How to Fall in Love with Film Again. Fujifilm Acros 100 II Review

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Fujifilm truly showed how they’ve got guts and amazed me. How often does a company discontinue a film, listen to their fans, and then bring it back? I mean, would you ever expect Apple to say that they were wrong? Or Canon? Fujifilm basically did that, and they deserve lots of praise for it. Fujifilm Acros 100 II is the company’s new emulsion. It’s a beautiful one with inky blacks, sharp details, and a gorgeous look to it. If you shoot with Fujifilm X series cameras, I strongly suggest you give Acros 100 II a shot. But it’s also great if you’re looking or a sharp, low ISO film. And when it’s paired with the right lenses, it’s going to give you all those tones you rave about. Alongside Kodak T-Max 400, this is now my favorite black and white film.

Editor’s Note: I moved back to Queens, NY, earlier this year. I discovered 37th Ave Photo recently. I strongly recommend going there to get your film developed. They’re at 7607 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. Please note, I didn’t get free development and scans. I just want the analog community to thrive.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sharp
  • Beautiful tonal gradation
  • Scans beautifully

Cons

Gear Used

We tested Fujifilm Acros 100 II in a Leica M6 TTL, a Leica CL, and 7Artisans lenses.

Tech Specs

Here’s a summary of the specs taken from Fujifilm’s Website:

  • Finest grain quality ISO 100 black-and-white film
  • Excellent processing characteristics
  • Rich gradation and outstanding sharpness
  • Wide range of photographic applications
  • Provides outstanding sharpness, rich gradation, wide exposure latitude and excellent reciprocity characteristics.
  • Medium Speed, supper fine grain, black-and-white negative film featuring Super Fine – ∑ Grain Technology.
  • Suited to all normal indoor and outdoor photography as well as long exposure applications.

Ease of Use

First things first; Fujifilm Acros 100 II is simple to use. Just load it into the camera, set the ISO, and shoot. It’s got lots of versatility for street photographers, landscape photographers, candid shooters, portrait photographers, etc. It’s challenging to take a bad picture with this film if you know what you’re doing. Generally speaking, this film needs more light than ISO 100. Give it up to a stop of extra light if you’re in a very shadowy, overcast area. Otherwise, expose it according to your light meter. Personally speaking, I adored using this in my Leicas, but I probably would’ve had even more fun with it in my Natura S. That camera does all the decision making for you. (And it is pink. Who doesn’t like a pink camera?) This camera has a flash built-in and a fantastic light meter. With it, you’re going to get even sharper photos.

Of course, I was using the 7Artisans 50mm f1.1 and 28mm f1.4. Those are both based on older Leica designs. I’m personally a huge fan of using modern lenses with film. So if you’re using a Canon EF, Pentax K, Minolta A, Leica M, or Nikon F mount camera, then give it a shot. You’ll probably get more contrasty images. For better results, try using color filters. And if you’re a Fujifilm X series camera user, I recommend bringing that camera along with the Acros setting enabled. You’ll get a bit of an idea of what you’re shooting that way.

I didn’t handle any of the developing myself. Nor did I shoot it for push/pull processing. They were processed normally by 37th Ave Photo.

Image Quality

There aren’t many black and white ISO 100 films left. Ilford and Lomography are the only manufacturers left who do it. But I found Acros 100 II to be better than both Earl Grey and Delta 100. Here’s an indirect comparison.

This photo above was shot with Delta 100 and a modern Zeiss Milvus series lens. It’s a beautiful photo and rendering, in my opinion. The darks are less inky than you get with Acros. And most importantly, it’s not as sharp. Some like that look. Delta 100 might be better for landscape photographers. I remember shooting lots of gorgeous photos with it and newer lenses.

Here’s Earl Grey shot on a Pentax 67. It’s sharp for sure. And it’s got a very low contrast look. The blacks are inkier for sure than Delta. Earl Grey is a film that’s very ideal for portraiture. There’s something about the tonality that I can’t really put my finger on.

Finally, here is Acros 100 II. Personally, this is my favorite emulsion. Look at this! Look at how it renders the light on Kevin’s face. Admire how sharp it is. But also, can we please appreciate how it renders the shadows in the background? Plus, carefully look at how much inkier the blacks are here. Acros 100 II is ideal for general photography. Fujifilm said that it even could be used for Astrophotography in their marketing after all!

This is a stellar looking film. Here are more image samples.

Conclusions

Fujifilm Acros 100 II is a film you’d liken to an old reliable for anything in your life. It’s the one that you can always come back to and will always enjoy. You’ll surely want variety at times, but there are some things that you’ll always enjoy. Fujifilm Acros 100 II will be just that for so many reasons. One thing, in particular, is how it handles highlights. You’ll get details, but you’ll also get some beautiful detail loss. It’s hard to hate on this film. Being the newest black and white film emulsion on the market at ISO 100, it’s hard to recommend another film over it. The formula was tweaked before release to make it even better. And Fujifilm did a great job with it. Again though, it’s a bit pricey. Then consider a roll of film and the cost of processing and scanning being around $30/roll.

Make no mistake, Fujifilm Acros 100 II is a fun film to use. And it’s a novelty that you’ll use for sure. It’s probably best to process and scan at home if you can. Fujifilm Acros 100 II made me fall in love with the film shooting process all over again. I took a break from it for cost reasons, but it’s a great process that keeps us in the moment and not glued to digital screens. Would I shoot this film again? For sure. But I think I’d do it for something really important. Or I’d do it if I had a gig where I knew I’d make money back.

Still, it’s now one of my favorite black and white films. Fujifilm Acros 100 II goes for around $11.99 a roll typically. Give it a shot.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.