Above are instant "one of a kind" prints of my father's 65th birthday/retirement party. All 40 prints have been framed and now hang as a memento to remind us of this special day.
As of March 2016 the world of instant pack film is no longer. It's a film that fits in millions of Polariod Type 100 cameras all over the world and was the last of its kind. Fuji not only announced the discontinuation of this wonderful film but also sealed the fate of the cameras that use it. They will make wonderful bookends until, or even if, somebody steps in to re-make this film. The solution is not so easy. Orchestrating the precision colour, detail and technical mastery of the Fuji product is a hard science to achieve. And I feel that Fuji nailed it.
My love of instant photography is pretty young. I only became interested in it about 5 years ago. I started with Fuji's Instax Mini and Instax Wide series of cameras and films. They're a lot of fun with basic settings and functions but I soon craved more manual control and better lenses. That's where Fuji's FP-100C Professional steps in. What make's it different from Instax is that it is a peel-apart film. There are 10 images in each pack just like Instax. However unlike Instax you manually pull a negative/print sandwich through rollers out of the camera via paper tabs. The print develops over a fixed period of time and then you 'peel' the print away from the negative. The ability to use any compatible camera from Polariod, Fuji, Hasselblad and Mamiya makes all the difference. Polaroid and Fuji even make special instant film backs so you can use this film in 4x5 large format cameras. Pair these films with the high quality lenses that these other cameras provide and you've got the best instant prints ever seen. The clarity and detail is something you have to see for yourself. It's an incredible science that we take for granted.
"But we still have Instax"
Yes, we do. And at least that is something. Unfortunately Instax has and always was geared towards the amateur market where Fuji Professional FP-100C was geared towards the professional. The results speak for themselves in the hands of talented individuals. Instax is tons of fun and you can do some pretty cool stuff with it. But peel-apart steps you up to the next level. You can even reclaim beautiful high quality negatives that deliver more creative choices via scanning or the ability to make old school image transfers.
I believe lack of proper advertising and naturally a lack of users led us down the path we are on now. Hopefully someone comes along and preserves this medium so that new photographers may get a chance to experience this unique medium.
There is an individual in Italy trying to petition Fuji to save/sell the machinery for another company/start-up to pick up.
It's a long shot but anything is possible nowadays. Look at the success of The Impossible Project rejuvenating Polaroid's integral films. Really it's a matter of finding a niche market and cutting the machines down to size to fulfill current demands. Film Ferrania, another Italian company, decided to do just that. They re-tooled and re-started production of a new E6 film that will be available in 35mm, 120, 8mm and 16mm motion picture films sometime later this year.
Learn all about them here: http://www.filmferrania.it/
If you have a pack film camera lying around and want to give this film a try you still have time while supplies last... but don't hate me for falling in love with a discontinued product.
Fuji FP-100C: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=fujifilm+fp-100c&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ps
Remaining stock of Fuji's incredible black and white instant film can still be found as well. This product was discontinued sometime in 2014 I believe.
Fuji FP-3000B: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=fujifilm+fp-3000b&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ps
I guess the reason I enjoy instant film so much, particularly peel-apart, is because it creates a slick, beautifuly finished positive image right out of the camera. Akin to my beloved E6 films without the big wait to get it processed.