Fugufilm 400 with case and camera (Pic: Japan Camera Hunter)
The film has gone through three years of testing so far (Pic: Japan Camera Hunter)

Japan Camera Hunter’s Bellamy Hunt has given more details about the new FuguFilm 400 slide film teased earlier this week.

Hunt confirmed the film, a 400-ISO colour reversal 35mm film, is an entirely new emulsion and not a tweaked version of an existing film.

The film was teased via social media on Wednesday (23 March), drawing much speculation from film photographers across the globe.

In an article on Japan Camera Hunter officially launching the new film, Hunt said he and his collaborator Horatio Tan had been working on the new film for the last three years. He stressed it was not a repackaged emulsion, or even a film which had appeared before.

“We went through many test versions trying to get the right balance, the right saturation and the right ISO,” Hunt wrote. “Many of the chemicals that were used in the earlier slide films are simply banned by many regions, so changes have had to be made to adapt to a different supply chain. This, of course, presented serious challenges to the project. We had to try many different approaches and we went though many test versions of the film. You can actually see some of the earlier iterations of the film (albeit heavily edited by Horatio) on his blog.”

The new film will be the first 400-ISO slide film since Fujifilm’s Provia 400X was discontinued in 2013. Release date and pricing of the film are as-yet unconfirmed.

“FuguFilm 400 is, we believe, the first completely new reversal film emulsion in nearly two decades,” Hunt said in the article. “The film has been conceived and made completely from scratch, and has taken a great deal of time to reach a level we are happy with. And this was certainly hampered by Covid, which ended our plans for a release in late 2020, and mid 2021.”

Corner restaurant in autumn (Pic: Japan Camera Hunter)
The film’;s colour palette is not disimilar to Fujifilm’s Provia 400X, discontinued in 2013 (Pic: Japan Camera Hunter)

Hunt said the unveiling of the forthcoming film was pushed forward thanks to the launch of Kodak Gold 200 120 and CineStill’s 400D colour film earlier this week. The teaser of the film’s vibrant pink packaging was accompanied by a handful of test shots.

“The film is nearing its last test iteration and will be ready for sale (barring any more worldwide shutdowns) in the near future. This isn’t something that might be happening, it is happening, and soon,” Hunt said.

No firm date for the release of the new film has yet been divulged, but Hunt has given further details about the new film’s development in an exclusive interview with Kosmo Foto.

Why make a slide film in 2022?
Well, I had wanted to make a slide film for a long time. So when Horatio suggested we actually try to go for it I didn’t need much prompting. Both of us really missed being able to shoot a high-speed slide.

How long has Fugufilm 400 been in development?
Since early 2019, it has been quite a while.

Black model in facemask (Pic: Horatio Tan)
(Pic: Horatio Tan)

How much more of a challenge was making this compared to Street Pan 400?
Well I cannot really give you specifics, but this is a much bigger thing. It has taken years of planning, legal arrangements, getting trademarks, testing, more testing, troubleshooting, going back a few steps and so much more. All whilst trying to run JCH as well.

What films were the inspiration for FuguFilm 400?
We wanted to try and emulate Provia 400 but that’s not really how these things work, and it ended up becoming its own film. It is rather unique in its output. We really hope that people will like it.

Woman next to truck (Pic: Horatio Tan)
The film’s release has been delayed due to manufacturing issues during the pandemic (Pic: Horatio Tan)

How much of a risk is rolling out a film like this in the film market of 2022?
It is a huge risk. It would have been cheaper and easier to make a negative film, but that is not what is needed right now. We felt it was important to make a real statement that we have confidence in the strength of the market and the community.

How many stages of testing has FuguFilm 400 gone through?
Quite a few, I think I have lost count now, but there have been many. I would say at least 20 different iterations during several test stages.

There’s been a lot of speculation it has been made with Fujifilm’s help because you’re based in Japan.
It was not done with any assistance from Fujifilm. This film is made entirely in the EU.

Man with bins outside shop (Pic: Japan Camera Hunter)
This beta version of the film show’s strong reds and greens (Pic: Japan Camera Hunter)

When is the film being released?
At this stage we don’t have an exact release date as we are in the final stages of testing before confirmation that we are happy with the end result. But it will be this year.

What will the film sell for?
At this time we are not sure of pricing, we have not made the production roll yet. But it is important to us that pricing is competitive and not prohibitive.

When the finished rolls arrive at JCH HQ – what’s the first camera you’re loading it into?
Phew, tough question. I have shot test rolls in a number of different cameras. But I think once it is finished I would quite like to try it out in an X-Pan, I have always loved shooting panoramic slide.

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Stephen Dowling
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1 year ago

Exciting news!