R.I.P.: 4×5″ Black and White Quickloads and Readyloads

R.I.P.: Fuji Acros 4x5" Quickloads

R.I.P.: Fuji Acros 4x5

Yep, you’ve read that correctly: there are no longer ANY black and white films available in Quickload (Fuji) or Readyload (Kodak) format, as Fuji has recently announced its discontinuation of Fuji Acros 4×5″ Quickloads (although you won’t find this information on the Fuji website). Kodak killed their Readyloads in 2008. This means that the hiking/backpacking large format black and white photographer is now faced with having to carry multiple film holders, extra sheet film, a changing tent, and an empty box to change out film during hikes and backpacks. What were they thinking?

I’m disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world. Unfortunately for Fuji, this now means that Ilford gets ALL of my black and white business. And before the hell-bent digital camera crusaders blurt out “FILM IS DEAD!”, let me assure you that many emulsions are still available in all formats (with new emulsions still being released). The loss here is specific to those who prefer the convenience and weight-savings of carrying black and white packet film over multiple film holders on long hikes and backcountry saunters.

It would appear that nothing can really be done about this, as many a letter and email (mine included) regarding previous business decisions have fallen on deaf ears over at Fuji. Your choices are to complain (likely without results) or start shopping for a new emulsion. Best of luck either way.

You can read more about this topic over at the Large Format Photography Forum (an excellent resource for large format photographers).

UPDATE, Nov. 16, 2009: reader Doug asks if I have found any alternative to using multiple 4X5 film holders. There used to be more than one alternative, but from an availability perspective, only ONE choice now exists: the Grafmatic sheet film holder. Although they are long out of production, these are readily available on eBay for $50-70 or so. I own one, but have only ever used it for demonstration purposes during my Introduction to Large Format Photography workshops. The operation is just slightly clunky, and I’m not fond of the fine metal shavings that are produced by friction/moving parts within the holder. Fuji made the short-lived Quick Change Holder (which had plastic instead of metal septums), but it is no longer available and I have never seen one on eBay. For me, there are currently no decent alternatives, so I’ll be sticking with multiple film holders for now.

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