5 Frames around Osaka Castle with a Minolta XD5 and Fujicolor 100

On March 29th of this year, Fujifilm posted a notice that they would suspend shipments of 35mm and 120 color film, both negative and slide, to its Japanese customers. As someone who had been visiting Japan for almost a week by that point, it was not surprising, as it seemed like Japanese stores had not seen a shipment of color stock in quite some time. For the most part I was greeted to “out of stock” notices in every camera store I had visited. While this was frustrating enough for me, a tourist seeking out those rarified “only in Japan” emulsions, I can imagine it being much more demoralizing for local film photographers–at least I was going to get on a plane and go back to the US, where there would still be scattered stocks of Fujicolor 200 and “Superia” 400, plus Kodak, which was also rare on Japanese shelves.

Still, the quest wasn’t completely fruitless–I did score a singular roll of Superia Premium 400, a roll that I managed to lose, unused, before I returned to Portland. I had much better luck with Fujicolor 100. Nisshin Camera in Tokyo had a decent stock, so I bought up as much as I could realistically haul with me in my carry-on.

Out of all the Fuji film stocks that I’ve tried out since getting back into film three years ago, Fujicolor 100 is the only one that has spoken to me. And I’ve tried a lot of Fuji films, negative color, slide, black and white, including a roll of Neopan 400 that a film friend gave me from their stash. (When after shooting it I commented that I thought it was just ok, they asked me if somehow the lab messed up the processing, or if I used my camera incorrectly.) There’s something about the look I’ve gotten from Fujicolor 100, something I can’t put into words. I just like it. Of course I’d fall for the stock that isn’t even distributed in America, and now, not even in Japan for the time being.

But 100 speed film demands good light. The first part of my Japan holiday was filled with grey, damp days. Things had improved by the time I got to Osaka, so on one sunny and warm late March day (Thursday the 30th), with a high somewhere in the 70’s Fahrenheit (about 22-23 C) I loaded up my Minolta XD5 with a roll of Fujicolor 100. We toured the grounds of Osaka Castle, a fortification in the heart of the city that was built in the 16th century and heavily reconstructed in the 20th. There were thousands of people enjoying the grounds on this fine day, many of them doing so underneath the sakura (cherry blossoms) that were in full bloom.

I shot most of the images below with a Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 lens, but the one at the end I used a Minolta Rokkor MD 28-85mm zoom lens. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! -Shawn

For more photos from my Minolta XD5, click here. For more of me on the internet, click here.

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9 thoughts on “5 Frames around Osaka Castle with a Minolta XD5 and Fujicolor 100”

  1. Love the photos Shawn! Japan is top of my list of places I’d love to see, although possibly in the winter to ski. I also checked out and followed your flickr, I love to see photos of biking around Portland! We recently visited there from Vancouver (Canada). Thanks for the post.

  2. Interesting post. The color looks similar to that of the Fujicolor 200 that is the standard film for me nowadays, mainly because my local camera store stocks it! It has a kind of wan, light from slightly smoky air look to it. But it does great on conversion to black and white! And sometimes the color is pretty good.

  3. Great photos, well done! I’ve been there several times and not found views to inspire me. I understand your comment about a film that speaks to you – for me it was Kodachrome, then Velvia (hate the stuff now) and currently Portra 400 and B&W.

    1. (Weird, I replied to this comment a few hours ago, but it seems to have gone into the void.)

      Thank you Geoff! I wish I was into film when Kodachrome was still around. I like Ektachrome a lot, but the high prices of slide film and processing mean I reserve it for special occassions.

      And I get what you mean about Osaka Castle: The “meh” shots I took outweighed the keepers.

  4. Wonderful pics,

    I currently live in Japan and it’s a shame what Fuji is doing. It does not look good for film shooters. Fufifilm is quietly abandoning it’s film division. Kodak has always been expensive here and is pricier than ever. I’m shooting more with Lomography film these days.


    1. Thank you, Eric!

      Yeah, I don’t know if there’s any real future to Fuji’s 35mm film. Rumors have been flying around that the current Fujicolor 200 and 400 is repackaged Kodak. They don’t look like they’re giving up on Instax, though.

      The irony of Lomography film is that it too is most likely repackaged Kodak stock.

  5. Castelli Daniel

    Our daughter is currently visiting Osaka. I forwarded your post to her a few minutes ago. She just added it to her itinerary.

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