Save Packfilm Travelog No. 17: The Reply from FUJI


JOIN DOC ON AN INSTANT ADVENTURE

 

Dear analog friends,

first of all I'd very much like to thank you for sharing all your #wesavepackfilm self portraits – it's so nice to see you and to get faces to the feeling of so many people standing behind this campaign!

I arrived in Hamburg yesterday for some additional analog adventures, and I wanted to take the opportunity to finally provide some valuable updates regarding our conversation with the FUJI management.

Starting with the good news: we finally managed to connect with a high rank person at the Fuji headquarters, obviously involved in the decision making of packfilm production. We received a very polite and kind reply to our letter, informing us that the FUJI management tried its very best to keep FP 100C alive as long as possible, and that they are now finally forced to end the production by "circumstances beyond their control". This of course are very bad news for our hope to keep this magic material we all love so much alive.

BUT only a few lines later the Fuji manager lets us know that "while we cannot continue to manufacture and market the FP-100C, we will continue to support the photographic industry."

To be honest, these lines really gave me new hope that still a happy ending is not completely out of reach!

Over the weekend we carefully developed a reply letter to FUJI, thanking them for their long fight of keeping FP-100C alive until today and proposing several new approaches to develop and produce a NEW generation/kind of Type 100 packfilm. As in our understanding it does not have to be the brilliantly colorful iconic FP-100C to define and write the next chapters of peel apart instant film. Luckily, we most probably have several other options to launch a splendid comeback of analog peel apart film with new materials, if FUJI supports us with their machinery and experience.

At the moment we have this letter translated into Japanese and will send it back to our high rank contact later today.

So please keep your fingers crossed, even if I really can imagine that they must be hurting by now.

We can do it.

Best regards,

Doc

 

 

www.savepackfilm.net

 


63 comments


  • Jay Sorrels

    re thing – as a professional marketer for my sins that old ‘we will continue to support the photographic industry’ feels very much like a brand line that ends a Press Release. Meaning, we will still make Velvia, Instax and digital stuff that makes pictures. Unless I am much mistaken there is nothing else intended beyond good vibes around photos generally. This is a legacy industrial product some artists used. The industrial use is gone. The economics probably make no sense to Fuji. You cannot ‘right size’ production down far enough to break even, much less a profit. The best result will be some access to machines, IP and left over packs and pods. Without that, it will be very very hard. Doc – you are a hero of heroes whatever happens!


  • Jay Sorrels

    I noticed that the change.org page was more specific on alleged proposals given to Fuji. I reasonably well connected in this world and so here is a take from me:
    Florian is a sensible, well advised man. I assumed these would have been his proposals. In short, one can assume that there is a very good chance the actual emulsion ended production some time ago. I remember in 2008, 09, 10 – regularly getting packs with 2 year + if not 3 year experation dates. The latest batches last barely a year. In reality if the wise Doc is correct and packs are 250k a year, most of that is third world ID. Maybe less than 70k for art if that. In a practical sense, FP-3000b was best given Land Cameras have rubbish slow lenses – and finding big sun or a flash is a pig. As soon as that was gone, my 360 was mostly closet bound. I doubt anything more than packing up the sheets has happened for years. Getting access to that would be great, as contract or buy the kit. But such machines may be used for other things. I must confess I fear we will soon be in cottage industry country with well intentioned but not great $20 per shot stuff, at best. All these people that say hey make a new camera! Advertise the material! Know nothing of business. Outside of third world ID, pack film is so niche it makes the not great but ok Impossible Project integral – barely able to sell 1m units, look as mainstream as Coca-Cola. Remember Polaroid sold 16m packs before the criminals ended it. It has taken years to get to 1/16 of that – losing marketing and sales channels hurts. I’m hoping, but am sad and skeptical. If Doc’s atomic genius is able to do something – it needs to be a fast speed. ISO 100 does not work – and it is unlikely to have a market beyond 50,000 units. I would not be sure even FP-3000b can do 100k. That dwarfs the romantic but not exactly mainstream New55 but again is a minority of a minority of a minority. May the Gods and Fuji’s PR department please help us.


  • Francis Van Maele

    “while we cannot continue to manufacture and market the FP-100C, we will continue to support the photographic industry.” .. I’m afraid I understand here "sorry we have to stop peel apart production but we continue activities in photography such as instax and digital.. I hope I’m wrong !!


  • Kraig

    this is news, please let there be a way to continue production, fingers crossed for a way to continue peal a part film.


  • Vernon Jenewein

    Fujifilm exec said ""while we cannot continue to manufacture and market the FP-100C, we will continue to support the photographic industry." Let us look at this outside the 9 dots. If Fuji can manufacture it for a good profit, they would be let enthusiastic to completely abandon ship. It is not a matter of manufacturing profit, but rather a lack of correct marketing here in the U.S. Open up some of those Fotorama FP-1 Professional and other cameras to the American market with aggressive advertising and they will have a hard task just to keep up with production.

