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Goodbye Fujifilm FP-3000B

12

We are in the post-film shakeout era, a time when the world’s film manufacturers figure out what films will continue to be made now that most people shoot digital.

I argue that this era kicked off in 2009 when Kodak canned its seminal Kodachrome color slide film. Kodak has been the leader in film discontinuation, having ceased production of venerable Plus X black-and-white negative film and its entire catalog of slide films in 2011. It appears that its bankruptcy and its outdated manufacturing facilities are major factors in its decisions to discontinue films.

The film business is said to remain profitable, even for Kodak. But film’s mass-market days are over, as only hobbyists and some professionals still shoot film. I think the realities of a greatly reduced scale will cause other films to go by the wayside in the next several years. It will be interesting to see which films survive.

The latest casualty is Fujifilm’s FP-3000B instant film for packfilm Polaroid cameras, a niche product to be sure. Production ceased at around the end of 2013.

I’ve shot a couple packs of FP-3000B over the past couple years and I like it. I’ve shot it in both of my Polaroid packfilm cameras, a Big Swinger 3000 and an Automatic 250, and I find that the film can deliver decent contrast and tonal range. It’s not in the same league as Kodak TMax or Fujifilm Neopan Acros, but for instant film, it’s fabulous.

Here’s a shot from my Big Swinger 3000, which works only with the ISO 3000 packfilms and is rendered useless by Fujifilm’s decision.

Charger Nose

The Automatic 250 offers some ability to adjust aperture, allowing for available-light photos inside. It also offers a much better lens. This is where I sleep, recorded by the 250.

Bedroom

FP-3000B stock remains available as I write this; I just ordered two packs from B&H Photo. My Automatic 250 has an electrical gremlin I need to figure out, but when I do I’ll shoot those two packs as well as two packs I ordered of color FP-100C, which remains in production.

readmore2

I have also shot some integral-film Polaroid
cameras. See them here, here, and here.

12 thoughts on “Goodbye Fujifilm FP-3000B

  1. pesoto74

    I have never used this film, however I am sorry to see it go. I just remembered that I am old enough to remember when the only Polaroid film was b&w. Doesn’t seem that long ago. With what people pay for old instant film I wonder if it would be worthwhile to get some packs now and put them in the freezer.

    1. Jim Grey Post author

      I looked it up: the first color instant film came in 1963. I hear that instant film has a much more limited shelf life in the freezer than regular film; I dunno.

      1. pesoto74

        That sounds right. I saw my first Polaroid where I can put a date to the memory in 1960. It actually is one of my oldest memories. I guess that was an indication that photography would be a lifelong interest for me.

  2. John Smith

    It’s probably worth buying up a few packs now while great retailers like B&H still have it and before it’s going for oodles on eBay. I wish now I had shot a few rolls of Kodachrome before it was discontinued. For those of us who enjoy shooting with vintage cameras or those who use more contemporary film cameras–the best advice I think is to buy film and shoot film. It’s the only way we’ll keep the remaining film manufacturers in business. At least for now.

    1. Jim Grey Post author

      John, I bought two, but it’s $18 a pack. I like it, but not *that* much!! I’m kind of on a film tour-de-force right now, trying various stocks. I shot my first roll of Ilford Delta 400 in the F2 last month, for example.

  3. Steve Miller

    Back in the days I first art directed photo shoots, we used Polaroid for a quick check of our set-ups, since the 4×5 sheet film would take a couple days to process. Wasn’t too much later that the digital backs for view cameras were introduced, but it took membership in some secret priesthood of the Great Digital to get instant results.

    I do miss film, and I do miss the control I had with my Minolta SRT-101. Too old to learn how to make a digital camera do the same tricks… or too cheap to buy a digital that offers the same level of control, mebbe.

    1. Jim Grey Post author

      Sure, Polaroid would have been a great way of knowing you got the setup right.

      If you find a digital camera that allows the kind of control I enjoy every day with match-needle film SLRs from the 1970s, do tell me right away.

  4. Pingback: Goodbye Arista Premium 400 | Down the Road

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