Inside this issue
Velvia – The End of a Legend?
Tim Parkin rues the demise of a classic
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
It's no secret that we're an equal opportunity magazine as far as film and digital are concerned, so when a few days ago Fujifilm UK issued a press release that declared Velvia 100F would be discontinued completely and Velvia 50 would also be discontinued in sheet film form we couldn't help but be <understatement>a little sad</understatement>. The press release stated that this was due to lack of sales and that production would be stopping. You can read the first place it was published in the BJP here.
Now Fujifilm have been hit and miss with their information over the last few years. They correctly told of the demise of quickload but their declaration of the demise of Fuji Astia nearly two years ago is belied by its current availability in a few retailers as 'new stock'. Even if it has stopped production - the press release was a little too early perhaps?!
We contacted Fujifilm USA and the retailers BH Photovideo, Badger Graphic and Glazers; all of these said they had heard nothing about this. The following day we looked on the Fujifilm holdings news page (the mother company for all of Fujifilm) and the news item that had been added the day before had been removed.
To add to this, BHPhotovideo now have a newsletter that says "The UK says goodbye to Fujifilm Velvia" and on another page "no news about America yet".
This all adds up to normal working practices for Fuji's PR - they aren't a company that likes to keep its customers well/accurately informed.
The bottom line is that this could be the start of the end for Fuji Velvia. The large format version of the film, used by so many iconic landscape photographers including our own Joe Cornish, still outresolves any commercial digital sensor and has a unique colour that can't be simulated in digital. Medium format is still available but the question would have to be 'for how long?'. The thing most photographers are thinking is "Why keep Velvia 100? Crazy?". It's the worst out of all of the Velvia's and I can't beleive that its large format sales outstrip Velvia 50 and Velvia 100F?
The best outcome would be if this is just a Fujifilm UK/Europe issue and that the film is still available from the US. If not, large format transparency fans will have to move on to Velvia 100 or Provia, or move to medium format - not the end of the world but never-the-less, quite sad.
Just today there has been a posting on Choose Film saying "According to our notification, it is worldwide" and "Each subsidiary has its own agenda and may want to delay notification for their own reasons."
Who knows - we'll keep you posted though. In the meantime you might like to petition Fujifilm to keep Velvia 50 running, even if they only do a short run based on pre-orders once a year - just like Kodak do through KB Canham.