Neopan Acros 100 had always been one of my favourite film stocks, right up until it was discontinued about two years ago. Acros 100 was contrasty, rendering rich blacks and accentuating the dramatic and the moody in photographs. It is a tabular grain film like Kodak T-Max 100. Like Kodak’s T-Max films, Acros 100 was eminently pushable, and its grain is so fine as to make images almost indistinguishable from digital without looking close. When Fujifilm announced it was going to release Acros 100 II, my expectations were high.
Acros 100 II was launched in Japan on November 22, 2019. Having pre-ordered my first rolls on Yododbashi Camera’s online site, my first rolls were delivered in the morning of that day. Acros 100 II does not disappoint. It seems to have the same qualities as the original Acros 100–at least I don’t see much difference.
I used to shoot Acros 100 at ISO 640 and develop with Kodak T-Max developer at 24 degrees celsius for fourteen minutes, agitating every thirty seconds. Without any guidance, I decided to use the same recipe with Acros 100 II. I got similar results.
I shot the frames for this piece in Asakusa around Sensoji Temple and Kaminarimon on a gloomy drizzly day. I love the way Acros captures the tones from the overcast light.
While Acros 100 II is the same as the original in all aspects, there is one exception—price. In Japan, Acros 100 sold in a three-roll pack for ¥1760. That makes for about US$5.00 per roll, which had been one of the most economical monochrome films on the market on par with the quality of the best from Kodak and Ilford, both of which cost more–at least in Japan. Acros II sells in single rolls for ¥930, which is just under US$9.00, which is about the same as the cost of Ilford stocks, but more than Kodak T-Max 100, which sells for about ¥800 in Japan.
Despite the increased cost, I am not complaining. Fujifilm kept offering Acros 100 for years even though it was likely selling at a loss, and Acros 100 was still available in shops for more than a year after Fujifilm announced it was discontinued. I don’t blame Fujifilm for cutting Acros 100. The executives at the company have the right and a responsibility to run their business profitably, and as they see fit. Fujifilm certainly did not have to offer Acros 100 II in the market for the success of the business, and I am sure they had plenty of other options for investing their capital in the future of the business.
Still, I’m thrilled that Fujifilm did decide in favor of Acros 100 II. I suspect the decision was in part an emotional one, both for the people at Fujifilm and the company’s customers in Japan and around the world who love Acros film. At the same time, the decision is also likely about brand. Users of the Fujifilm digital cameras love the Acros film simulation mode that comes with the most recent models. It would be hypocritical to keep touting the Acros film simulation if the real thing were not worth continuing.
I hope that Acros 100 II is successful for Fujifilm, and encourages the company to continue making it, or perhaps even launch other projects to reintroduce some of Fujifilm’s most distinct and iconic films.
Which one am I pushing for? Velvia 50 would be nice. Which ones would you like to see?