An Open Letter to Fuji…

Dear Fuji,

By now we’ve all heard about your announcement that you were ending some more of your film products.  We, the film community, have mulled it over and had our discussions among ourselves regarding this.  Just like we’ve had similar discussions in the past when you’ve decided that you were just offering too many types of film.

Because we’ve been through this many times in the past, your recent decision doesn’t come as a shock.  I would describe the collective feeling as one of “whatever” indifference.   We’ve seen this before, you’ve taken us on this ride many times in the past, most of us at some point in time have lost a favorite film stock or two of yours (mine were NPZ800 and NPS 160….sigh…).

So when an announcement like this comes, we all just kind of shrug, roll our eyes and say “what’s being killed off now?”  The question I’d like to ask is why do you keep playing this game with us?  Everyone knows that your long term goal is to cease all your traditional film lines and continue with the X-series cameras and Instax as your only attachment to photography.  So why do we have to do this slow crawl towards what we all know is the inevitable end?

We know that the majority of your profits are in all your numerous other holdings (According to this annual report from 2016, only 14% of Fuji’s business earnings come from Imaging products, and of that 14%,  the majority of that are Instax and X-series cameras, lenses and accessories)  You could pull the plug on the rest of your film product line tomorrow and not really feel a thing on your bottom line.   So why do you do it?  Why is the Fuji way, as Marc has so succinctly put it:

  • Increase Film  prices
  • Wonder why no one is buying film
  • cut stocks
  • repeat

When you cut stocks, naturally we get upset and complain, which pretty much falls on deaf ears right?  Any pleas from the community to save _______ (reader please fill in that blank with your favorite Fuji product) is all for not.  It’s a waste of time for us to get a petition going, begging for you to save a stock,  we don’t have any real leverage against you.  Us boycotting and refusing to buy Fuji products (mostly film) is exactly what you want!

You might think differently,

but I was a big Fuji fan at one time.  This was back during a time when you had to twist my arm to shoot color film, and the only color 35mm film that I would use was Fuji Superia.  When I fully returned to shooting film in 2009, the first films that I shot to get back into the swing of things were NPH and NPS, and I even threw some Provia in the mix.  I loved those Fuji colors (and the pastelness of overexposed NPH which I still love BTW….), the way scenes looked on those films, those blues and greens….   I was only able to shoot a handful of NPZ800 before you discontinued it, but I quickly fell in love with it as well.  Now I have a couple of expired rolls remaining that I just can’t bring myself to shoot.

Then a few years ago when decided that you couldn’t be bothered with NPS160 anymore, I had to quit you Fuji.  You released a press statement saying that it was a difficult decision.   Gave us that same bull that the cancellation of this product was necessarily to keep the film photography division profitable.  That you were strongly committed to the future of film photography,  but your actions have always shown us otherwise.

Should we even talk about the instant films?  Sorry everyone, because I know those wounds are really fresh being that we just lost the last peel apart film stock you made, FP-100c not even a year ago.   There was something extra hurtful about losing pack film, probably because not only did we hear the same old song, but in this case, we had a company out there that had enough status and power in the industry that came to you to ask you to re-consider your decision.  Or if you didn’t truly want to be bothered with the film’s production, you could hand it over to them.  But you refused to entertain offers from The Impossible Project to sell your machinery to them so that they could continue making this film that was so important to many instant film photographers.  Why?  What was your reasoning behind that?   The company that brought Polaroid back from the dead, we could only imagine what they could have done with pack film…

We’d probably still have 3000b, they probably would have talked to the New 55 guys, and we could have peel apart 4×5 color and black and white again.

Now, we know how much stock you’ve put into Instax, but the least you could do (and I mean the absolute least…) is to at  least give us a serious camera to shoot the film with.  Something like maybe an updated FP-1.  Or is that asking for too much?  I’m probably asking for too much with that right?  I don’t know, I bet you could have a run away hit on your hands if you made a camera like that….

The GF670 was pretty popular (amongst those who could afford it), and it still draws quite a bit of interest on the used market.  I will say that was a bold move releasing a medium format camera, and a rangefinder on top of that, in 2008.  And you made that camera for six years, and there’s an even bigger demand for new film cameras now!

Now we have this ugliness going on between you and Polaroid Originals over the square formatted instant print, your Instax square vs PO’s vintage SX-70 & 600 formats.  I don’t know what to tell you Fuji about that.  Maybe all of this could have been avoided if conversations about packfilm hadn’t broken down?

I wonder….