View Full Version : Fujifilm statement on silver halide photography

Oren Grad
19-Jan-2006, 13:04
home.fujifilm.com/news/n060119_2.html (http://home.fujifilm.com/news/n060119_2.html)

January 19, 2006

Since our foundation in 1934, we have been developing our business in photosensitive materials on a global scale, thanks to the support and patronage of general consumers, retailers, photograph wholesalers, and various others. The unexpectedly rapid shift toward digitalization has greatly reduced demand for films and photographic products. The entire photography industry, including our company, has been put in a difficult market situation. In order to respond these difficult market changes, we are currently proceeding with comprehensive structural reforms.

Despite the current challenges, we believe that photography is indispensable to humankind because of its ability to express such precious things as joy, sadness, love and the full spectrum of emotions. Our mission is to preserve and nurture the culture of photography to meet the needs of our longtime customers. Silver halide photography, which is fundamental to photography, has advantages over digital in such areas as power of expression, long term storage capability, reasonable prices, easy handling and a highly established and convenient photo development and print infrastructure.

We intend to continue our silver halide photography business and to further cultivate the culture of photography, and in so doing, continue to support our customers and retailers and all those who enjoy photography.

Media Contact:

Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.</br>
Corporate Communications Division, Public Relations Division</br>
Tel: 81-3-3406-2490

Fujifilm website:

Japanese :http://fujifilm.jp/</br>
English :http://home.fujifilm.com/</br>

tim atherton
19-Jan-2006, 13:19
cool - lets hope they live up to their word (I only have 600 sheets of Astia 8x10 left in the freezer...)

I guess no one at Fuji even remembers they actually make LF lenses?

Ken Lee
19-Jan-2006, 14:08
Thanks Oren - A breath of fresh air and sanity.

19-Jan-2006, 14:34
Oren, great find!

I find it ironic, that last week Kodak announces "film is dead" then today, Knoica aunnounces the end of film, then also today, Fuji makes this statement. Although this is totally contrary to inside Fuji information I have heard, I will pray it's true. I don't get the record emotion part, (as if digital can not?) but, I will sure buy into these parts..... long term storage capability, reasonable prices, easy handling.

I still beleive, the best hope we have to keep LF film alive, is one of the big two quit now, let the remaining survivor pick up their film sales, and hopefully it will push a 2 - 3 window into a 6 - 7 year window. But, that's doubtful.... Anyway, thanks for the fresh air Oren.....

Aaron van de Sande
19-Jan-2006, 15:02
I think Fuji has had more to do with Kodak's demise than digital. The fuji frontier has stolen the minilab market from kodak... a real important thing because of the huge intial sale and the continuing revenue of consumables. Keep in mind that the fuji frontier uses traditional silver halide paper for output.

Ralph Barker
19-Jan-2006, 15:42
Kudos to the managment at Fujifilm.

Imagine - understanding who your customers are, and doing what you reasonably can to cater to their needs. What a radical concept. ;-)

19-Jan-2006, 15:43
I like it very much. The statement embraces the emotion, culture, and tradition as integral parts of photography, and identifies preservation of the integrity as a mission of the company. And there is no usual "Unfortunately, however..." It's a tall order, but I found the statement grave yet refreshing.

Arigato, Oren-san. I’m not "worried" about vital signs of films (Que será será) and it remains to be seen whether (and how long) Fuji continues to be true to its words, but I'll drink to it tonight.

David Luttmann
19-Jan-2006, 15:53
Unfortunately, I think we've all seen companies make statements, only to go the opposite direction in a matter of months or a year. I hope this is true as for me, Fuji IS color film!

19-Jan-2006, 16:10
Good point Dave, anytime a message comes from "public relations division", you know it was spurred by a recent phone call from some other dept., like marketing....but, it's better then a kick in the teeth!

19-Jan-2006, 17:06
Its good to hear that fuji think this way. I hope they remain true to their word. However, I think that market forces are the controlling factor. How many more pros will convert now that camera backs such as the new hasselblad back are available (www.hasselblad.se). Another generation of digital backs on from here and we'll see how much committment fuji really have. How long is a generation in digital terms? 3 to 5 years I reckon then we'll see who is in for the long term.

19-Jan-2006, 17:25
Someone should make an anti-digital magazine, dealing with all the problems that you have when your workflow is digital - you could print months and months worths of issues taken right from the internet fora, where people explain the various unsolvable issues they have to grapple with. It would be most depressing from some and vary hilarious for others to read. (spoken in irony, do not start flame war over my silly remarks)

When in doubt or gloom, remember the record business - after the CD there are still companies dedicated to building hi-tech turn tables and pressing new records that actually do sell. The market has adapted, not died out. All we have to do, is make film look extremely cool and 'with it' - now that can't be so hard, can it? Get out there and WORK on it.

