Panchromatic: Rethinking Fuji FP-100B

The Now Discontinued Fuji Professional FP-100B Panchromatic B&W Instant Film

The Now Discontinued Fuji Professional FP-100B Panchromatic B&W Instant Film

The 1st pack of Fuji FP-100B film I had shot several months back, in a Polaroid ColorPack 2 camera, the rigid bodied camera with the somewhat problematic development spreaders. As flashcubes had already been secured from an eBay dealer, I thought this would be smooth sailing. Instead, I wasted almost the entire pack on jamming, and the shots were hopelessly washed out and overexposed.

This film, I have been told, has been discontinued, leaving only the FP-100C 100 speed color film, and the “Super Speedy” FB-3000B B&W, a 3200 ASA high contrast fast film, which can take images in virtual darkness.

Last week, while stocking up on film, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that my dealer had received packs of FP-100B. Assuming I was picking up a box of 3000, I grabbed it. This Easter weekend, while taking a box out of the fridge, one of those “oops” moments took place, as based on that 1st box, I thought the film sucked.

Much to my amazement, in an Automatic Land Camera, the film is nothing less than spectacular. A medium speed film, it needs good light, either outdoors, or inside with flashbulbs. At room temperature, development time is about 30 seconds. It is sharp, with incredible tonality and contrast. The blacks are something right out of Life Magazine of the 50’s or 60’s. If I was to guess, this is a direct replacement of Polaroid’s 664, or Polapan Pro 100. My dealer tells me that there is still some in distribution. Picked up two more packs today, with an expiration of October, 2011. Try some- it’s out there, and it is fresh. And, does it look good.

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11 thoughts on “Panchromatic: Rethinking Fuji FP-100B

  1. I live FP-100B! I keep hearing it is discontinued but them I’m told it is just the FP-100B45 that is gone. I have 10 packs left, all expiry 2011-11.

    I love the 100B because it has a response like real film so it is much more able to do long exposures. It has great reciprocity characteristics, even better than many real films so you can take advantage of the 10s shutter time of the Automatic Land Cameras. 3000B gets really tired after just 1s of exposure you need to dial up the ‘lighten’ or it will be too dark, by 10s it is really, really tired. 3000B is nice for hand held shots where you don’t really want to be anywhere near 1s exposure (can you say blur?) anyways but on a tripod the 100B is just magical.

    100B is the sharpest of the pack films by far too so great for scanning and enlargements.

    That said, I shoot way more 100C than 100B. For most people, color is just better. I now develop and print color film/paper in my darkroom because I was showing my daughter how to make B&W prints and she said, “that’s nice, can you do color daddy?” Sigh…

    I love B&W though so I will continue to buy 100B and 3000B as long as they make the stuff. Hopefully if I continue to buy them Fuji will continue to make them.

    • Really unfortunate news. Thanks for the update.

      Taking one of the packs of FP-100B I have to Photographica, the annual PHSNE camera show, in Massachusetts this weekend. It is a nice film if you underexpose slightly, and then give it some light. The contrast reminds me a lot of what you saw in Life Magazine in the 50’s and 60’s.

      Really too bad, but 3000B is also a great film. Its speed and low light performance are outstanding.

      A

  2. i agree the blacks on the Fuji FP series film is spectacular i can’t even reproduce it when scanning the images.

    btw i am locked out of yahoo/flickr so i won’t be able to contact you about photographica via flickr. so email me – we will have to announce a meeting place/time on the flickr fpp thread. gods1216@ comcast.net

    • Harry- yes, the annual Photographica show that is put on by The Photographic Historical Society of New England. Lots of great finds. I bought my Hasselblad there last year.

  3. “This film, I have been told, has been discontinued, leaving only the FP-100C 100 speed color film, and the “Super Speedy” FB-3000B B&W, a 3200 ASA high contrast fast film, which can take images in virtual darkness”.

    I don’t know where the rumor that FP-100B (in 3.25×4.25) has been discontinued started from, but I wish it would stop!

    Many of us received an email last year (2010) from Fujifilm USA representatives who quite clearly said that it was only the FP100B in 4×5 that was/has been discontinued.

    I agree that FP-100B (in both sizes) is a wonderful film, and I wish Fuji will decide to bring it back in 4×5 one day.

    All the best!

  4. I too have been confused with the information that is floating out there regarding FP-100B. So what I did was contact FujiFilm and I just got a reply from a Fuji North America rep, Brandon, Remler.

    With his permission, I am reprinting his email. Sorry Polaroid Dude, but according to this LATEST email from Brandon, FP-100B really has been discontinued! I too had thought 100B was safe. It aint!

    I agree that it is a wonderful film to use. I don’t understand Fuji’s thinking, but it is what it is.

    I’m going to start stocking up on the 100B 3.25×4.25 size while camera stores still have them on their shelves!

    Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 12:25 AM
    Re: Fuji FP-100B instant pack film status

    Hello

    FP3000B and FP100C are here to stay as best i can tell in the coming years – FP100C is always stronger since it is the passport/ID product for the world.

    Putting a date on any film’s lifespan is not really possible.  Films are made according to demand and right now things look good – but that can change quickly we’ve seen.

    FP100B is discontinued.  We do have a lot of FP100B in medium format still available in the USA.  FP100B4x5 is long gone and only on ebay and the like for higher prices.    

    We need more people to shoot the FP100B or else it will expire in our warehouse.  We just aren’t seeing the demand for it like we hoped and you’d maybe expect.  Thanks for your support and business.

    Brandon Remler
    Fujifilm North America Corporation
    1100 King Georges Post Road
    Edison NJ 08837
    Cell 646-342-6603
    eFax 270-747-5806
    http://www.fujifilmusa.com 

  5. Sunshiney, Thanks so much for the authoritative update! I stand corrected.

    How sad, though! Another film bites the dust! 😦

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