Save Packfilm Travelog No. 9: GRANDE AIRPORT SUMMARY


On March 18th I found myself again at the same Sushi Bar as exactly 6 days ago. There I had some time to summarize the developments of my savepackfilm efforts over some last Chirashi Sushi before Europe and an early morning beer. 

The biggest challenge of this adventure is the astonishing fact of how “light tight” this giant black box called FujiFilm really is. Nobody seems to know anything, so it's incredibly hard to develop a better understanding of how to push the right buttons and offer useful proposals. Maybe this is caused by the fact that I don't have any personal contacts and don't share any history with Fujifilm, but honestly I think this is only a small part of the problem.

FujiFilm seems to be really famous for its very restrictive information policy. Inside but also outside of Japan. We would urgently need an “André Bosman” NOW!!! Sitting on a bench in Enschede with André back in 2008 and listening to all the details of how to keep this factory alive had been the big turning point for saving the last Polaroid factory.

“Dear Mrs or Mr. Fuji Packfilm insider! As you have produced this wonderful material for so many years, please please call me, so we all can understand better how to keep this wonderful and iconic film material alive!”

Because this
 time, I don't even have the slightest idea where these last packfilm machines are standing!! How many are still available? Are they still producing? When has the management scheduled their demolition? It just feels like fighting against a ghost, which for sure is one of Fuji`s main intentions.

The second biggest problem is obviously the massively decreasing demand for this material. I had to discover that the percentage of packfilm consumption by photographers in whole Asia is most likely a small one digit number, and that only the passport and ID picture business (mainly in the lower developed regions) had kept this format alive for the past years. Even if the situation might be slightly different in Europe and North America, FujiFilm management simply has to have hard times to see any future for this material, without any chance to really see the essential difference between their Instax Wide material that produces images of exactly the same size, with just a little different border.

Fighting this “lack of analog vision” does not feel like the right strategy, so I basically only see 2 realistic directions to proceed:

1.  Offering a long term purchase agreement with a defined minimum order quantity, that turns this product back into a profitable item for FujiFilm.

2.  If this agreement can't be reached (and so far I have not even received any information of the actual average yearly sales for this product. My best guess would be around 250.000 packs per year globally) I really begged them literally on my knees to give us – the wild gang of crazy people all over the world who do not just believe but also did act – the chance to keep this format alive by selling us the key machines which – as always - are the essential foundation to all future production plans. At least ONE assembly machine and MAYBE PLEASE some of the molds for the cartridge. Not to mention some left over materials for rails, paper, pod-materials,…

The most positive outcome of this journey so far is the fact that there have been 2 official proposals of how to keep this material alive and an impressive amount of signatures personally handed over to the Fuji management. Hopefully they can NOW no longer continue like there is no interest or chance for this material any longer.

With the growing group of supporters in Japan (another positive outcome from this trip) I agreed to wait one week for the Fuji management to come up with a reaction to my proposals before taking next steps. But based on the super slow progress so far, I plan to already prepare for these steps with the team as well as start discussing possible next moves and some new ideas with our brothers in arms: IMPOSSIBLE, NEW55, FERRANIA, but also some other so far not actively involved gentlemen.

As always, I will of course keep you closely in the loop,


 P.S.: Just seconds before boarding my plane back home, I got another savepackfilm energy boost from these 2 kids. They simply could not believe their eyes as I took (and handed over) the picture I took of them. Once again it felt so very good to experience how powerful the magic of this i1947-invention still is in a world where visual entertainment is defined by the iPad.


  • Drew

    Thank you, Doc! As someone with over 50 Polaroid cameras in their collection. I need some hope. I just used my last shot of Polaroid 600 film last week and have been shooting Impossible since you started. I love instant. I have 30-40 packs of peel apart I am clicking my way through. I’d love to see something positive come out of this.

    I’m hoping for the best and thank you for doing all you can.


  • ROn

    I truly appreciate all of your efforts. You are already an analog film hero in my book!

