, Lomography, and Fujifilm come out with new emulsions?
Film Photography and the New Professional Film Photographer
“Right after we discontinued Neopan 100 Acros, there was a vocal demand from a small, but loyal group of enthusiasts asking that we bring the product back,” explains Mr. Almeida. Fujifilm discontinued their other Acros 100 film in 2018, and that made lots of customers angry. Enough were clamoring that the company decided to redevelop, improve, and release it for the market. Fujifilm Acros II was released with increased contrast as a result of feedback from social media interactions, which is where they’re primarily marketing the new film.
“Our marketing program initially will be focused around our #ishootfujifilm IG account. Here, we will have the ability to showcase the film by utilizing both UGC as well as promote our film through our influencer network. We will continue to monitor digital and live events where we can showcase our products in the best light.”– Manny Almeida, Division President, Imaging Division, Fujifilm North America Corporation
Most of the film shooters I know are enthusiasts, and all of the semi-professional photographers I know don’t shoot film often. I don’t remember a single one who has sold a film photo in recent history. But the professional photographers shooting film that Fujifilm is targeting aren’t just cutting their teeth on the medium: they’re using film to differentiate their work, and get a different feel in their images. “As such, we see the professional segment as being a lasting user of film.” related Mr. Almeida.
The Film Enthusiast Who Loves Acros
Of course, not everyone who uses film is a professional, but enthusiast photographers far outnumber the professionals. And those folks are the ones helping to keep it alive. Fujifilm saw what they call, “distinct segments,” of film shooters, and those include the traditional consumer picture takers and digital natives exploring technology from the past. To carefully define these segments, Fujifilm sees the traditional folks as those who use one-time-use cameras (disposable cameras). Everyone else is a photographer who started with digital and decided to give film a shot–pun not intended. If you’re reading this site, there’s a strong chance you’re one or the other.
A steady part of Fujifilm’s imaging business is their Home Decor business. These are products that appeal to people making prints: not just paper but stuff like blankets, flags, shirts, etc. There are entire shops dedicated to it. One would think those film shooters, being the tactile type, would want to make prints of their film on something like a tapestry to display in their dens. But Fujifilm has no plans at the moment to create any sort of promotions.
The lead image and other are sample of Fujifilm ACROS II provided by Fujifilm Japan.