Fuji to Discontinue Bulk B&W 35mm
by Dirk RöslerRemember the saying "film is cheap"? Those days are gone—or at least going. Fuji has announced the end of production for Neopan black and white films in 100-f00t (30.5 meter) bulk roll format, scheduled for March 2007. The films will continue to be available in pre-loaded cassettes, and of course other formats like 120 and sheet. Still, the symbolism of bulk rolls disappearing seems a big deal. As a seasoned photographer with relatively low consumption I may not care paying double the price for a roll. Bulk loading has always been the realm of artists and students looking to save money and maintain shooting extensively. This option, in Japan at least, will disappear. Will future photography students bother to explore film when the cost of a roll of 35mm black and white film may approach $10?
Contrary to the raging debates involving the phrase "film is dead" in the past years in various photography web forums, film will not disappear—not completely, anyway. Film will always be there, but at a sacrifice: higher cost, less variety and choice, probably lower quality, and less reliable ongoing supply of your favourite film/developer combination. In the most extreme case, think about film being put on permanent life support, kept alive only because a generation of photographers do not want to let it fade away. Time will pass and a new generation of image makers will come, wonder why, and perhaps finally pull the plug.
Posted by: DIRK RÖSLER
Featured Comment by Mark: "I didn't even know that B&W Fuji film was available in bulk rolls. I'm a bulk user of Ilford, anyway."