The end of an era

My last Fuji Sensia films arrived in the post today – these are the last in that Fuji is stopping the manufacture of Sensia, and these films were being returned to me from their Leeds processing laboratory. It’s taken me a long time to get through these three rolls because of my arm injury.

This is terribly sad for me: before I discovered Velvia for myself (a long time after everyone else, it seems!), I used endless rolls of Sensia (see also my Equipment page). Indeed, our spare room has more indexed boxes of Sensia slides than I would care to count, documenting many years of my life and my family’s life in many different places. Sensia accompanied me through many different contexts, and was my natural choice of colour film for almost every occasion. I loved the tones, especially for skin, the almost complete absence of grain (even in the 400 version), and the almost tangible three-dimensionality of the image, especially for wide landscapes and long exposures. But all that has now ended under the digital juggernaut.

Along with my processed and mounted film, Fuji enclosed an order form with a note about Sensia:

Fuji leaflet

Fuji leaflet (click to enlarge)

I’ve marked a key section here. I know it is meant to be reassuring, but as an academic who spends a lot of time crafting language to try and make it say exactly what I want it to say, I am not wholly convinced by this. ‘As long as film is being produced…’ is the bit that causes me concern – I assume this means as long as Fuji continues to make film, since I can’t imagine they’ll take responsibility for other manufacturers that decide to continue making film (such as Ilford, for example). And they’ll only continue making film as long as they continue making it…

What concerns me here is that one day we might end up with Fuji deciding that they are going to further restrict the countries in which they sell and process film, even if it is not completely stopped. There are, of course, already many countries where it is hard to buy Fuji film: even when I first went to Egypt in 1997 it was hard to find, and I understand it is now almost impossible to do so. Am I being unduly concerned to worry that one day we might end up with just a few locations worldwide that can properly deal with good quality film like this – perhaps one place in each continental area – with the corresponding increase in cost to the user?