  • bob barrett

    Thank you for your efforts! I am a fan of all Fuji-roid products and hope they (Fuji) do not abandon production. I have less than two packs of FP 100c left in two of my beloved Polaroid 180’s. I think the idea of asking Fuji what yearly requirement would make the product viable, then assembling a worldwide group who each pledge a given usage to fulfill this requirement is the best way to proceed. Hopefully…BB

  • john

    I just bought an old polaroid that uses peel apart film at Value Village & was hoping to use the peel apart film (although it could still be used as decoration).I use Instax film, but I like the ability to keep a negative. I know Mr. Bellamy of Japan Camera Hunter has commented that the film is selling really well in Asia (so well that it disappears from store shelves soon after it arrives). Option #1 would probably be the best, as #2 would likely require re-assembling machinery & learning the process from scratch. If Fuji decides to stop production, maybe someone should look into a way to design an attachment/back for peel apart cameras that can use Instax…

  • Heiko Krause

    Why not propose Fuji a list of people who make a kind of monthly subscription to buy the FP 100 C – 5-10 packs a month? If there will be enough subscribers, so that Fuji has a fixed number of monthly sales, let’s see what happens…

  • G.Goodwin

    Thank you for your continued efforts and wishing you the best of luck in saving this beautiful, rare, wonderful emulsion.

    Best. Gordon.

  • Vince

    Hello Doc,

    Otsukaresamadeshita! (as they say in Japan)

    I don’t know how much of these comments you read, but I hope you are able to find some solis in our support of your efforts.

    You’re not kidding about the black-box that are most Japanese businesses. If you haven’t had the experience, it’s hard to imagine that it’s just as dark on the inside, as it seems on the outside. Not having personal contacts in Fujifilm’s senior management will likely make it very difficult to go forward with acquiring equipment and knowhow from them. Nevertheless, I hope you keep trying.

    I think your best chance is for option 1, at least in the near term. A standing material supply agreement for FP-100C may be enough to build the kind of relationship that would facilitate option 2. I think your chances of success would benefit from at least finding out what countries still rely on this technology for ID/passport photos, and the Japanese company that sells and supports film-based license/ID photo systems in Japan (Toyo Camera, IIRC).

    Best of luck, and I truly hope you find a way forward.

  • Tim Massie

    Thank you, Doc, for all your efforts thus far and I am thankful you have the same fervor for this material that we do!

  • Alan Stolz

    Thanks for all your efforts Florian. My very first instant camera was a model 95 I purchased for $12.50 back in 1965. I was 12 years old and the camera store let me pay 50 cents a week from my paper route. I bought two rolls of film each month at $2 and was enthralled with this technology. Fuji wanting to kill it is akin to killing off an endangered species of animal. You can never get it back. That’s why all possible efforts to save it should be attempted. The world without Land’s ingenious creation would be a sad world indeed.

  • Renee

    Thanks for all the work you’re doing in trying to keep our dreams alive!! I love my land camera and already am having to take less photos when I want to take more!! Fuji need to negotiate and innovate with new pro film cameras not just toy instax! We’re here to support you in this fight!

  • Michael Petersen

    I’m so thrilled you took the next plane to Japan for this!! Our man in Japan! I shoot peel-apart for just 8 months now and became a fan. Instant film should be marketed as a NEW THING. Everybody has stories about big eyes of people seeing it for the first time. Nobody knows it exists. In our digitized world people even more love things REAL. I watch my analog photos over and over. Yes, we need some “Fujifilm GF670” spirit, so Fujifilm ARE able to dare produce for a niche market. And they DID come with several peel-apart emulsions after Polaroid’s demise, but not for long. And Impossible shows that such a small market can be profitable. Fujifilm’s image will suffer from ending the last film when there are thousands of working cameras out there. Instax is sadly just wide angle toy cameras, but a great film. A more manual Pro camera with more normal focal length is overdue. So thanks for your great work and I hope it is not long decided by Fujifilm and not non-debatable. Kind regards also from my “250”! Still young at 49!

  • Braca Nadezdic

    Thank you very much Doc on your efforts to save Fuji FP100C. Also, is there a chance to bring back Fuji3000B in life?
    All the best from Serbia

  • Derrick

    Thank you for trying to help us save packfilm! Please try to bring back fp3000 black and white film too. I am constantly living in fear that one day I will wake up to a world with no more film. And it gives me undue anxiety. Thank you for supporting film. Please let us know what else we can do to support you on this quest.

