Fuji Single-8 movie film outruns the grim reaper
By James Grahame
Fuji announced today that their Single-8 movie format will live to see another day. Single-8 cartridge film was introduced in 1965 and was intended to compete with Kodak's famed Super 8 format. It didn't enjoy much success outside Japan, even though it was technically the better format. Unlike Super 8, it could be shot backwards and uses an in-camera film pressure plate that captures far more stable footage than Kodak's plastic in-cartridge design.
Sales dwindled to an estimated 14,000 cartridges last year and production of Fujichrome R25N and RT200N color stocks was scheduled to end in March 2007, with processing to run until September 2008. The cancellation was greeted in Japan with vocal protests from professional cinematographers and amateurs alike. It didn't take long for the furor to migrate onto the pages of major newspapers.
Faced with a minor public relations crisis and a surge in sales, Fuji quietly arranged to continue production and processing of the format for an unspecified period, rumored to be at least 3 to 5 years. Prices will increase slightly - less than 300 Yen ($2.50) per cartridge - to offset equipment maintenance costs and dwindling sales.