Henning, thanks a lot for your effort and summing up these extensive talks you had during photokina. It indeed sheds the most positive light on the current state and future of film I have read about for months. I am (positively) surprised about the clarity of statements that where given to you, and the interview with Fuji and Kodak was really relieving.
When I look at my recently build-up stock of E100G it is at least nice to hear that I wasn't alone when I though that Kodaks discontinuation of slide film was a bad move. Now, knowing the background, it is easy to understand though.
Same is valid for Fuji regretting the discontinuation of Astia. I tried Astia only when it was to late (spring 2012) just to see that it was the perfect universal film, as others have already described. I wish I would have been able to build up a bigger stock. I am still curious about how much influence a german devision can have on a japanese company, but I still hope for the best and a return of Astia.
Astia, E100G, Velvia 50 and Provia 400X. That's all I ever need.
For those who like Astia, the very similar (identical?) Sensia is still available as re-branded Agfa Precisa, at least in 35mm. I plan to stock up on some. Presumably this is from remaining stock, but never the less, it's available.
first of all thank you very much for your positive feedback!
Looks like even more of you speak German and have read my original report than I've expected.
As someone already has translated a small part about the Fuji talks and the Astia 100F topic please let me go in further detail and explain it:
At the Fujifilm Photokina booth the responsible Product- Key Account Manager, Photo Imaging products, Mr Boll, told me:
- Fujifilm will continue production of colour reversal film.
- The sales of Fujichrome slide films in Germany during the last 12 months have been stabilised, even with a small increase of 2-3%. And that despite the huge hoarding of Kodak slide film which happened in the last months in the German market. That is an encouraging signal.
The German reversal film market is one of the most important worldwide (reversal film and projection has always been very popular here). Due to Mr Boll the German slide film market is as big as the whole remaining European market. The ratio is about 1:1, slide film sales in the rest of Europe (all countries) are on the same level as Germany only sales figures.
[Additional info from me: There are still five German manufacturers of slide projectors. Two of them still do advertise their projectors in a German photo magazine: "With slide projection you get much better sharpness and brillance compared to digital beamers". An advertizing which simply says the truth.
Furthermore some German manufacturers of slide mounts (with even new innovations like the outstanding new Diaspeed HT-XYZ mounts) and other accessories. And more than 40 E6 labs nationwide, a number being stable for the last years.]
Back to Fuji and Astia 100F:
Mr Boll explained that Astia 100F has been one of the best (if not the best) colour film they've ever made. A film with excellent natural and accurate colors. Lots of professionals used this film in situations when the most accurate colour reproduction has been needed, e.g. at shooting paintings and art work. If you photograph the Kodak colour test chart and comapare it with an Astia 100F shot of this chart, the differences are minimal.
And it's the slide film with the best dynamic range.
It's an excellent all around film, very flexible and useful in very different shooting situations. But the huge mistake Fujifilm had done was to market Astia 100F only as a portrait and fashion film. Well, Astia is excellent for that, but can much much more.
As a long Astia 100F user myself, who has used this film in lots of different situations, I can completely agree with him. This film is outstanding and a real jewel of modern colour film production.
And yes, it was absolutely counterproductive to market this excellent all around film only as portrait and fashion film. That marketing strategy has had a very negative impact on sales volume. We as Astia 100F users both agree on all of that concerning Astia 100F (outstanding quality and marketing errors).
But, according to him it is not completely excluded that Astia 100F might come back one time. It's all about demand. At least there is no general "if the production has stopped, the product will never, ever come back" policy at Fujifilm. We've seen evidence in the past with the Velvia 50 re-introduction in 2007, and currently with Neopan 400 and the new Instax camera. New, fresh, increasing demand can change the situation.
The following must happen to get Fuji thinking about new Astia 100F production:
- At first stabilisation of reversal film sales worldwide (not only in Germany). So a development we are currently seeing in some other market segments (e.g. professional BW and CN films).
- After that a certain increase in sales so that the market can absorb the production volume of another reversal film.
- A sound (increasing) demand for Provia 100F (and 400X), those films who are most similar to Astia 100F. Only an increasing demand for the Velvias would probably not encourage Fujifilm to think about a new Astia 100F production.
So improving the chance of getting Astia 100F back means shooting as much as possible Provia 100F and 400X, and simultaneously asking Fuji for an Astia revival.
Again: The message I got from all manufacturers at Photokina was: It's all about demand. We produce everything you want if there is sufficient demand.