19-Jan-2006, 17:35
Rob, clearly markets dictate product demand, not manufacturers. Your point is well taken, digital will grow, film sales will continue to erode. But there will always be a core of film users and although this may be reduced to only $25 million per year in film sales, the big TWO would find this volume unappealing and drop film long before such time. Again, when a company does $13 billion in sales, it's nothing but a bleeding wart.

The sad part of this scenario is......., there is many small companies that would love a $25 million dollar a year business, but possibly the cost of machinery may be so high, it simply would not make economic sense. In the event it was possible, the low volume, and very high machinery cost and operational cost could drive 4x5 film pricing to $15 per sheet for film / processing, which would drive even more users to digital, its a vicious cycle. I am basing this on other posters comments on the capital cost required to make color film, I wish I understood the costs a bit better, but it does not look favorable. Argggggg..... although all these threads were depressing to a film lover, it sure was a great educational experience and will help guide my future decisions.

19-Jan-2006, 18:07
Well I think you guys are all looking at this thing the wrong way. Any market needs to recruit new buyers to replace those falling out of the market. Simple. So where are these new buyers coming from. Well the schools and colleges are converting to digital(yes I know not all of them, but a lot are). They are all running courses in photoshop as though that had something to do with photography. They already have the PCs they just need a bit of software and all the kids have a digital camera in their mobile. Once the darkroom has disappeared from the school or college then where does the culture of film and chemical development come from. Most people entering photography as a profession will be trained in digital. How are you going to convince these newcomers that they really should be using film and not digital?

My guess is that most people on this forum have come from a film based background. They probably were keen amateurs who learnt to do a bit of film development and printing either at school or maybe evening classes. They may have given it up and come back to it later in life. What percentage started in digital and converted to film. Not very many. By the time the new digital breed get to thinking it might be nice to try a bit of old fashioned film, it will be too late.
Take a kid who is 1o years old now. When he's 30 he will have maybe 10 to 15 years experience in digital photography. He will be using digital cameras(or what ever they call them in 20 years) which are maybe 5 to 10 generations on from what we have now. Just think about that. What were digital cameras like 5 generations back compared to what we have available now.

It'll take a lot more than the handful of people on this list all trying to "think positive" to keep film alive.

David Luttmann
19-Jan-2006, 18:10
"Someone should make an anti-digital magazine, dealing with all the problems that you have when your workflow is digital - you could print months and months worths of issues taken right from the internet fora, where people explain the various unsolvable issues they have to grapple with. It would be most depressing from some and vary hilarious for others to read. (spoken in irony, do not start flame war over my silly remarks)"

Medform, you'll find the issues of problems in dealing with film to be a longer list.....so maybe an anti-digital magazine wouldn't be the best idea to get you point across.

19-Jan-2006, 19:04
" ... indispensable to humankind because of its ability to express such precious things as joy, sadness, love and the full spectrum of emotions."

Very true. But out of curiousity, I'd like to know which part of the spectrum of emotions people are having trouble capturing digitally. My scanner does pretty well with sadness and joy, but I must confess that some images of pensiveness come out a bit fuzzy.

19-Jan-2006, 20:51
Fuji may be able to continue with film for quite a while. For one thing, while the Japanese are very comfortable with technology, they are also much more traditional than we are in the west. LF has a strong following in Japan and it has been said that the Japanese market is substantial enough that Nikon does not even need to sell its flagship F6 outside Japan. Film is also still very popular for weddings there, again a traditional thing. Fuji also releases many more emulsions that are only available in Japan. Think about it, an entirely new emulsion solely for the domestic market, can't be cheap. In fact Kodak recently released a new film intended for the Japanese market only.

Anyway, I think as predominantly westerners on this board, we just can't fathom that perhaps Fuji is much different technologically, logistically and fundamentally than Kodak. Their press release makes references to tradition and talks about emotion and expression; words and ideals that you would never even dream of reading on a Kodak press release. Kodak's releases always sound as if they're talking directly to Wall Street, which of course they are. So if Fuji says they are proceeding "with comprehensive structural reforms", let's assume that they will remain true to their word, another thing the Japanese are better at keeping.

Jonathan Brewer
19-Jan-2006, 20:59
'It'll take a lot more than the handful of people on this list all trying to "think positive" to keep film alive.'............................been to www.alternativephotography.com ? If you really want to do it, nothing will stop you, if you decide you want to use film, you will be able to use it. These alternative processes are ancient, still alive, and way more of a headache to do than modern rollfilm.

Check out the depth of work from folks all over the world on this website doing processes that take a tremendous amount of craftsmanship and attention to detail, so I diagree with your statement because I think that all it really takes is take is a love of film to insure that you will shoot film, or gum, or platinum, albumen, or rollfilm, that's why I'm not worried in the slightest about some of these 'skyfalling' announcements, film will SHRINK, A LOT, die?.................no.

