FUJI announced that it was time for their NEOPAN 400 professional to drop into analogue history. In July 2013, Gabriel Da Costa, product manager for professional film, stated that “Due to the prominence that digital has in today’s society combined with a decline in global demand of traditional films, Fujifilm has had to make a difficult decision to withdraw a number of films from its range.”
I uncovered a few unprocessed roles of Fuji Neopan 400 from the early ’90s, oddly around the time it was gaining momentum in the market. With a process before date of 1992, I was very skeptical that anything would appear. It was described as an interesting, new exciting film with finer grain. It was often noted as being too muddy in it’s gray tones, especially the lighter tonal scale. To my surprise half a dozen frames of the film were rewound into its’ cassette. Producing a curious multiple exposure, with a mystery dude smack in the middle of the blueberry patch, the burning sun and my vintage ’80s sedan.
In my naive understanding of what the NEOPAN 400 was not suited for, I made my way to strawberry patch in the thick January morning fog. Other ‘not suitable for situations’ include snowy landscapes, clouds without much separation between blue sky due to the lack of brilliancy in the highlights, anything that that can appear grey on grey. NEOPAN 400 was develop to rivaled Kodaks’ Tri-X 400 but with finer grain.
Often called a good push processing film, a technique of increasing the development time of a film to increase its’ effective speed. Push processing compensates for underexposed film by over developing it at the processing stage.
Commonly used as a deliberate attempt to salvage usable images when working in poor lighting conditions, but the method can be used when a film has been underexposed accidentally. Push when there are low light conditions to help enhance contrast, colour saturation and increase granularity. Perhaps a few rolls of fresh stock of this analog medium is in order to fully realize the push potential.