    With utmost gratitude,

  • Tom Kershaw

    Thanks Doc for being willing to go so far and work so hard in the face of no agreement. We users will never be able to fully express our appreciation of your effort.

  • Lionel Faure

    Dear Doc,

    Thank you so much for all your efforts and for the hope you give us. I hope you get to reach the Japanese analog community (there must be one) and that they can help you with at least bringing attention to our cause on a more mainstream level also. If your efforts and our desperation over the death sentence Fujifilm put on packfilm make the headlines of big mainstream media in Japan and around the world, it might become a wiser option for Fujifilm to keep packfilm alive even for the sake of putting up a positive image as a smart marketing move. I don’t think it would be very beneficial for their brand as a whole to be perceived negatively as the company who has no consideration for their customers’ out cry.

    On another note, I think you said that when you saved the last 8×10 Polaroid machinery IP decided to adapt it to be able to make 8×10 integral film. Could there be a way that this process could have given you the inverse enginering knowlegde to be able to produce peel-apart film again? Was this adaptation destructive, can it be inverted (even on and off to alter integral and peel-apart 8×10 production)? 8×10 peel-apart must be so fantastic.

    Anyway, we are just crossing our fingers and sending you tons of positive vibes. Thank you again so much for what you’re doing.

    Lionel Faure, from France.

  • Zhe Mei

    Thank you, Doc! and I salute you!

  • Jamie

    Thank you for all of your hard work and commitment to keep this film alive! Those two kids remind me of my nephew. As a 6 year old, he asked me for an old land camera for christmas (he already shoots my impossible film). I felt he was too young to focus with that camera, but i hope for a world where he still has the opportunity to shoot this incredible film with me. Keep up the great work, and i can say that i would donate to a gofundme if that ever occurred.

  • Brandon Montz

    I know that in the past fundme accounts have worked for a multitude of scenarios. How complicated (not impossible, just overly complicated) would it be to recreate a product like this from scratch?

  • Jeff Ballinger

    Thank you for your incredible efforts. You have started something more than hope – which is plenty – that this film will be kept alive somehow. You have started a movement with some momentum to achieve this worthy aim. Wouldn’t it be amazing if your efforts also led to a revival of the B&W film? Nothing’s impossible, right?

  • T. Sperring

    You’re journey is impressive. Be patient. Perhaps if you use a flash and get the exposure on the money, the businessmen can at the very least see how good the medium looks. I know 100C can really produce professional commercial quality results but I am sure these business men have not used the product themselves. My father would say “I do not see what you see so special about this film” until I made the images crystal clear. That required a well calibrated Graflex, the right filters and a lot of practice combining flash & ambient light. Showing anyone a lack luster print from a discontinued product may make them think “it was discontinued because it stinks!” Think of the reasoning behind the INSTAX model: a complete in house system designed from the ground up to produce consistent results.

  • Axel Breton

    Great Doc,
    So nice to get feedback from you.

  • Witold

    Dear Doc,
    May I suggest you these 2 things:
    1. to watch A.Kurosawa’s film " The Bad Sleep Well" (1960) – the perfect insight into the Japanese entrepreneurial clockwork – I think you might need it (!);
    2. to imagine things other way round: how about to invent a manner of adapting FilmPack cameras and backs in order to work with available films: either Instax Wide (same format !) or SX-70 ? Might be a cheaper solution… (Although, we loose the negative in such case, and I, who already dreamed about the come back of the 665 pack…)
    Otherwise, I once new the name of the Fuji-man himself, the one who seems to be the “father” of GF670, camera invented and produced, as I understood, out of sheer love for analogue folders, one which almost certainly provokes financial lost to Fuji and still remains in production (where are these fools, like myself, wanting to buy such a thing for 2000€ ?): I will make some more research to find him again and let you know later.
    I am not surprised of the outcome of your journey – Japan is, despite its show-off modernity, an antic, feudal country, closed to the outer world and very difficult to deal with for outsiders. Just the contrary to Americans and they Polaroid…
    Witold Wolski from Switzerland

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