What disturbs me, is some of the threads on some other forums, regarding folks who have a digital camera, are learning Photoshop, and believe that those two things are all that are required to do serious photography, and most of all, the mindset that you get wrapped up in one picture/one version of an image, that no matter how bad, is fixed/reworked in Photoshop ad infinitum.

Some folks on this one particular forum will submit a very bad snapshot, and ask 'what's wrong with it?'.............................and they don't seem to have any idea of framing/composition, and all the other 'pay your dues' basics that I think are essential when attempting serious photography.

And yes, before you say it, there are well grounded artists doing digital, many went from film to digital, but I'm talking about a great number of the new folks starting out, who don't know what an f-stop is, and many of the other basics. There was a comment a while back on one of these forums about some folks who switched back from digital to film, because they were tired of the clients demanding that they stop the shoot, to see each shot on the monitor, ...........................................it seems to me that many folks act as if digital along w/Photoshop is a subsitiute for leaning your craft, there are no shortcuts for studing your art.

I've read some of the discussions of some folks as to how they consider their images, I watched a few folks on one forum discuss how they do and shot and 'fix anything wrong with it later in Photoshop', as if it's not even necessary to AT LEAST TRY to get it right when you shoot it...................................when I shoot something, and it has enough flaws, I throw it in the trash. There seems to be the underlying thinking with some that there's something about digital and photoshop that will change an ill conceived and or badly flawed image into something better AFTER THE FACT.

Film isn't as forgiving as digital, in some respects, it isn't as easy, in terms of erasing a file and starting over, I believe that fact to be a hidden benefit, which forces you to learn how to do it right in the camera, and I also believe that grounding yourself in framing/composition, lighting, studying your art and the art of others, will be, as mentioned often enough by others the difference in either medium, the trouble is that many folks won't/can't/don't bother to learn the basics and think that the automatic features of their cameras and photoshop will come to the rescue.

Emre Yildirim
19-Jan-2006, 21:28
I personally switched from digital to LF film, and I don't regret it one bit. In fact, I've been so pleased that I sold all my 35mm equipment. I think LF has brought the fun back into photography for me. It makes me think about the final product, the scene, everything. It makes me pay more attention to focusing, lighting conditions, using filters, movements etc. Overall it's so much more fulfilling that just snapping away (like I do on my Canon 20D). I actually feel accomplished after I get my 4x5 slides back from the lab.

I love LF and I hope it will stay around for a long time. I for one, will never buy a digital back. As long as they are selling film, I will buy it.

Duane Polcou
19-Jan-2006, 23:37
I think film will go the way of the vacuum tube. There will always be ardent supporters of stereo equipment and amps using tubes, even though it defies common sense, produces unique results perceptible to a minority, and you will rarely, if ever, see a product with them in a Best Buy. But they're still made, and have been since the proponents of solid state circuitry declared them officially dead decades ago.

So the film people grow smaller and smaller in number. Maybe that makes it ever more significant, kind of an elevated art form for those in the know. Or I'm full of crap and all of this is a parallel virtual digital reality
sponsored by Mentos, the fresh maker.

20-Jan-2006, 01:02
"I think film will go the way of the vacuum tube."

I hope this is true (I like vacuum tubes, too) but there are some unique factors that have the kept vacuum tube trade alive. One is that there has been a huge die-hard market for them, much bigger than the tiny high end audio market: musicians. Companies like Sovtek make almost all their money off guitar players and keyboard players, who would typically rather drink bath water than play through solid state amps. Rock & Roll, my friends, even as it enters its geriatric days, is a much bigger world than art photography.

The other factor is that tubes have an almost infinite shelf life. This means that there's a big "new old stock" trade of tubes that were made decades ago. The supply won't last forever, but new batches keep turning up in the backs of old warehouses. I suspect the uncovering of 40 year old vintage t-max won't arouse the same kind of excitement!

Antonio Corcuera
20-Jan-2006, 04:02
"I suspect the uncovering of 40 year old vintage t-max won't arouse the same kind of excitement!"

Royal Pan, Verichrome Pan and Super XX already do!
Thumbs up for Fuji,

20-Jan-2006, 07:40
"Silver halide photography, which is fundamental to photography, has advantages over digital in such areas as power of expression..."

Uh huh. Sure film guarantees more expression...(whatever that may be).

I think the Fuji spokes-droid has creativity, individual vision - whatever you want to call it - confused with equipment. All I know is, you can't buy it, and it doesn't come in a green box.

20-Jan-2006, 10:04
I think rob with a small 'r' touches on an important point. I learned darkroom use in college in 1973. If I were 30 years younger, and all my college had was a Photoshop class, that is what I would take. For any number of reasons it seems likely college darkrooms are drying up, cutting into the stream of new users.

I just hope there isn't too long of a gap between the death of film and the birth of the 8x10 digiback...