    Scrounging around for the Polaroid cameras of old, and some of the others out there like the Mamiya Press is not the way to sell pack film. They sell Instax film because they have cameras that take that film. New, modern designed cameras that shoot the FP-100c film and heavily advertised would breathe a whole new life into their niche manufacturing, namely color peel apart film that also gives you a nice negative if you wish to get it through some further manipulation.

    Advertise! Advertise!! Advertise!!! that should be foremost on Fujifilm’s mind for their pack film, not shutting it down! They are sitting on the gold mine of opportunity that is just a few feet below the ground and they don’t even know it. If there were no cars, who would go out an buy gasoline? If there were no satellite TV, Cable service, Blu-Ray and DVDs who would go out and buy High Definition TVs? If there are no pack film cameras “NEW” who is going to go out and buy pack film?


  • Genny

    Kodak is staging a comeback of the Super 8 camera later this year and it will take film. If kodak is on an analog revival kick, does anyone think there is a chance they would take this on? We really need someone to mass produce because if it costs a fortune to take a picture, very few people will do it.


  • Aaron Smith

    Doc, Thank you so much for your hard work and enthusiasm! I believe we can do this, even if it requires some reinvention. I love packfilm, and eagerly await every blog post you contribute to our analog family of photographers!


  • Raymond van Mil

    So part one failed sort of…. I keep my fingers crossed.. to purchase those machines and start up a new company would be awesome, even better, because a new startup would be more motivated to keep things alive. But the machines are needed, and it seems they are very reluctant to communicate those possibilities clearly…. please keep going!! we love you for it


  • Axel

    It’s very frustrating to receive such unclear responses from them. How long will it take until we know exactly what’s going on and what precisely is the problem?


  • WILLIAM LITTMAN

    Their English response translated into Japanese business sense reads" propose- give us an offer we cant refuse and assume this responsibility entirely or we will continue to benefit from this Photo opp. as much as you do" thank you for visiting


  • Rob

    Thank you for these updates. These are very meaningful to me.


  • Chris

    Good to hear that they came back. And thanks for all your time and effort. I really really want this story to have a happy ending. But that final line from the letter, could also mean that they will continue to support photographers by making new versions of the X100 etc. Which, is a great camera. But it does nothing for us in this situation. I hope they either remake the film using new technology, or really assist someone else hoping to make a revised version of the film.

    The only problem with that is that they may see selling pack film as detrimental to the sales of the (currently) popular instax film. We need to make them understand that this would not be the case. Peel Apart film is for a very different user.

    Anyway – I hope they do help and good luck!!!


  • Jay Sorrels

    Doc – firstly, thank you again for your valiant efforts to save this vital, iconic material. We all owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude already.

    I’m sure I am not alone in being curious about a few points.

    While it is clear that your letter was dealt with by the CEO’s office, it sounds as if the response came from somewhere else. Confidentiality means I know you cannot reveal the source, but I am concerned that unless in the original Japanese ‘We continue to support the photographic industry’ carries more implied commitment than in English, it is a standard corporate message line. Without breaking confidentiality it would be great to know that the infrastructure for making Type 100 remains intact and is not being used for anything else at this time. Please excuse my presumption but it seems to me these could be the ways forward:

    -Contract manufacturing by Fuji in the existing facility for a Type 100 film under a new brand, marketed by a new company
    -Purchase (or donation) of relevant machinery and IP by Fuji to a new company
    -Transfer of unused materials (mainly film packs) to a new company, that will develop/adapt a presumably black and white emulsion to it
    -A cottage industry attempt using whatever goodwill Fuji will provide to make a legacy free packfilm from scratch
    -Purchase of all (or most) remaining stocks of FP-100c by a new company to subsidise any of the above

    Of course the most desirable and sustainable options are the first two.

    However given the punishingly low production volumes involved, the first option is unlikely. The second option would be contingent on the current machinery not being used for any other purpose, not being too sensitive to share, and being purchased for more than scrap value.

    I so hope that the ‘circumstances beyond our control’ refers to something that could be remedied by your heroic efforts. As in a revised formulation, new marketing channels, standing orders for product, or some kind of sharing/transfer of infrastructure.

    Otherwise one fears that we will be in cottage industry country – which is a romantic but worst case option by far in terms of cost, product quality and availability. It will not save many cameras from the closet. I’m sure you know all this and are very well advised, but it may well be worth pushing hardest for the top two options – with cross subsidy. Otherwise one hopes that the publicity and goodwill you have earned will give your own legacy free Type 100 venture a fair wind.


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