In the end it's in our hands: Shooting only a little film and doing the rest in digital: Then we are part of problem.
Shooting film like hell and additionally encourage other photographers to try film, than we are part of the solution!
Reversal film , both BW and Colour, is an absolutely unique photographic medium with unique strengths and characteristics.
A very important part of the photographic culture, which absolutely deserves to stay alive. It would be a very big loss for photography if reversal film would disappear.
Here it is described in an excellent way:
Let us keep it alive by using it.The more, the better.
P.S. @ Roger Cole:
Dear Roger, the current AgfaPhoto CT Precisa slide film is definitely not the Sensia. It is a Provia 100F batch (or batches). I've done a lot of detailed comparison tests of Precisa vs. Sensia vs. Provia 100F. The differences between Sensia 100 and Precisa are very obvious. But the difference between Provia 100F and AgfaPhoto CT Precisa is quite small in direct comparison.
AgfaPhoto CT Precisa is an amateur film and has not the very strong QC control and batch to batch consistency Provia 100F as professional film has. That is the main differences. My test results have been confirmed by Fuji manager Mr Boll in our Photokina talk.
CT Precisa is an excellent film, and a real bargain here in Germany, only about 3,50€ a roll, and available even in a drugstore chain.
And concerning my English translation of my Photokina report. I've been very busy the last days, some unexpected things happened. Therefore I have not finished it yet. The weekend I will have a big family meeting and no time to continue the translation.
So I will be back here with the translation at the beginning of next week. Thanks a lot for your patience!
No need to rush. I for one cannot thank you enough for your efforts.
Fantastic effort, thanks so much for keeping us updated.
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Thanks for the information on the Precisa. It came a little too late to prevent my ordering five rolls off eBay last night. Still, the price was really good including free shipping, so it worked out as the same or less than I would have paid for Provia, and Provia is excellent film. I'd just prefer Astia for general shooting if I could get it.
I'd all but quit shooting slides myself preferring prints for most output and the greater exposure lattitude of print film, bu when Kodak announced the cancellation of their E6 films and with things not looking good for it at Fuji I decided to make this the "year of shooting slides" and laid in a stock of Kodak and have bought some Provia 400x as needed as well. I now have more slide film in my fridge than color negative.
Originally Posted by brianmquinn
It's as if the threat of discontinuation is Kodak's only form of marketing. This is the only time the public is made aware film still exists.
Originally Posted by Henning Serger
More professionals and artists still using film need to sing its praises publicly. Sponsorship from Kodak would help here. Every photography degree needs to encourage film use and have mandatory darkroom classes, Kodak could sponsor this too, providing materials.
I had a friend I was visiting this past weekend ask how much film I used. I made some sort of vague answer because it varies so much and she said something about "then what?" I was really confused but just said "then I buy more." "But they don't make it anymore." Head-desk.
Originally Posted by batwister
Ratty, it's pretty simple:
1. Kodak has Tri-X, which I know better and like better overall than any other film (though I'm sure I could get along with HP5+ just fine, I like what Tri-X in Diafine does when I need speed but not quite TM...er, Delta 3200 speed.
2. Kodak has TMX and TMY-2. Fuji Acros competes with but is different from TMX. More important is TMY-2. Fuji has nothing (right now) in that speed range in black and white. Ilford is the natural competition in B&W, not Fuji. If they'd start making Delta 400 in sheets again I'd almost certainly switch for my 4x5. But they don't, so I haven't.
3. Kodak has superb color negative films unrivaled by anything available from Fuji. As far as I've found none of the Fuji 160 variants are available in the US any more, Reala is ok but no Portra, Fuji 400H looks like a film from decades ago (which may be ok when that's what you want but doesn't compare to Portra 400) and they have nothing even remotely comparable to Ektar. Further, the films they have that are available in this country, Reala and 400H, are not available in sheets.
Fuji has one (excellent) medium speed black and white film in 120 - the promised return of Neopan 400 hasn't appeared yet - and Velvia and Provia in a couple of variants each. They are excellent films, but they are not competitive with TMY, TXT, TXP, Portra or Ektar.
If you want color transparency Fuji has you covered, which is good since they're the only game in town. Likewise if you want a medium speed black and white film with unusual "orthopanchromatic" color response and the least reciprocity failure around, virtually none at usual exposures. But otherwise, they just don't have the products.