Update: Fujifilm confirms Japanese shipping date for 35mm and 120 formats as November 22nd 2019

Picked up just a few moments ago is the heart-stopping news that Fujifilm is officially bringing black and white films back to the market in Autumn 2019 with the all-new NEOPAN 100 ACROS II. I’m happy to be able to be the first to bring this news to you.

Let’s get started with an official 35mm box shot from Fujifilm:

New Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II


Described (translated from Japanese) as “achieving ultra-high image quality with world-class graininess* and three-dimensional tone reproduction“, the all-new film NEOPAN 100 ACROS II will initially be available in 35mm and 120 formats.

* The word “graininess” is “grainlessness” lost in translation, as commenter Ricardo points out below:

Yes, the “graininess” part was lost in translation.

In the original press release, they use the word 粒状性, that means “granularity”.
This is the scientific, correct word to talk about film grain (as in RMS granularity, often seen in film datasheets).

Therefore, a “world-class granularity” (here also, the Japanese version says “world highest standard of granularity) would mean very fine grain.

Fujifilm terminated sales of their last remaining black and white film, NEOPAN 100 ACROS in Autumn 2018, stating low sales volumes and difficulties in obtaining “raw materials essential for production”.

For those of you unfamiliar with NEOPAN 100 ACROS as it was, here are a few examples:

The film photography community met the news with both outcry at “yet another discontinued Fujifilm stock” and voiced their desire for ACROS sales to be reinstated. It seems that Fujifilm listened and according to Fujifilm, ACROS II has been created “by researching substitutes for raw materials that became difficult to obtain and radically reexamining the manufacturing process to match the new raw materials“.

What this means is open to very wide interpretation. It could mean the creation of a newly formulated emulsion which takes into account modern standards and availability of materials for both the substrate and emulsion layers. It could also mean that Fuji have reinvigorated or reassessed their production, logistics and supply chain in order to meet the reality of the film photography industry in 2019. Honestly, it’s probably a little of both plus additional factors we’re not 100% aware of or in fact, privy to.

According to the Japanese press release:

The newly developed NEOPAN 100 ACROS II is an ultra-high-quality black-and-white film with ISO 100 sensitivity, with the world’s highest level of graininess, three-dimensional tone reproduction, and excellent sharpness. It is suitable for shooting in a wide range of fields, such as product photos and architecture photos, as well as long-exposure celestial and night-shot photographs.

As someone who has recently written about the reality of photographic film production at Fujifilm – my perspective at least, is that this is amazing news and a shot in the arm for the community at large. With both Kodak and Fuji committed to producing new films, the effect on smaller players and new entrants cannot be overstated. I for one I am sure the film photography community will join me in applauding Fujifilm for this move.

Now all we have to do is wait for the stock to hit our shelves, which should hit the domestic Japanese market first before being rolled out internationally.

I can’t wait.

~ EM 

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  1. @Matt: If the problem is their capacity, simple solution: run the machines at full capacity until they fall apart. Than ship your entire production to the South Pole and keep it frozen. Distribute the anual need of the world from there for the next 100 years.

  2. BW films are plenty. Fine grained ones too.
    What made Acros unique was its reciprocity.
    I am wondering if Acros-II will have the same reciprocity or will it be just an usual emulsion?

  3. This is a good news, but now, Kodak Solaris wins widely and wisely the challenge and the increase of film lovers with a great choice of great films like Tri-X, Tmax 100 (with Acros, not sure the Fuji is better …), EKTAR of course, and now the Ektachrome, Americans have really win the challenge, … but if Fuji propose 2 very absolutely no grainy and very punchy VIVID colour film like a kind of Fuji Ektar and a New Velvia 2 100 very sutured with no problems with reds and purples, and maybe a very nice 1600 iso black and white and negative colour, they could also get all the scores to win the challenge. They have the means, the tools, the intelligence, but maybe not the spirit of challenge like Americans !!!

  4. It sure is fantastic news. I shot Acros for about ten years with great results and for many subjects I will use it again when this new version comes out. However, over the last three years I have, increasingly, migrated to Kodak film emulsions and ergo my workflow due to the apparant commitment to film production by Kodak and for little other reason. Photographically, in my view, there is little difference between Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H for colour portraiture. And the versatility (and superb results) of Kodak Tri-X 400 for many photographic requirements is now more appealing for my B&W work over the slower 100 speeds of Acros. However, I will remain loyal to FF for slide film (Provia and Velvia, both available in 120 and world class in every way) and I will use Acros 100 II for those more artistic specific needs. Basically, I don’t much like switching between brands. And FF’s apparent decline of film production made me twitchy and whilst Kodak might not be financially what it was, it is still a world class producer of film stocks, and seems to be increasing.

  5. Please tell me this is not some elaborate joke? This would be game changing for astrophotography film shooters. If it’s true; wow and about time FujiFILM.

  6. I will probably stop buying Fuji film because of what they did with the Neopan Acros last year. I bought about 50 rolls of it before it was gone and now they bring it back. I won’t need to buy any of the Acros for the rest of my life until I use all this up. They need to stop this crap.

    1. I think you vastly underestimate the complexity of keeping existing film stocks in production when a) demand falls below the capacity of your massive production lines, and b) with the continuous banning or cessation of supply of key chemicals. Ilford are lucky enough to have always had multiple smaller production lines, and still have a whole R&D team dedicated to just keeping their existing films in production.

      There was no conspiracy or malice in discontinuing Acros, it was simply no longer economical to continue production as it was.

    2. I agree that it should have been noted that the old Acros was being discontinued in favor of a revised version but it seems that maybe even Fuji didn’t originally have this in mind. Why complain though? How is this a bad thing? And 50 rolls? That’s supposed to last the rest of your life?! No wonder Fuji are struggling to keep film profitable. Come on. More shooting, less whining! 😉

  7. Great news, I still have 13 rolls (in freezer) of the old so will be very interesting to compare. Such delicious tonality!

  8. Great news! Before I start to celebrate, I would like to receive confirmation from at least 4 sources, present company included.

  9. Yes, the “graininess” part was lost in translation.

    In the original press release, they use the word 粒状性, that means “granularity”.
    This is the scientific, correct word to talk about film grain (as in RMS granularity, often seen in film datasheets).

    Therefore, a “world-class granularity” (here also, the Japanese version says “world highest standard of granularity) would mean very fine grain.

  10. Let’s be clear here! I would like to have this amazing news confirmed by at least 3 independent sources before I start celebrating.

    Great start.

  11. This is very unexpected and wonderful news. I will celebrate by purchasing at least US$100 worth of this new film when it is made available. Who’s with me?