So Fujifilm has decided to end production of their last pack film, FP-100C and thus Land Camera owners everywhere can begin the count down to living in a world where the film is either too expensive to purchase or eventually runs out entirely. Many are beginning to abandon and sell their cameras but it’s way too early for that as FP-3000B, a much better quality black and white film which was announced as discontinued in 2013, continues to be readily available for those willing to spend $30 for a pack of ten exposures. The cost of color FP-100C has already begun to rise from $10 for a pack to ten exposures to over $20 and it’s not currently in stock at many of the usual providers. Once I learned of the announcement, I ordered some for a little over $12 for a pack for ten exposures and bought 10 boxes. Hopefully, the prices will drop back to something a little more normal once folks realize that there is plenty remaining in distribution for the next few years but the basic fact that it’s no longer produced will mean paying increasingly higher prices.
And so it goes for those of us who are using analog cameras with real film and loving it. I’m keeping my cameras and if anything, I’ll need to resist the temptation to blow through my film in both honor of the medium and in protest/denial of the decision to stop production. I’ve taken a real interest in instant film of both the pack film and integral film variety and it’s admittedly a pay-to-play experience. Impossible Project film for Polaroid cameras is the only game in town, thanks to the visionary entrepreneurs and scientists who are remaking the film and keeping it alive, but it’s a both a blessing and a curse given it costs $25 for eight exposures. Now it seems that Fuji’s color pack film will continue along the same trend toward becoming more expensive as it becomes less available. I’ll be content to shoot as long and intermittently as I can afford to with my Polaroid cameras providing a nice tangible artistic release from the technical, image-hoarding complacency that often comes with digital photography.
With the money and marketing that Fujifilm has placed on its Instax film and cameras, is it only a matter of time before this business is also exited and instant film ceases to exist entirely? Who knows but until then, I’m grateful for companies like MiNT camera and Impossible Project who are reinventing the medium and the devices that have allowed us to continue making the pictures that we love. Kudos to Fujifilm for keeping things going for as long as they have but this truly signals the end of an era in the photographic arts.