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Japan Camera Hunter announces FuguFilm 400 slide film, an all new color reversal emulsion

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Japan Camera Hunter (JCH) has announced FuguFilm 400, an all-new 400 ISO positive film set to ship later this year. According to Bellamy Hunt, founder of JCH, FuguFilm 400 is the first entirely new reversal film emulsion to be released ‘in nearly two decades’

FuguFilm 400 has been three years in the making. Since 2019, JCH has been working with Horatio Tan at Street Silhouettes to create a new ISO 400 positive film. ‘We went through many test versions trying to get the right balance, the right saturation and the right ISO,’ says Hunt, which was no easy feat considering ‘Many of the chemicals that were used in the earlier slide films are simply banned by many regions.’ So, various changes were made to abide by various local and federal guidelines in an effort to better protect the environment.

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A photograph of a pre-production roll of FuguFilm 400.

Hunt says FuguFilm 400 ‘has been conceived and made completely from scratch, and has taken a great deal of time to reach a level we are happy with.’ As with so many projects over the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on progress, but Tan and Hunt eventually pulled through and are now at a stage where they are comfortable sharing their creation with the world.

As for why they chose a slide film, Hunt says:

‘Horatio and I decided that we wanted to make a slide film, since we believe better results are easier to get when digitising colour positive film than digitising colour negative film. You only need a digital camera to digitise film. With colour negatives, you need a scanner (made to digitise positives) and a method of inverting the colour to convert the negative to a positive. It’s one less step and also does away with the explicit need for dedicated software to perform the inversion.’

Below is a sample gallery of images captured by Michel Nguyen on pre-production rolls of FuguFilm 400:

A notable detail of the entire project is that both Tan and Hunt eschewed crowdfunding during the research and development stages, using money out of their own pockets to bring this film to life. Hunt says ‘It was an expensive direction to take’ both fiscally and mentally, with ‘many headaches, frustrations and almost laughable misfortune’ along the way. ‘But that is the nature of the beast and we are finally in a position to say we are happy with the results,’ says Hunt.

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HUnt doesn’t provide any concrete release date, saying ‘FuguFilm will be ready when it is ready,’ but does specify that it will be released ‘this year’ and says that it ‘will be sold at a price that is competitive and available in all major retailers.’ Following the final stages of beta testing and final analysis, a data sheet will be released, but it’s not available at this time. You can keep up with FuguFilm 400 announcements on dedicated FuguFilm Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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